UFC bantamweight prospect Adrian Yanez has slammed Tony Kelley’s response to the criticism surrounding his controversial remarks earlier this month.
At UFC Vegas 54, Kelley was present in the corner of his partner Andrea Lee for her women’s flyweight scrap with Viviane Araújo. Following the opening round, “KGB” appeared to suggest that she’d been the recipient of an eye poke from her Brazilian opponent.
In response, Kelley made some distasteful remarks about Araújo and her nation, saying, “That’s what they’re gonna do. They’re dirty f*ckin’ Brazilians.”
After facing criticism from all corners of the MMA community for his words, Kelley defended himself by suggesting that the attempt to hold him accountable proved that “cancel culture is real.”
Like many, Adrian Yanez doesn’t believe that the Louisianan’s response was good enough or appropriate.
Yanez, who is set to share the Octagon with Kelley at UFC Austin next month, spoke about his upcoming opponent’s actions during an interview with Sportskeeda MMA. According to the rising striker, Kelley’s use of “cancel culture” as a defense simply doesn’t hold up.
“Yeah, and you know what? Like, his response was kind of just like, ‘I don’t know.’ I honestly was just like, ‘Bro, all you had to do is just apologize.’ Like that’s all you really had to do,” said Yanez. “You didn’t have to go out there and [be] like, ‘Oh, cancel culture.’ Like, bro, honestly, us fighters, we’re not big enough to be canceled, so it’s like, it’s not really cancel culture.
“It’s just (that) you offended a whole bunch of people from Brazil, and now you’re getting the backlash from it,” added Yanez. “It’s not cancel culture, there’s a lot of people that just didn’t like what you said, responding to you.”
Yanez Sends Kelley Some Apology Advice
Having criticized Kelley’s attitude and decision to defend his remarks, Yanez went on to explain how the 35-year-old should have responded to the backlash, which saw fans, pundits, and fighters, including Brazilian ones, condemn his words.
“His response could have just been, ‘Hey man, in the heat of the moment I just wasn’t even thinking straight, I’m sorry, I’m completely sorry,'” suggested Yanez. “But except he just kind of just put the blame, so (instead) of being like, ‘Hey, you know, I apologize,’ (he) just went, ‘No, f**k you, it’s cancel culture.’
“So to me, he kind of messed up by not even like just admitting he was wrong. And what he said, he could have been like, ‘Man, I meant it towards like, not to call her a dirty Brazilian or anything like that.’ And could have just been like, ‘She’s a dirty fighter,’ or whatever, you know? But he went on (to) talk mess (about) the whole country.”
Given the controversy, it’s safe to say that Yanez will have a whole lot of support behind him come June 18, likely including an entire South American country.
Having received messages of encouragement from the likes of UFC welterweight contender Gilbert Burns, it seems that Yanez will be looking to deliver a knockout finish for more than just himself this time around.
Do you agree with Adrian Yanez’s take on Tony Kelley’s response?