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Tony Kelley Blames ‘Cancel Culture’ for UFC Vegas 54 Backlash

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Andrea Lee’s partner and coach Tony Kelley has received significant backlash from fans and fighters after making unsavory comments about Brazilians during his fighter’s UFC Vegas 54 bout.

Lee faced Brazil’s Viviane Araujo during the preliminary portion of Saturday’s card. Following the first round, Lee’s corner could be heard making comments about alleged cheating by Araujo. Kelley was then heard saying, “That’s what they’re gonna do. They’re dirty f*cking Brazilians, they’re gonna f*cking chat like that. But guess what? We came to f*ck somebody up and we will oblige. You understand? We have better everything than her.” 

https://twitter.com/EraserBy/status/1525654530897199104

While the comments only aired on the international fee of the broadcast, it didn’t take long for video of the comments to go viral sparking outrage in the MMA community.

Andrea Lee Has a History of Associating With Controversial Characters

This is not the first time Lee has associated herself with the racially charged viewpoints of another. After her UFC debut, Lee posted a picture on Instagram with then husband Donny Aaron. Fans were quick to point out that Aaron had a swastika tattooed on his left arm, while another picture posted prior shows that Aaron has the Nazi SS bolt symbot tattooed on his right arm. 

Both Lee and Aaron snapped back on social media to set the record straight.

“Neither one of us are racists, we have an Asian & a black guy that live with us! Oh my gosh guys it’s a tattoo he got when he was in prison, get over yourselves,” Lee said in a since deleted tweet.

Aaron also took to Twitter to issue an apology and to defend Lee.

“It’s with certainty that I can promise you that she didn’t marry a racist,” Aaron said. “When Andrea and I met, I had already began to reinvent my life and if she’d seen any racist behavior or attitude she’d have never given me the time of day. …Please don’t let your hatred toward me bleed into hatred toward Andrea.”

The two have since divorced following a report of domestic violence against Aaron in August 2018. Aaron fled to avoid prosecution, but was arrested nine months later during a traffic stop in Upshur County, Texas. 

Following Kelley’s comments on the live broadcast, multiple fighters condemned the comments as racist.

https://twitter.com/TheTruthJackson/status/1525661020873695233?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1525661020873695233%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fmmajunkie.usatoday.com%2Flists%2Fufc-on-espn-36-fighters-criticize-tony-kelley-dirty-brazilians-comment-corner-andrea-lee

Tony Kelley Responds to the Backlash

After the backlash, Kelley was quick to snap back on his critics via social media claiming his comments were not to be taken as racist and blamed “cancel culture” for the negative attention he is receiving.

“Cancel Culture is real,” Kelley wrote on Twitter. “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, idgaf (I don’t give a f*ck). So many people quick to say racist..that shits getting so old. My reference was to a dirty eye poke.”

Lee lost to Araujo via a unanimous decision on Saturday which brought a close to her two-fight win streak. She has not yet commented on Kelley’s choice of words Saturday night.

Tony Kelley is currently scheduled to face Adrian Yanez on June 18. His last Octagon appearance came at UFC 269 where he defeated Randy Costa via second round TKO.

Featured image credited to Embed from Getty Images

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Writer for @OTHeroicsMMA providing picks, scores, results and commentary on the world of MMA. Find my Facebook page at Facebook.com/SuperbeastCraig