Former bantamweight champ cut by promotion Thursday
In the wake of his release by the UFC on Thursday following a Twitter post deemed too offensive by UFC president Dana White, Miguel Torres has issued an official statement about his future in the sport.
Torres on Friday apologized to the UFC, his fans and anyone offended by his Tweet. The statement was released on the bantamweight fighter’s official website.
“I have a lot to be thankful for in my life,” Torres said in the statement. “I have my beautiful wife and daughter, my family, my health, my gym, and in terms of my career, I succeeded to the biggest stage in the sport of mixed martial arts, the Ultimate Fighting Championship. I am very sorry for upsetting my bosses at the UFC, and also to my fans and everyone else who was upset by the language in my tweets. I understand it was wrong, and I meant no harm or disrespect.”
On Wednesday, Torres posted on his Twitter account: “If a rape van was called a surprise van more women wouldn’t mind going for rides in them. Everyone like surprises.” The word “rape” was later changed to “windowless.” When White was informed of the Tweet while being interviewed in Toronto, he ultimately made the decision to release Torres, the former WEC bantamweight champion and one of the most successful lighter-weight fighters in MMA history.
“There’s absolutely nothing I could say to make any sense of that,” White told SportsIllustrated.com on Thursday, his first public comments about Torres and his release. “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 (Thursday). He’s no longer with the UFC.”
Torres’ release came just after a second controversial statement from a high-profile UFC fighter. Last month, Forrest Griffin, on his Twitter feed, said, “Rape is the new missionary” before pulling the comment down. On Wednesday in Chicago, during a press conference announcing the UFC on Fox event there next month, 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 at the time, but was satisfied with Evans’ apology and explanation later. And Wednesday, after the news conference in Chicago, White told a small group of reporters that Griffin’s comment last month was “taken out of context” and the former champ’s explanation to him was satisfactory.
Torres went on to say that he plans on using this new crossroad in his career as a learning experience.
“Given the chance, I will do whatever it takes to make things right,” Torres said. “I am going to learn from this. I think life throws you opportunities that can make you a better person, and so that’s what I’m going to do here. That is how I am going to react. I am going to use this to improve myself, and I hope that my fans will continue to support me.”
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.
Torres owns his own gym, Torres Martial Arts Academy, in Hammond, Ind., just south of where he grew up in East Chicago. He splits his training time between there, Tristar Gym in Montreal and the new Blackzilians camp in South Florida.