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UFC fighter Cody Durden picked the biggest win of his career to create the biggest controversy of his career.
The flyweight defeated Qileng Aori by unanimous decision at Saturday's UFC Vegas 43, notching his first career UFC win after three fights. He then took things in a bizarre direction in a post-fight interview with commentator Daniel Cormier.
"I had to send him back to China where he came from" -Cody Durden ... Daniel Cormier didn't know what to say so there was an awkward pause for like 5 seconds LMAO! pic.twitter.com/Au4p2qeCA2
— ✯✯✯✯✯ (@FTBVids_YT) November 20, 2021
Here's the whole exchange:
Durden: "I knew he was going to be tough, but I had to send him back to China where he came from."
(Five seconds of awkward silence and stunned crowd reactions)
Cormier: "My man, congratulations. Ladies and gentlemen, give it up for Cody Durden!"
That comment inspired an immediate backlash form Durden's fellow fighters, who saw the "send him back to China" line as a clearly racist statement about a Chinese fighter who hails from the autonomous region of Inner Mongolia.
Here's a quick sampling.
Warning, the following tweets contain graphic language.
— Muhammad Mokaev (@muhammadmokaev) November 20, 2021
FUCK CODY DURDEN! Racism is never cool POS #ufcvegas43
— Casey Oneill (@kingcaseymma) November 20, 2021
Such a bozo smh
— Belal Muhammad (@bullyb170) November 20, 2021
Dudes a real POS, I’ll gladly punch him in the face!! 😈 https://t.co/McLXd8puSh
— Jeff Molina 🇺🇸🇨🇴 (@jmolina_125) November 20, 2021
— Din Thomas (@DinThomas) November 20, 2021
Durden later offered a halfhearted and defensive apology, claiming that Aori had been disrespectful and that he really meant to say his opponent could go home, before dropping the standard "sorry if you were offended" line
Listen, the guy was disrespectful, and wouldn’t shake my hand at the weigh ins. After beating him, I simply meant he could go home wherever that may have been. I apologize if I offended anyone, that certainly was not my intention!! I love you all! See you at the top. @ufc
— Cody Durden (@Cody_Durden) November 20, 2021
Per MMA Fighting, Durden also defended his comment in his post-fight conference by challenging his critics to sign a contract to fight him. If the tweets are to be believed, he could have multiple takers.