The UFC has embraced twitter like no other sport's franchise, offering over a quarter million dollars in bonuses to boost adoption of the technology. Among the more compelling, sometimes strange tweets were those from Banatamweight Miguel Torres.
Last week Torres posted the following on his twitter account. "If a rape van was called a surprise van more women wouldn't mind going for rides in them." He later removed the tweet above, and replaced it with "If a windowless van was called a surprise van more people wouldn't mind going for rides in them. Everyone likes surprises."
"There's no explanation for that," said White in response. "There's absolutely nothing I could say to make any sense of that. And the fact that he even thinks that's funny or that's a joke, it disturbs me. It bothers me.
"Again, you're dealing with a guy (who's) a smart guy, that owns his own business, that's been one of the top fighters in the world forever. And I cut him today. He's no longer with the UFC."
Torres' firing comes after both Forrest Griffin and Rashad Evans were taken to task for innappropriate jests related to rape. Griffin referred to rape as "the new missionary" in commenting on the crime's prevalence in the media. And Evans told Pen State alum Phil Davis he was going to put his hands on him worse than Jerry Sandusky, who has been charged with rape of a child.
Torres told HeavyMMA's Matt Erickson that the tweet was a reference to a line from the FX sitcom "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia." Episode No. 2, Season 4, titled "The Gang Solves the Gas Crisis" takes place largely in a van with tinted windows that the characters repeatedly refer to as a "rape van."
Torres has worked tirelessly with underprivileged children, and is known respected in MMA as a decent and caring man. While the twitter post plainly shows an unfathomable lack of judgement for an athlete in the public eye, no one thought the tweet was an accurate reflection of Torres' character generally.
However, at the UFC 140 post fight press con, White did not budge on the firing.
"You can agree or disagree with me, and if you want to see if anybody disagrees with me, go on my Twitter," White told MMAjunkie.com. "I've been getting my head kicked in for two days on Twitter. But the bottom line is nobody has any business making jokes about rape. We're in the fight business."
"I'm a pretty fair guy. I've been a very fair guy through all kinds of crazy stuff. If you can't explain yourself, if you can't give me an explanation on why you did something? There's no explanation for that."
"You didn't see Miguel Torres come out – all the fans were behind him, and I love it. I love that all the fans were supporting him and everything else. It's cool. I like to see that, but you didn't see him come out with his explanation on why he said it. There is no explanation for it. And tweets like, 'Your mouth says no, but my roofies say yes,' I don't think that's funny, either – at all. It's not funny to me. Agree with me or disagree with me, it is what it is. I make those decisions, and that's what I chose to do."
"Let me tell you what – you want to see consistency, let's see if anybody does that again. Let's see if anybody does it again. I double dare you. I double dare you to send another tweet like that again.
"It is what it is. It's unfortunate. He's a good guy. But it made no sense. It came out of left field. 'It was from a TV show.' I don't give a s---. This isn't a TV show. This is a sport. And the thing is about sending things like that out on Twitter, it's not like you have some forum to explain yourself and to discuss what you meant. There's 100-and-something characters, you know what I mean?
"It's bad news, and it is what it is. People can agree with me or disagree with me. I don't care what anybody thinks. I don't care. It is what it is. It won't happen again."
"I think it's pretty clear," White said of how fighters should proceed going forward?. "We're dealing with smart guys. Let common sense prevail."
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