The Ultimate Fighting Championship company has released an official statement reprimanding middleweight Alex Nicholson for a series of derogatory and racially charged anti-Asian statements made during UFC 202 which aired two weeks ago on August 20, 2016.
The night was headlined by a much-anticipated rematch between Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz. But in one of the earlier undercards, South Korean fighter Hyun Gyu Lim squared off against UFC newcomer Michigan-born Mike Perry. In that fight, which resulted in a surprise first-round knockout of Lim by Perry, Perry’s corner included teammate Alex Nicholson who also fights in the UFC.
Combat sports are notorious for pre-fight drama between opponents’ camps, and Lim vs. Perry was no exception. Indeed, at the pre-fight weigh-in, Perry faked a handshake with Lim, which although relatively common is typically seen as rude and unsportsmanlike behaviour. But, in this case, Perry’s camp also took the usua pre-game goading to a distinctly racist level.
Before the fight, Nicholson took to Facebook to call Lim “dung him Kong Jung foo,” a clearly offensive ‘joke’ that references the stereotype of ‘weird-sounding’ Asian names.
Then, at UFC 202 itself, a microphone caught Nicholson encouraging Perry in the corner with a racist comment, saying of Lim that, “he (Lim) can’t even open his motherfucking eyes.”
This Vine captures the moment for posterity. Turn on sound to hear Nicholson make the remark on live television.
This shit couldn’t have been more racist if Nicholson had stormed the octagon while pulling the corners of his eyes back with his fingers.
Later, Nicholson took to Twitter to apologize for the comments, saying that they were all said out of “love, no[t] hate.” Because one is totally a disrespective and racist douchebag to the people we care about, right?
I respect every man who steps in the cage and my comments were insensitive towards lim I was hype for my brother but It's all love no hate.
— AlexSpartanNicholson (@spartanlife32) August 23, 2016
Meanwhile, today, UFC issued a statement addressing the racial controversy surrounding UFC 202. In it, the company says that Nicholson has received a warning for his racist and derogatory behaviour, and that further acts along these lines will result in suspension or termination from UFC. Here’s the full statement:
UFC competitor Alex Nicholson made a derogatory comment toward another UFC athlete while cornering his teammate, Mike Perry, at UFC 202. UFC has addressed the matter with Nicholson, as well as Perry, to express the organization’s disappointment with Nicholson’s insensitive remark. As such, the organization informed Nicholson that any future instances of this nature could result in a suspension from competition, or termination of his contract.
UFC requires all athletes to act in an ethical, responsible and respectful manner, as mandated by the UFC Fighter Conduct Policy. UFC holds its athletes to the highest standard and will continue to take appropriate action if and when it is warranted.
Or, in other words: Today, the UFC took the stance that the first racially offensive incident is free.