On Sunday, a photo posted to Instagram by The Ultimate Fighter: Nations contestant Tyler Manawaroa some 18 weeks ago made the rounds.
I'm choosing not to post the photo here, because it's racist and embarrassing and hurtful. Manawaroa has deleted the original photo. If you want to find it, well, Google is your friend.
On Sunday afternoon, I asked the UFC for comment on Manawaroa's photo. On Monday night, it responded, releasing this official statement to Bleacher Report:
The UFC organization had hired an investigation company in Australia to conduct thorough background investigations on potential contestants for The Ultimate Fighter Nations television series. Unfortunately, the background checks did not uncover all of the social media history by contestant Tyler Manawaroa. The UFC is committed to having an environment that is free from discrimination. Consequently, UFC has notified Manawaroa that regardless of how far he advances in the completed television series, the organization will not be offering him a contract to compete in the UFC.
Manawaroa took to Twitter (some language NSFW) earlier on Monday to do damage control, but it was not enough. Oh, and it was a little bit weird, too.
Racism isn't funny. But...it was just a joke? OK.
Two things to take note of here:
1. The UFC is absolutely doing the right thing here by refusing to offer Manawaroa a contract. This means that even if he makes the finals and wins the entire season, he will not be in the UFC going forward. There is no place for this kind of thing in any sport, or in any walk of life whatsoever.
2. Let us hope that the UFC, going forward, hires a better investigation firm, because this didn't take much work to find. All you had to do was go back to the beginning of Manawaroa's Instagram account. But, at the end of the day, the UFC made the correct decision here, and it should be commended for it.
I strongly suspect Manawaroa is not a racist. But I also strongly suspect he needs to learn some tact and make better decisions in the future.