(Torres following his unanimous decision loss to social media. / Photo via ESPN)
Update: Torres has released a statement about his release. Check it out at the bottom of this post.
Miguel Torres — former undisputed WEC bantamweight champion and die-hard fan of rape jokes — has been released by the UFC. Dana White confirmed the firing yesterday evening, telling SI.com, “his career with us now is over.”
The reason for Torres’s release was a tweet that reportedly read, “If a rape van was called a surprise van, more women wouldn’t mind going for rides in them. Everyone likes surprises.” Torres later removed the tweet and replaced it with an edited version. White was informed of the tweet second-hand by Michael Landsberg and made the decision to fire Torres shortly after.
So why is Torres being made an example of, when Forrest Griffin and Rashad Evans made similar off-color statements recently? Basically, it’s because he didn’t have a good enough explanation.
As Dana White tells Ariel Helwani in a video interview released last night, Griffin explained to him that his “rape is the new missionary” tweet was intended to be a commentary on the prevalence of sex crime coverage on television, while Rashad’s Jerry Sandusky reference was an attempted dig at Phil Davis’s alma mater gone too far. (Dana claims he couldn’t hear the line during the press conference because the microphones were going in and out, though he laughed anyways.)
The problem with Torres’s “rape van” tweet was that it had no other purpose, context, or explanation, other than allegedly being a quote from either It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia or Workaholics. Said Dana: “That’s not a funny joke to me. That’s just not something you tweet. If that’s your sense of humor, keep it at home around you and your buddies and keep it to yourself. It’s not something that you put out on twitter. And there’s no explanation for it. I can’t make any sense of it. And enough is enough. When you’re getting ready to twitter, or you’re getting ready to say something, think about what you’re gonna say, think about what you’re gonna tweet, and use a little common sense…that tweet makes no sense, and the fact that you say it was a joke bothers me even more.”
White goes on to explain that this is the first thing that Miguel Torres has done to offend him — he considers Torres a good guy and a great champion otherwise — and he would have been fired even if this situation didn’t occur on the heels of the Forrest Griffin and Rashad Evans controversies. (For the record, Rashad won’t receive any punishment for his own tasteless joke.)
Torres isn’t the first fighter to be fired by the UFC due to an Internet posting. I mean shit, we were just talking about War Machine. But now that every other UFC fighter is trying to be a part-time comedian in order to nab a Twitter performance bonus, a new message needed to be sent: Use your head, because the world is watching.
Torres’s official response, via MiguelTorresMMA:
“I have a lot to be thankful for in my life, I have my beautiful wife and daughter, my family, my health, my gym, and in terms of my career, I succeeded to the biggest stage in the sport of mixed martial arts, the Ultimate Fighting Championship. I am very sorry for upsetting my bosses at the UFC, and also to my fans and everyone else who was upset by the language in my tweets. I understand it was wrong, and I meant no harm or disrespect. Given the chance, I will do whatever it takes to make things right. I am going to learn from this. I think life throws you opportunities that can make you a better person, and so that’s what I’m going to do here. That is how I am going to react. I am going to use this to improve myself, and I hope that my fans will continue to support me.”