Tony Kelley facing backlash after offensive comments

Tony Kelley facing backlash after offensive comments

Tony Kelley is once again in the eye of the hurricane as he faces serious backlash from competitors and public alike, following an incident while cornering Andrea Lee. The Louisiana-born fighter was overheard telling Lee “That’s what they’re gonna do. They’re dirty f******* Brazilians. They’re going to f***ing cheat like that.”

Kelley was referring to an alleged poke to the eye of Lee by her Brazilian rival Viviane Araujo, which went unpunished by the referee. The comments were very poorly received, with Brazilian stars Cris Cyborg and Gilbert Burns condemning what Kelley had said, while Kelley’s next rival, Adrian Yanez did so too. In his social media, Yanez criticized Kelley’s position. The promising youngster warned that he will punish Kelley in the fight and would dedicate the victory to Brazil, something that’s sure to earn him some support on betting sites like “Already wanted a finish, but now it’ll be more satisfying”, commented Yanez on Twitter.

UFC welterweight Belal Muhammad was another to condemn Kelley’s words, writing on his twitter “Ok that corner work was terrible Lee keeps dating racists”. Araujo didn’t make a comment on the matter, probably feeling her unanimous decision defeat of Lee was answer enough. She would later gather the support of Cyborg, who praised ‘Vivi’ Araújo for silencing Kelley. He wrote in his twitter: “Congratulations @ViviAraujoMMA obrigado por calar essa boca do treinador gringo”.

Kelley remained unapologetic about what happened, going on to vent his frustration on social media, and brushing off the racism claims. He wrote: “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, idgaf. So many people quick to say racist..that shits getting so old. My reference was to a dirty eye poke”. For his own part, the fighter received insults and threats from the public, mostly Brazilian fans who were outraged at his words. Cyborg himself was one to condemn the claims of “cancel culture”, simply pointing out an apology would’ve gone a long way “Or you could just apologize, admit what you said was wrong and move forward instead of trying to justify yourself”, he replied to Kelley’s original tweet.

It’s not the first time that Kelley is embroiled in some controversies. In 2012, he was charged with simple battery after allegedly grabbing a woman at a club and choking her, following her refusal to dance with the fighter. However, he would be acquitted a year later. Kelley shared the following message at the time: “Thanks to everyone for their continued support during these allegations last year. I’m excited and relieved to finally shed some light on the facts of this nature. I’m blessed to have great fans and friends supporting me during those times. Thanks again!”

Kelley and Yanez will have the opportunity to settle the dispute on June 18 at The Moody Center, for a fight that will be the first time the UFC’s travels to Texas since 2018. There, Texas-born Adrian Yanez will try to make good on his promise to Brazilians and beat Kelley.

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