The below interview is one that contains an open discussion about race and could potentially offend people that are sensitive when it comes to such issues. If you fall into that category, I would recommend not reading this article any further.
Sam Caplan: In regard to the swastika that is tattooed to your chest, is that an accurate representation of your views?
Melvin Costa: Yeah.
Sam Caplan: So you're a neo-nazi supporter?
Melvin Costa: I'm a white nationalist. I wouldn't call myself a neo-nazi.
Sam Caplan: Can you go into detail about what some of your vews as a white nationalist are?
Melvin Costa: First and foremost I want the people out there not to mix up love for my own with hate for others. I don't hate any other race. I love my own. That's what I'm about pretty much; the advancement of my people, my culture, (and) my heritage.
Sam Caplan: There have been a few reports that you've had supporters from your shows come out who are also white nationalists. To your knowledge, are those reports accurate?
Melvin Costa: I couldn't say I've seen that, honestly, I really don't.
Sam Caplan: There have also been claims that some of your tattoos are jail tattoos. Is that correct?
Melvin Costa: Yep.
Sam Caplan: So you have served time?
Melvin Costa: Uh-huh.
Sam Caplan: How much time have you served?
Melvin Costa: I've pretty much been locked up since I was 15 up until 18 months ago.
Sam Caplan: What were you sentenced for?
Melvin Costa: A variety of things. Mostly fighting; bodily injuries, assaults, a couple of bulgaries. Mostly fighting though and that's why I'm in the cage now (I'm) trying to direct my energy in a positive path.
Sam Caplan: So your assertion by wearing a swastika is that you're not neccessarily against other races, you're just for the white race?
Melvin Costa: Yes, exactly. A swastika, as far as I hold it true to my own, it stands for the purity of my people's blood. It doesn't stand for hating jews or any other ethnic race. If you look into the meaning of a swastika from a nationalist's point of a view, it's for the purity of our own race. I do believe in the purity, security, and the survival of the white race. I don't believe in hate crimes or going about the cultural advancement of your people in that avenue, but I do believe in supporting your local white boy and being proud of your people and your past. It's a part of who you are. You deny that and you deny yourself.
Sam Caplan: So if a minority attended a show you were fighting on and saw the swastika on your chest and was offended by it, what would you tell them if you were going to talk to them?
Melvin Costa: It depends on what race they are. If you're a black man saying that I would say "Are you ashamed of Malcom X?" Because Malcolm X pretty much held the same views that I do, except for his own people. To the Mexicans, I would say there's a lot of Latinos out there that hold the same views that I do: the cultural advancement of their people. I'm not trying to downplay them or do anything to alter their way of living; I'm trying to advance my people's way of living. That's what I hold true.
Sam Caplan: If a jew came up to you and expressed concern about the swastika, what would you tell them?
Melvin Costa: I'd tell them to look at their own people. Be proud of who they are. Their people are doing a lot to advance their own people. What avenues do the whites have now a day to be proud of who they are? None. There ain't no people out there going "White power. White pride." But you have all sorts of other races that have their own month. Maybe I'll stop wearing a swastika on my chest when we have a white heritage month. Until then I'm proud to be white and that's pretty much all that needs to be said.
Sam Caplan: I know you are entitled to your views of believing in the advancement of the white race, but don't you feel that maybe there's another symbol you could have chosen to represent your views other than a swastika?
Melvin Costa: You've got to understand the way that I grew up. My past is through jail. What other tattoo could I have gotten to represent as strongly as it does how I feel: white power, pretty much in one symbol? When I come down that ramp and people see me when I go to fight they know I'm white power. What else could I have put that people would have said "Oh, he's white power?" It's pretty much putting out there who I am and what I'm about.
Sam Caplan: Has anyone ever approached you in the fight game about either getting the swastika covered up or removed?
Melvin Costa: No.
Sam Caplan: If someone did, what would your response be?
Melvin Costa: You know, it's America (laughs). Like I said, the reason why I don't hold myself to be a neo-nazi is because I do believe in a lot a things our forefathers believed in. I believe in freedom of speech (and) I believe in freedom of press. I believe in all of that. I don't believe in communism or none of that repressing our views and our way of living.
Sam Caplan: Can you talk more about the difference between a white nationalist and neo-nazi?
Melvin Costa: A neo-nazi holds Hitler's beliefs to be true down to a T. I don't. I believe in Hitler's point of view as far as racial consonance but I don't believe a lot of things as far as controlling an economy. He wanted to control every single aspect of people's lives. He wanted to control the press. He wanted to control what people wore. I don't believe in none of that. I think that we should be allowed to live freely.
I think that today in our day and age I think the white race isn't able to have as many opportunities as other races have. Therefore I believe that we should start sticking up for ourselves to get the things that we need in society. I'll give one example. You've heard of (Barrack) Obama running for president?
Sam Caplan: Yes.
Melvin Costa: Well, why is it that he's gone on record as saying that "I'm for consonance in all my people, putting in civic duties for my people, and advancing my people" but he's not labled a racist? Why am I when I say the same thing labeled a racist?
Sam Caplan: Do you want me to answer that?
Melvin Costa: Yeah, go ahead.
Sam Caplan: I think some people feel that African-Americans are a minority and that the playing field is not equal for minority Americans in this country and that to help level the playing field there needs to be empowerment and that the white race is the majority and that they don't need some of the same advantages that African-Americans might be getting.
Melvin Costa: But as a president should those be the first on his list?
Sam Caplan: I'm just trying to give a different perspective here; it's not neccessarily one that I do or do not believe. But there's the belief that there isn't a level playing field when it comes to race in the United States and that minorities do need certain advantages in order to even the playing field with the majority.
Melvin Costa: I see what you're saying. I read a lot of articles in the press and I'm pretty mindful of what's going on in the world. But speaking solely for myself, I've never seen that. I grew up where I was a minority. I grew up getting picked on because I was white, okay? So I can't say what they've gone through but I know what I've gone through and the way it's portrayed to me through the media is we're the majority? I've never seen that. I've been beat up because I was white (and) I've been picked on because I was white. So for me solely when I tattoo a swastika on my chest it's saying that I'm against everything I've been through in life and that I'm trying to empower my people and I want the white kids to know that they can be proud to be white.
Sam Caplan: For the record, what area did you grow up in?
Melvin Costa: San Bernardino (Calif.).
Sam Caplan: There's also been speculation about another one of your tattoos. In the picture that's circulating, you're also shown with a spider web tatoo on one of your elbows. I'm not sure if this is true, so I wanted to ask you, but that's a prison tattoo that represents someone who has killed an African-American?
Melvin Costa: I don't know nothing about that. I got my tattoo when I got out. I got this tattooed last year. If that's true then it wasn't a part of my knowledge when I got it.
Sam Caplan: Is there anything else that you wanted to say for the record?
Melvin Costa: As I said earlier, I'm not out there trying to hate other races. I'm for the advancement of my people; racial consonance amongst my people. Be proud to be white. That's all that it is.