Team Jackson-Winkeljohn just took two losses for the price of one. Not only did Holly Holm lose her featherweight title fight to Cris Cyborg at UFC 219, but now their media director and staff photographer, Mark Aragon, has been banned from the UFC.
Aragon took to Instagram shortly after Holm’s loss with a snide congratulatory statement toward “dude” Cris Cyborg, repeatedly referring to the featherweight champion using masculine pronouns. The post was deleted several hours after it went up – after receiving intense public blowback. Cris Cyborg demanded an apology, JacksonWink MMA issued a non-apology, and eventually Aragon put out a statement, in which he both tried to explain away his behavior and make amends with Cyborg for his comments.
“UFC is aware and troubled with the recent statements made by a social media representative from the JacksonWink MMA Academy in Albuquerque, New Mexico as it concerns women’s featherweight champion, Cris Cyborg,” the UFC statement read.
“UFC does not condone or tolerate the remarks that were used. The organization has reached out to the JacksonWink team to inform them that the individual in question will not be granted access for future events.”
It’s an interesting, and somewhat unexpected move from the UFC, who have had their own history of mocking Cyborg for perceived masculinity. Dana White infamously called her ‘Wanderlei in a dress’ and clomped around a press conference pretending to be her in heels. And Joe Rogan ended up issuing a public apology to Cyborg, after suggesting she had male genitalia on an episode of the Joe Rogan Experience.
Of course, both those incidents occurred before Cyborg made her debut in the UFC. Since then the Brazilian has gone on to headline a pair of fight cards, the latest on pay-per-view, as well as collecting a piece of promotional gold in the process. Eventually it seems the UFC has found that it’s less profitable to be in the business of burying Cyborg than it is to promote her, and Aragon put himself in position to set an example.