Following an ill-fated message on his Twitter account about rape, Torres was promptly fired from the UFC for his actions.
There wasn’t a discussion, there wasn’t a grace period, he was just gone.
For the last decade, a third of his life, all Miguel Torres has known is mixed martial arts, and with one horribly distasteful tweet, his UFC career was over.
“I took a lot of heat for what I said. I realized my words are very powerful and I’m very sorry,” Torres said on Wednesday. “What I said was very wrong and I had to learn from my mistake. I took this opportunity to grow.”
The way that Torres decided to learn from the experience was to visit five local rape crisis centers in the Chicago area. He also donated money to them, but meeting with the people in those centers, and the victims in those horrific crimes made him realize just how much something as simple as a joke to some can be hurtful to others.
Torres also felt the brunt of it when he was in his out and about in an area he’s called home his whole life. People labeled him as a rapist, and he got stares from passers by who heard about the story and saw his picture on the internet or in the local newspaper.
“It’s a heavy thing to carry,” Torres admitted. “I can’t go to the grocery store. (I’m on) the front page of the paper, nobody knew my side of the story, why I said what I said, what was going on. I stayed quiet because I knew the first move I had to make had to be the right one.”
Torres and his manager Glenn Robinson finally made their move this week.
They made the trip to Las Vegas to meet with Dana White and discuss with him what happened, and how it all went down and what Torres had done since that time. Torres and White hadn’t met face to face or talked since the incident occurred.
What resulted from the meeting was White believing that Torres felt regret for his ill timed decision to post that message about rape, and had truly learned from his mistake. At that point, Torres was offered to come back to the UFC and fight there once again.
White says that he doesn’t care much what anyone thinks about his decision to first fire and then re-hire Torres because it’s his company and he’ll run it the way he wants.
For Torres though, White’s decision to bring him back was the only thing he’s ever wanted, and he was extremely grateful for the second chance.
“All I wanted for Christmas was to be back in the UFC. I dedicated my whole life since I was 13 years old, since I watched the first UFC, to be a UFC fighter, to be a champ. I dedicated my whole life to this sport. When I got cut it showed me that what I say on Twitter, what I say on social media’s very powerful,” Torres said.
Over the past few weeks, Torres has concentrated on learning from his mistake and moving forward, but without the UFC fighting may not have been part of it for him.
“I didn’t have a back-up plan,” Torres said. “I knew I’d always have a career doing something, I’ve pretty much made my way up here fighting one fight at a time. I had no other choice. The end game is the UFC. If I can’t fight in the UFC then I’m going to train my fighters at my gym and continue with my life.”
For now the situation is past and Miguel Torres is back in the UFC.
Does this mean the problem with social networking will never happen again? No, it’s probably going to happen sooner rather than later unfortunately, but Torres seems to have learned his lesson and will surely appreciate his next fight in the UFC more than any before it.