Bantamweight contender’s ‘rape van’ Tweet leads to firing
In fewer than 140 characters, Miguel Torres' UFC career, for now, has come to an abrupt end.
Torres, the former WEC bantamweight champion and UFC title contender, was released by the promotion Thursday night. UFC president Dana White first told the news to SportsIllustrated.com, and UFC sources confirmed to HeavyMMA.com Torres had been let go.
The sudden pink slip is the result of a post Torres made Wednesday on his Twitter account. When White learned of the Tweet and deemed it to be too far over the line, the decision ultimately was made to part ways with the former champ.
"If a rape van was called a surprise van more women wouldn’t mind going for rides in them. Everyone like surprises," Torres posted on his Twitter feed. The word "rape" was later changed to "windowless," but too little, too late.
"There’s absolutely nothing I could say to make any sense of that," White told SportsIllustrated.com on Thursday. "And the fact that he even thinks that’s funny or that’s a joke, it disturbs me. It bothers me. Again, you’re dealing with a guy that’s a smart guy, that owns his own business, that’s been one of the top fighters in the world forever. And I cut him today. He’s no longer with the UFC."
White was not immediately available to Heavy for further comment on Torres' release. Torres declined to comment per the advice of his management team, which is expected to release a statement Friday.
Torres' release comes on the heels of two other controversial comments from high-profile UFC fighters. A month ago, Forrest Griffin, on his Twitter feed, said, "Rape is the new missionary" before pulling the comment down. On Wednesday in Chicago, after a press conference announcing the UFC on Fox event there next month, White told a small group of reporters that Griffin's explanation to him – that he was commenting on watching TV and seeing three consecutive news stories involving rape – was satisfactory.
"The Forrest Griffin thing was taken out of context," White said. "What he said made absolute sense, but Twitter isn't the place to say it. You only have so many characters to explain yourself. He wasn't demeaning (the severity of) rape or saying anything positive about rape."
Minutes before, at the same news conference, UFC on Fox headliner Rashad Evans, in the heat of a back-and-forth with upcoming opponent Phil Davis, referenced the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal that has rocked Penn State University in recent weeks. Davis is a Penn State alum.
"I'm gonna put my hands on you worse than that dude did to them other kids at Penn State," Evans said.
White told Sports Illustrated he didn't hear the comment, and asked Evans for an explanation when it was brought up to him later.
"Rashad is sorry for what he said," White told the site Thursday. "He truly is. He said it in the heat of the moment. He definitely took the wrong choice of words. He knows it and I know he knows it."
Torres (40-4, 2-1 UFC) last month beat Nick Pace by unanimous decision at UFC 139 to get back in the win column after a controversial unanimous decision loss to Demetrious Johnson in May. Torres went nearly six years without a loss, winning 17 straight fights, before losing his WEC bantamweight belt to Brian Bowles in August 2009. That loss was followed by a submission setback to Joseph Benadivdez in March 2010. But since then, Torres has gone 3-1 – and may have been approaching a title shot with one more UFC victory.