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Cody Durden Has a History of Sinophobia and Prejudice

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At UFC Vegas 43 on Saturday night, Cody Durden out-wrestled his opponent Aoriqileng to earn a unanimous decision victory on the scorecards. However, it was Durden’s post-fight comment that got most of the event’s attention.

During the post-fight interview with Daniel Cormier, Durden was asked if the fight went as expected. Durden responded by saying, “I knew he was gonna be tough, but I had to send him back to China where he came from.” The comment caused an immediate groan amongst the live audience, most of them sitting in stunned silence.

Cormier left the octagon, opting not to ask Durden another question. Play-by-play commentator Brendan Fitzgerald tried his best to work through the awkward moment.

“All right, Cody Durden, um, statement made I guess?” Fitzgerald said. “Victory in the octagon most importantly for this flyweight from Georgia.” Once DC returned to the desk, he was unsure about how to react. “Fitzy, I was watching the highlights as he said that, so you know, you say that, I take the microphone, Fitzy,” said Cormier. “I have nothing else to do there.” 

Durden was immediately criticized on Twitter by fellow UFC fighters including Muhammad Mokaev, Casey O’Neill, Julian Marquez, and Belal Muhammad. 

In the post-fight press conference, Durden showed no signs of remorse and even doubled down on his comments in the octagon. “If they don’t like it, do something,” Durden said. “Sign the contract, it doesn’t matter to me. I said what I said and it is what it is. Yeah, emotions were high. It’s the fight business. He’s punching me in the face and I was punching him in the face. It’s his family or mine, and tonight my family eats.” After making the remark both in the octagon and during the press conference, Durden went on Twitter and posted his version of an apology.

“I apologize if I offended anyone, that certainly was not my intention!!” Durden also commented that the animosity stemmed from a perceived snub by his opponent during the weigh-ins. After the weigh-in, Durden went to shake Aoriqileng’s hand, but Aoriqileng continued to pose for photographs rather than acknowledge Durden. “Yeah, I took it personal,” said Durden. “He didn’t want to shake my hand, that’s fine. I didn’t want to touch gloves and that’s why he got kicked at the beginning of the fight. Business is business and we handled business like gentlemen in the cage.”

A History of Controversy

While Durden may claim that his intention was not to offend, there are plenty of examples of sinophobia, prejudice, and racist comments made by Durden on Twitter over the years.

In one Twitter comment, Durden says, “Pregnant Chinese women stomach be looking like they’re hiding Dragon Balls baby gonna come out looking like Goku.” In another he tweets, “Once you go Asian, you never miss an equation.”

While some within the MMA community are trying to downplay the comments as harmless jokes, Durden didn’t stop with his barbs towards Asians. He has also said in one post, “You’re a f*g if you call a picture of yourself a selfie.”

Other comments made by Durden on Twitter include, “you need to get your dinner on the run gay boy” and “I’m running this sh*t, you n*ggas running errands.” It is very clear that Saturday’s interview was not an isolated incident. Durden has shown a history of making controversial comments.

Crossing The Line

Unfortunately this is not the first incident of sinophobia in the UFC. In the lead-up to their fight at UFC 261, current strawweight champion Rose Namajunas made comments that her motivation to beat the then champion Zhang Weili is “what she represents” to communism and made the statement, “Better dead than red.”

Comments like these should be condemned and in large, they have been by fighters and members of the press. The problem is that Dana White refuses to condemn these comments which is only going to allow negativity like this to escalate within the UFC.

During a weigh-in for a bout on Dana White’s Contender Series, Israel’s Oron Kahlon called Afghanistan’s Javid Basharat a “terrorist” after Basharat refused his handshake. When White was asked if the comment crossed the line, he gave an emphatic “no.”

“No, not in this business I don’t,” White said. If you look, you can add that to the pile of some pretty nasty things that have been said in this sport. And not just this sport – boxing. I’m sure Muay Thai, kickboxing, you name it. Mean things are said. In this insanely politically correct world, we’re living in this is one place that is not.”

Over the years, the UFC has seen trash-talking escalate to become more scathing and personal. From Conor McGregor‘s comments on Dustin Poirier’s wife sending him DM’s to Colby Covington‘s politically fueled right-wing extremist gimmick, a precedent is being set and Dana White has no interest pulling in the reins before it blows up in his face.

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