Stunned would be a good way to describe the reaction of UFC commentator Daniel Cormier to the last comment Cody Durden made during his post-fight interview following his win over Aoriqileng on the prelims at UFC Vegas 43.
After asking Durden if he thought Aoriqileng was a tougher opponent than he thought he would be, Durden replied, “I knew he was going to be tough, but I had to send him back to China where he came from.”
The comment brought a few laughs and claps from the crowd inside the UFC Apex, but the disapproving groan was more audible than the smattering of approval Durden garnered in speaking about his opponent, who is from China.
Cormier offered a nervous chuckle and ended the interview.
Cormier’s partner on the broadcast, Brendan Fitzgerald was left tongue-tied when Cormier threw things back to the broadcast table.
“All right, Cody Durden, um, statement made I guess?” Fitzgerald said. “Victory in the Octagon most importantly for this flyweight from Georgia.”
When Cormier got back to his seat, he seemed to make his disapproval of Durden’s statement clear.
“Fitzy, I was watching the highlights as he said that, so you know, you say that, I take the microphone, Fitzy,” Cormier explained. “I have nothing else to do there.”
Durden’s statement brought a rebuke from fans, media and fighters on social media.
When asked about what he said during his post-fight media appearance, Durden remained defiant and committed to his statement, sending a message to those who questioned his statement and intent.
“If they don’t like it, do something,” Durden said (via MMA Fighting). “Sign the contract. It doesn’t matter to me. I said what I said and it is what it is.”
Durden’s belligerence waned a bit after he left the dais. He offered a half-hearted “apology” and “reason” for his tirade on social media.
Listen, the guy was disrespectful, and wouldn’t shake my hand at the weigh ins. After beating him, I simply meant he could go home wherever that may have been. I apologize if I offended anyone, that certainly was not my intention!! I love you all! See you at the top. @ufc— Cody Durden (@Cody_Durden) November 20, 2021
Of course, any apology that contains the phrase, “if I offended anyone…” isn’t much of an apology. It comes off more as blaming the people who were offended for being offended.
Bloody Elbow reached out to ESPN, UFC and Aoriqileng’s management for comment. This story will be updated when/if we receive a reply.