Kelley is slated to face Adrian Yanez this weekend at UFC Austin. He’s been heavily criticized after a clip of him making disparaging comments about Brazilians, and flyweight Viviane Araújo went viral.
Just days away from his fight with Yanez, Kelley has been forced to further address his recent comments and hit back at accusations of racism.
During a recent interview with Cageside Press, Kelley denied any malicious intent with his comments in Lee’s corner.
“Actually, I dislike everyone equally, I’ll put it that way,” Kelley admitted. “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.
“I think everyone who knows me, knows the diverse group of friends and the circle I’m in. They obviously know that [calling me] racist is, like, the stupidest thing to say. There’s real racism going on in the world.” (h/t Bloody Elbow)
After previously blaming cancel culture for the outrage to his comments, as dispelled by his upcoming opponent Yanez, Kelley claimed that it was a calculated attack from a social media user.
“People feel like I’m blaming cancel culture or whatever. No, ultimately, I’m talking shit about cancel culture because my job is to relay information in the corner, and I’m really not focused on if I offend somebody or not,” Kelley said.
“That’s the last thing on my mind. If you go back and you actually watch the fight, everyone’s like ‘Aww, you’re a dumbass. Why would you say that on international television?’ Well, I didn’t.
“If you watch the fight, you’ll never hear it air. It was not aired. So somebody clipped that out and sent it off into the Twitterverse just to get at me.”
Kelley has won back-to-back fights and three of his last four bouts overall. He most recently finished Randy Costa in the second round at UFC 269 last December.
Yanez has garnered a new fanbase in Brazil since Kelley’s comments, but Kelley will look to silence his haters and put his comments in the rear-view mirror.
What are your thoughts on Tony Kelley and his controversial Brazil comments?