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‘Cancel Culture is real’ - UFC fighter responds to backlash after anti-Brazilian comment caught on tape

Tony Kelley made the comment while cornering Andrea Lee at last night’s UFC Vegas 54.

Tony Kelley when he fought Randy Costa at UFC 269.
Tony Kelley when he fought Randy Costa at UFC 269.
Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

At last night’s UFC Vegas 54 Andrea Lee lost a unanimous decision to Viviane Araujo. However, the fight itself has been overshadowed by what was said in Lee’s corner between rounds.

Cameras caught her boyfriend, and fellow UFC fighter, Tony Kelley making a disparaging remark against Araujo and all Brazilians.

“That’s what they’re gonna do, they’re dirty fucking Brazilians,” Kelley said. “They’re gonna fucking cheat like that. Guess what? We came to fuck somebody up.”

Later on Kelley took to Twitter to defend what he said, writing “Cancel Culture is real.”

“What I said was real and in the heat of battle, and in no way had any type of racist connotations meant...but if that’s the way you take it, [I don’t give a fuck]. So many people quick to say racist..that shits getting so old. My reference was to a dirty eye poke.”

Cancel Culture is a term used to describe a contemporary moral panic where people believe they will lose comfort and opportunities (or ‘be cancelled’) because of something they have done or said. Prior to the term being popularized by conservative media, this process was simply referred to as being held accountable for one’s actions.

In many instances, the repercussions of ‘Cancel Culture’ felt by those who decry its use are limited to being criticized on online platforms. They most often remain within positions of power and able to earn a living.

In this case, given the UFC’s track record, it is very unlikely that Kelley will be released from the promotion over this comment or be removed from his scheduled bout with Adrian Yanez at UFC Fight Night: Kattar vs. Emmett in June.