Tony Kelley is slated to take on Adrian Yanez at UFC on ESPN 37.
Kelley is set to make his fourth walk to the octagon under the UFC this July 18 at Moody Center, Austin, TX. The Louisiana native will go into enemy territory against Yanez, who has the home ground advantage in Texas.
Tony Kelley made controversial comments while cornering Andrea Lee
Last month, Kelley made headlines for all the wrong reasons. He was working in the corner for Andrea Lee in her fight against Viviane Araujo at UFC Vegas 54. After the first round of the contest, Kelley tried to pump up Lee with some choice of words regarding her opponent’s homeland.
Following an eye poke from Araujo in the opening round, Kelley took aim at her nation.
“That’s what they’re going to do – they’re dirty f*cking Brazilians”
Lee had previously faced backlash from the community in a similar vein after her former partner got Nazi tattoos. This may have added fuel to the fire as fans online were quick to liken her taste.
Kelley provides clarification behind his words
In a recent interview with Cageside Press, Tony Kelley provided clarification for the incendiary comments. He shared that his priority at the moment was to give his fighter the best information as opposed to minding his words.
“I feel like I’ve already answered all of that, on my response on Twitter but I guess people aren’t very satisfied with that response.
“People feel like I’m blaming cancel culture or whatever. No, I’m just, ultimately, I’m talking sh*t about cancel culture because my job is to relay information in a corner and I’m really not focused on if I offend somebody or not. That’s the last thing on my mind.”
Kelley stated that he did not say it on air
Kelley stated that he did not actually say it on air and that somebody had clipped that part to gain notoriety online.
“If you go back and you actually watch the fight, everyone’s like, ‘oh, you’re a dumba**. Why would you say that on international television?’ Well, I didn’t, okay. If you watch the fight you’ll never see it air. It was not aired so somebody clipped that out and sent it off into the Twitterverse.”
He referred to an eye poke from Araujo during the bout to be the reason for his comments.
“It wasn’t something that was there, yeah, of course, I said that but obviously I misspoke and everyone who knows me knows that but at the end of the day to give a little bit of clarification on that, I was just regarding to an eye poke.”
While he acknowledged a degree of error in his ways, Kelley gave a half-hearted sort-of apology message.
“I don’t mean to categorize a whole nation of Brazil and I think most people understand that. There’s other people in the sport that want to play the victim on that”
“I have nothing against Brazilians, I have nothing against anyone. Actually, I dislike everyone equally, I’ll put it that way. So I think pretty much I’ve answered all that, much love to my Brazilian fans and friends. If you don’t like what I said, I don’t know what to tell you on that, sorry. Sorry if you got your feelings hurt.”
Tony Kelley had a bounty placed on him by a few Brazilian fighters who even offered Yanez bonuses to finish him. Kelley will take on Yanez this Friday at UFC on ESPN 37.