Black UFC Fighter Rescues Man with Confederate Flag from Harvey Floodwaters

“He wanted to take the flag with him, and he just apologized and said, ‘Man, I’ll sit in the back of your truck,’” Derrick Lewis said.

Derrick Lewis

In an act of humanity during Hurricane Harvey, Houston resident and UFC heavyweight fighter Derrick Lewis used his Chevy truck to rescue residents trapped by rising floodwaters, but said he encountered a man who insisted on bringing along his Confederate battle flag — a symbol of the country’s legacy of slavery and racism.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said on Sunday that Harvey had caused up to $180 billion in damage, exceeding the cost of Hurricanes Sandy or Katrina. The most powerful hurricane to strike Texas in more than 50 years came ashore on Aug. 25.

It is estimated the storm has displaced more than 1 million residents, damaged more than 200,000 homes and killed at least 50 people. Hurricane Harvey stretched for more than 300 miles. The storm stalled over Houston, dumping more than 50 inches of rain on the region, causing massive flooding.

Lewis, the UFC’s No. 6-ranked heavyweight known as “The Black Beast,” responded to distress messages on social media and phone calls regarding people who were trapped. During one of his rescues on Aug. 27, he said he encountered a family with a father who did not want to part with his Confederate flag.

In an interview with MMA Junkie last week, Lewis said that despite that flag, he still wanted to help the man:

“I picked up one guy and his family, his wife — he just kept apologizing to me, because all he really had was his clothes, and he wanted to take his Confederate flag. He wanted to take that with him, and he just apologized and said, ‘Man, I’ll sit in the back of your truck, man. I don’t want to have my flag inside of your truck like this.’ I said, ‘Man, I’m not worried about that.’

“He’s saying, ‘You never know if you ever need someone, so …’ — I already knew where he was going with it. I just said, ‘Don’t even worry about it. It’s OK. I don’t care about that.’ His wife kept hitting him and saying, ‘You should have just left it.’”

Lewis also expressed in the interview that the sentiment behind the man’s reluctance to part with his flag is something he’s used to, having lived in the South all his life.

“I live in Texas,” Lewis told MMA Junkie. “It ain’t nothing new. I’ve been living in the South all my life, and it ain’t nothing I hadn’t seen before or discussed about. I don’t care about that type of stuff. I just wanted to help him.”

The man’s refusal to leave his flag actually coincides with a boom in Confederate flag sales following last month’s deadly violence at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va.

In an interview with ESPN’s Sports Center last week, Lewis estimated that he has helped rescue more than 100 people.

He used social media to chronicle some of his rescues:

The UFC fighter also continues to deliver emergency items to flood victims:

In addition to the rescue efforts, Lewis tweeted that he would partner with the UFC to donate $10,000 to hurricane relief.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said the city expected most public services and businesses to be restored by Sept. 5.

“Over 95 percent of the city is now dry. And I‘m encouraging people to get up and let’s get going,” Turner told NBC News.

However, on Sunday, “Houston mandated the evacuation of thousands of people on the western side of town to accommodate the release of water from two reservoirs that otherwise might sustain damage,” according to Reuters.

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  • Gayl Killough

    The Confederate flag represents treason, because the Confederates committed treason against the United States. Treason is the big difference. People do not want to use the word treason.

    • Charity Dell

      It is truly pathetic that anyone would cling to a Confederate flag or any
      flag, with raging floodwaters threatening to drown the whole family!
      Especially considering you may have SWIM for your life, what are
      you going to do with a stupid flag?

      • I’m thinking that in this case,since the man couldn’t bring anything else with him besides his clothes.he just wanted to bring it for sentimental value (to him) even though a flag like that shouldn’t have any sentimental value for anyone, considering what it represents to black people in particular. The man clearly knew why it would be offensive to Lewis and that’s why he apologized for having it—so I’ll give him that, at least. Nice story to hear, though.

        • I agree.. God will put you in a predicament… That the very one you thought you would never need.. Would show you compassion…

  • Hats off to you Derrick Lewis, for helping others in need without conditions/restrictions, you are a class act. Time to spread more love across this country, and continue to support those in need!

    • No he not a class racial pride.u think it was reversed hed had stopped in pick him up.i dont think so.

      • Tony clearly you missed the point. Regardless of how you feel about something, or someone; that should never overshadow providing assistance in the time of need. You never know, it could have changed that man’s heart and perspective. This is not to say all is forgiven, or forgotten, not by any means. However, there’s a difference. Hope this helps, and have a great day!

        • Rick hunter those are nice words but i dont follow words i go by i know the actions of anyone associated with confederate flag.his slave ancestors are turning over in there graves this is how you honor them n what they went through .he said he dont give a dam about that thing he called it.thats some coon shit.hes a coon

  • Amazing. You are in dire need of help, yet the one thing you hold most valuable to you is the confederate flag.

  • Charity Dell

    I guess the worship of “whiteness” is powerless to deliver you from raging floodwaters.
    The false idols of racism make slaves of their worshipers, but will not deliver you from disaster!

      • Charity Dell

        LUKE–You so funny and stuff! :-) LOL
        I admire Derrick and I am still BAFFLED why anyone would cling to a flag,
        with fast-flowing rivers of snake-and-debris-filled water threatening to
        drown you….the QUINTESSENCE OF IGNORANCE! :-0

  • Courtney Simmons

    I think his willingness to help someone with such an outdated and hateful symbol is amazing and true inclusive humanitarianism. I wish he would have used it as a teaching moment v. letting the flag bearer off so easily. He should care about that – and it would be awesome if in the moment, with a captive audience, he could have shared why he might have preferred the man didn’t carry the flag in the future, and why it does matter. Symbols and words matter.

      • I will chuckle over this comment for the rest of the day. Thanks! BTW, I clicked the link to the Reuters article and the photo showed a Hispanic woman sewing the emblems on the confederate, I mean treasonous (thanks for that Gayl!) flag. Now that is a classic and historic photo! How nice that the supremacists are keeping her employed.

  • Derrick Lewis could teach the concept of being a Christian to that hypocrite, Joel Osteen. But for the record, he is a better person than me, because I would have told him to ditch the flag.

  • I have mixed feelings about this story. I am very happy that Mr. Lewis was able to turn the other cheek, but I am weary of benevolent black people who always have to be the bigger person. I too have lived in the South for most of my life, and I still cannot stand to see this rag of a flag.
    I have no idea how I would have reacted in this situation, but something tells me that he would dump the flag before getting in my truck. I am tired of these people and their security blanket; its time they grow up and stop depending on the rest of us to always take the high road.

    • Yeah, but under those circumstances–well, screw it, I probably would have told them to ditch the flag,too–plain and simple.

  • It was a wonderful thing Mr. Lewis to rescue this family. But, as far as the flag it’s embedded in him that hatred and he would rather put his family life as well as his own for a flag….so sad what if they would have told him no you can’t bring it in my truck you’ll let you and your family die for some cloth on a stick. :(

  • Carol Caruso

    Sometimes symbols of history are those that remind of us who not to be or what not to do or who sacrificed for us personally to have that choice as it is the public’s determination of what should be.

  • Phillip Seeberg

    Since the man apologized so readily I think that he knew that it was wrong. More exposure to African Americans will continue to break down the resistance like this. Ignorance can live in isolation, but will be chipped away as we interact with each other.

  • Stockholm sydrome is real with you Black people commenting on this man saving a White man from drowning who didn’t want to part ways with his racist flag.

    You better let that fool drown. May he have a memorable experience breathing in contaiminated violent water from the Gulf. Sucka!!!

    Black people are beautiful. But can be some of the most gulliable and docile people at times. More often too much.

    • I agree! Sometimes the only times many Black People are forgiving and docile is when it comes to other Races (especially Europeans) . I would’ve let that guy wait for a fellow redneck to come to his rescue. The guy probably felt that the Man rescued him because Blacks were created to serve them.

  • Thank goodness for Mr. Lewis. If only more would share his compassion, understanding and benevolence without setting conditions for them.

  • This reflects the difference between Uncle Tom BlacKKK Southerners and conscientious Black Northerners, I would have told him to ditch that damned flag if he wanted to get rescued. Idiotic, ignorant BlacKKK Southerners cast their compassionate pearls to hate-filled, ignorant, white redneck swine. They receive hate, disrespect, and evil in return for their acts of kindness that are exclusively reserved for white people. If a Black man with a Malcolm X flag needed to be rescued by this BlacKKK Southern Uncle Tom, he would have refused.

    BlacKKK Southerners like Clarence ThomAss, Condy Rice, Vernon Jordan and this idiot have gotten so accustomed to being sh*t on, spat on, and disrespected by rednecks, they are immune to “in your face” Confederate flag and KKK insults.

    Those confederate treasonous snakes [Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, and other Benedict Arnold’s] should have been lynched, but they get statues and monuments in their honor.

    This rescue more than likely won’t change that redneck because, in his 21st Century plantation mentality, Blacks are SUPPOSED to SERVE him. By taking the flag, he clearly indicated his racism. I would have matched it with a drive-by and left both of those TexAss rednecks stranded.

  • He did a great thing saving his fellow man.

    I suspect that an act like his might be just the thing to make that old man rethink his racist ways.
    That is my hope, anyway.

    I like that a UFC fighter was the “man of peace”.

    Nobody is going to change the way that old racist thinks by denigrating him or ignoring him.

  • I have a feeling that man may actually just part with that flag when he has time to sit and think and I’m sure his wife may have some influence on it too!

  • Good for you Mr.Lewis!…God still has followers that will stand up for righteousness!🙏🏽👍🏽❤️

  • I’m white eat collard greens, mustard greens, cornbread, fried chicken and watermelon. Relatives picked cotton back in the day. Some things are just Southern no racial slur meant at all

      • I am just as angry and fed up with this racism the next person… But I will commend Mr. Lewis for his passion for saving life’s that day… See most everyone on here only sees what he the man was saving…… A confederate flag.. .. He did what God told him to do… See non of us can send Mr. Lee to Heaven nor Hell… So our opinions are just that… We really don’t know if the man was prejudice and holding on to it because it was all he had left.. .. Or it could have been a family airloom…. At the end of the day a lesson was made to all who read it.. And depending on our hearts is what each of us got out of it

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