Tony Kelley took a rare loss without fighting this past May when cornering his girlfriend, UFC Flyweight Andrea Lee.
In between the second and third rounds of Lee’s fight with Viviane Araujo, Kelley could be heard saying; “That’s what they’re going to do, they’re dirty f—king Brazilians, they’re going to f—king cheat like that,” as he highlighted alleged eye pokes from the opponent. The mid-fight pep talk or encouragement wasn’t enough though as Lee suffered a unanimous decision loss.
After the fight, Kelley took to Twitter to address the “cancel culture” reaction and elaborated on the whole ordeal this week.
“People feel like I’m blaming cancel culture or whatever,” Kelley told Cageside Press. “No, ultimately, I’m talking s—t about cancel culture because my job is to relay information in the corner, and I’m really not focused on if I offend somebody or not. That’s the last thing on my mind. If you go back and you actually watch the fight, everyone’s like, ‘Ahh, you’re a dumbass, why would you say that on international television?’ Well, I didn’t. If you watch the fight, you’ll never hear it air. It was not aired. So somebody clipped that out and sent it off into the Twitterverse just to get at me.
“Yeah, of course, I said that but obviously I misspoke and everyone who knows me knows that,” he continued. “But at the end of the day, to give a little bit of clarification on that, it was just regarding an eye poke, I don’t mean to categorize a whole nation of Brazil. I think most people understand that, but there’s other people who just want to play the victim on that. Actually, I dislike everyone equally, I’ll put it that way. So I think pretty much I’ve answered all that. Much love to my Brazilian fans and friends. If you don’t like what I said, I don’t know what to tell you on that, sorry. Sorry if you got your feelings hurt.”
Reactions from Brazilians in the mixed martial arts (MMA) community were less than kind to Kelley as many made their allegiances clearly in favor of Kelley’s upcoming opponent, Adrian Yanez. The Bantamweight hopefuls are set to collide this weekend (Sat., June 18, 2018) at UFC Austin.
A win for Kelley would extend his current win streak to three straight while the surging Yanez — who also wasn’t fond of Kelley’s comments — looks for win No. 9.
“I think they’re just trying to ride the wave, honestly,” Kelley said. “To be really honest with you, it’s just something to talk about. I think everyone who knows me, knows the diverse group of friends and the circle I’m in. They obviously know that racist is like the stupidest thing to say. There’s real racism going on in the world. Perhaps I may have misspoke in the minute that I have with my girlfriend, who I’m highly invested in, in a fight tells me in the corner, ‘Hey, I got gouged in the eye, I’m having trouble seeing.’ I’m thinking, ‘That’s dirty, that’s some dirty s—t.’ Maybe I misspoke, we’re facing Brazilians, what do you want? I don’t know. Throw him some money, I don’t care, I’m getting my hand raised either way.”
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