UFC president Dana White defends his decision to fire Miguel Torres, but still hasn’t personally spoken to the former bantamweight titleholder. White has the same opinion today as he did on Thursday when he chose to cut the 30-year old athlete from the roster.
Torres was released by the Ultimate Fighting Championship on Dec. 8 after posting an ill-advised joke about a “rape van” on Twitter.
“Miguel and I haven’t talked, but I talked to his management and nothing has changed,” said White following the UFC 140 post-fight press conference on Saturday.
The Las Vegas-based fight promotion has made social media a priority of its marketing since social media sites popped up on the worldwide web. In the past, fighters have been “guest tweeters” from the UFC’s official Twitter account during live events to give social commentary on the fights and provide insights that only a fighter can, within 140 characters of course. Torres has been one of them.
He’s a popular fighter among mixed martial arts fans, and the UFC president has heard the backlash and criticisms about his decision to give Torres the axe. An overwhelming percentage of MMAWeekly.com readers polled felt Torres didn’t deserve to lose his job.
“You can agree with me or disagree with me. Go to my Twitter, 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,” said White. “We’re in the fight business. If you think you’re funny, keep your jokes to yourself and your close friends, because not everybody is going to think what you say is funny.”
White is happy Torres is receiving support from the fans, but that doesn’t change his opinion.
“It’s unfortunate,” White said. “I like Miguel, but he made some bad choices. That wasn’t the only one he’s done. He’s done some others.
“You didn’t see him come out with an explanation on why he said it. There is no explanation for it. And tweets like, ‘Your mouth says no, but my roofie says yes.’ I don’t think that’s funny either, at all,” added White.
The critics of White’s decision have called for consistency, and White says there will be because of Torres’ firing.
“Let me tell you what, you want to see consistency? Let’s see if anybody does that again. I double-dare you to send another tweet like that again,” he said. “It is what it is. It’s unfortunate. He’s a good guy, but it made no sense. It came out of left field.”
While hearing the critics and fans voice their displeasure, White isn’t losing any sleep over it.
“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. Let common sense prevail,” said White.
“I’m a pretty fair guy if you look at the history of the UFC with our guys, “ continued the fight promoter. “I mean, Tito [Ortiz] still works here. I’ve been a pretty 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.”
Torres took a step in the right direction on Friday by issuing a prepared statement apologizing for the tweet.
“I’m happy with the statement that he wrote yesterday,” said White on Saturday.
But he is the UFC president. When it comes to who stays or who goes, the buck stops with Dana White.
“Agree with me or disagree me, it is what it is. I make those decisions, and that’s what I chose to do.”