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UFC, ESPN and sponsors silent after Cody Durden’s racist remark

Cody Durden said he had to send Aoriqileng, ‘back to China...’ during UFC Vegas 43 broadcast

Cody Durden said of his UFC Vegas 43 opponent, Aoriqileng, he had to “send him back to China.”
Cody Durden said of his UFC Vegas 43 opponent, Aoriqileng, he had to “send him back to China.”
Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

It’s been nearly a week since Cody Durden left many in the MMA world slack-jawed and stupefied when he said after his win at UFC Vegas 43 that he had to send his opponent, Aoriqileng, “back to China where he came from.”

UFC commentator Daniel Cormier, who was clearly uncomfortable with the route the interview took, cut short his in-cage conversation with Durden following the fighter’s remark. Meanwhile, fans, fighters and media took the time to let Durden know he was way out of line in using that racist trope during his time on the microphone.

Durden initially had a recalcitrant attitude about what he said at the post-fight press conference, telling those who disagreed with him, “If they don’t like it, do something.”

He eventually offered what he seemed to think passed for an apology - it didn’t.

In the aftermath of Durden’s remark and the pushback it received on social media, Bloody Elbow reached out to the UFC and ESPN — UFC Vegas 43 streamed on ESPN+ — for comment. Neither entity offered a comment.

As for the in-cage sponsors during UFC Vegas 43: Howler Head, ZipRecruiter, Toyo Tires, Monster Energy, Crypto.com, Modelo, Draft Kings, Gopuff, Sweet Sweat and Manscaped, none of them offered a response when Bloody Elbow reached out to ask if they had a comment regarding Durden’s “send him back to China” remark.

In the aftermath of the event, screenshots of Durden’s old tweets have also resurfaced showing him repeatedly using racial slurs.

After another fighter called his Afghan opponent a “terrorist” last October, Dana White stated how there isn’t a line that people can’t cross in the UFC, as it is the one place in the world that isn’t “insanely politically correct.”