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UFC 271’s Derek Brunson explains reason behind his ‘I beat up domestic abusers’ t-shirt

Derek Brunson faces Jared Cannonier at UFC 271 this weekend.

Derek Brunson poses after his win over Darren Till at the UFC APEX.
Derek Brunson poses after his win over Darren Till at the UFC APEX.
Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC

Derek Brunson continued his march up the UFC middleweight rankings in September, when he subbed Darren Till in the main event of UFC Vegas 36. That win, his fifth in a row, landed Brunson at number four in the 185 lb division.

At this weekend’s UFC 271 Brunson has a chance to launch himself onto the short-list of potential title challengers. But he’ll need to get past the third ranked Jared Cannonier to do so.

Brunson was easy to spot during yesterday’s UFC 271 media day. That’s because the 38-year-old was wearing a bright blue t-shirt emblazoned with the message ‘I beat up domestic abusers’.

When he spoke to the media, he addressed his choice of wardrobe.

“Yeah, oh, this is my shirt. I stand up against domestic abuse,” said Brunson (ht sportskeeda). “So, I wanna make people feel uncomfortable when they engage in those type of activities... I’m that type of guy. I don’t like people who beat up women, or guys who beat up women. So, I stand up against it.”

Brunson also made it clear that his shirt was not a direct reference to any of his opponents, past or present, or any one fighter in the UFC. Brunson was also asked if he thinks the UFC should cut fighters who are convicted of domestic abuse.

The middleweight didn’t endorse that idea, but did say that fighters who commit domestic abuse should be named and shamed.

“I mean, I think it’s kind of weak. No, I don’t wanna say kind of; definitely weak. Like I said – When a guy that has physical strength over women and just beat up women, I think that’s kind of weak. So, yeah, I mean, if a fighter engages in those activities, for sure, they should be brought to light. But I’m taking digs at everybody; whoever. If the shoe fits, they have to wear it.”

The UFC has never followed a consistent policy when it comes to intimate partner violence. The promotion has cut some fighters because records of domestic violence (such as Will Chope). They have also cut fighters after they have been accused, but not convicted, of such crimes (such as Luis Pena, Michael Graves and Thiago Silva (who was then resigned)).

However, the promotion has also kept a number of fighters on their roster who have been accused of domestic violence, including Michael Johnson, Mike Perry, and former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones.

The UFC has also signed a number of fighters who have had past convictions of domestic violence. Former UFC title challenger Anthony Johnson and current heavyweight Greg Hardy fit into this category.

Hardy was found guilty of assaulting his girlfriend by a judge in 2014. However, that conviction was expunged from his record after Hardy successfully appealed for a jury trial, which subsequently fell apart due to his accuser refusing to participate in the process. Prosecutors stated that they believed this happened after Hardy and the accuser reached a financial settlement.


Support for survivors of domestic violence can be found from the following organizations:

USA - The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

Canada - DAWN-RAFH Canada

UK and Ireland - Women’s Aid: 0808-2000-247

Rest of the World - HotPeachPages