CNN) — Rich Franklin cornered the man who challenged him and launched a looping kick that caught him on his jaw.
The man’s face flushed red, and his knees wobbled. Franklin moved in, pounding his opponent with haymakers until he collapsed, grimacing.
Franklin, an Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweight, had just scored another victory. The chiseled fighter took the ringside microphone and faced the roaring crowd.
“I want to say thanks to God, all praise to him,” he said. Then he bowed and folded his hands in prayer as his groggy opponent was led outside the ring.
Was it Franklin’s right hand or was it the hand of God that helped him smite his opponent? Ringside viewers may disagree, but God seems to be standing in the corner of a lot of victorious athletes these days.
Baseball players point to the heavens after hitting home runs; NFL players pray in the end zone after scoring. Competitors routinely thank Jesus, along with their sponsors, in post-game interviews.
Thanking God from the winner’s circle has become so common that one British newspaper published a letter to the editor entitled: “Leave me out of your petty games –Love, God.”
The British letter raised a question: Does God care who wins on game day? And, if so, do losers somehow have less faith?
Praising God or selling one’s goodness?
Franklin, the UFC fighter, says he doesn’t know if God cared if he knocked out Travis “The Serial Killer” Lutter in Montreal, Canada. But “it doesn’t hurt to ask.”
“Win or lose, I always thank God for what he’s given me,” says Franklin, an evangelical Christian.
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