Former UFC bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt will fight T.J. Dillashaw for his belt on Saturday, nine months after getting his face punched off by Dillashaw in his first-ever loss as a professional. In the run-up to the fight, MMA fans have surfaced a treasure trove of old tweets from Garbrandt, in which he drops a whole bunch of slurs, both racial and homophobic.
He’s since scrubbed his account of most of the tweets, though he missed a few:
Garbrandt was asked about the tweets today, and he initially brushed it off, saying, “I don’t even address that, that was, what, when I was a teenager? Anyways, next question.” (He was, at youngest, 21 when he did the tweets in question.) After leaving it there, he spoke with MMA Junkie and explained a bit more about why he felt there was nothing wrong with his tweets. “First and foremost, it shouldn’t be embarrassing. I’m going to be a man and address it once, and that’s it,” he said.
“It’s lyrics,” Garbrandt said. “I grew up hanging out with blacks, Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, selling drugs. That’s a street word we would always say. It wasn’t like I was using derogatory words toward anyone. That’s how we grew up. It was kind of normal. That’s it. It’s a learning experience for a lot of people to not use that word in this day an age.”
The problem, to Garbrandt, is that everyone is just trying to be negative.
“Everyone’s just trying to figure out some negativity,” he said. “I’m so positive, and I have great things going on this week. Nothing’s deterring me from my focus. That’s that. It’s the last time I’ll address this question. And I’m actually done with this interview with you, as well.”
The state of the UFC world is such that Garbrandt’s tweets are not exactly the only problematic sentiments in the sport. Colby Covington is an interim champion, and he’s publicly called Brazilians “filthy animals.” Conor McGregor joked about enslaving José Aldo’s neighbors. At least people are starting to get called out a bit for it, even if Garbrandt has no sense of shame.