Group criticizes UFC after fighter’s rape tweet
RENO (AP) – As the Ultimate Fighting Championship made its prime-time network television debut, a small group of mothers protested what they called the latest in a string of offensive and inappropriate comments by its fighters.
At a news conference Saturday outside the Las Vegas headquarters of the biggest name in mixed martial arts, several activists called on Fox Sports and advertisers to “drop” the UFC until it adopts a code of conduct like other professional sports and no longer tolerates offensive remarks.
Among those speaking out against fighter Forrest Griffin’s recent tweet that was criticized as making light of rape was Emmily Bristol, a board member of the Nevada Coalition Against Sexual Violence.
“As a mother of an 18-month-old toddler and a survivor of sexual violence, it is deeply disturbing to me when I see professional athletes like Forrest Griffin joke about rape,” Bristol said. “The UFC is unfit for prime-time television.”
The UFC made its prime-time debut Saturday night with Junior Dos Santos defeating Cain Velasquez for the heavyweight title.
UFC officials did not immediately respond to an email request for comment.
Griffin on Thursday apologized for the rape remark and made a donation to the Rape Crisis Center in Las Vegas.
He said he was responding to the number of recent high-profile rape cases in the news, and remarking that rape has become commonplace.
“I like to cause trouble. I like to stir the pot. And I like to make a mess of things, but I really do not want to be mean or malicious to anyone,” Griffin told KTNV-TV in Las Vegas. “I feel bad. I want to apologize. I feel like I should be punished a little bit.”
Christine Kramar, founder of the blog VegasForTheFamily.com, said she doesn’t accept his apology.
Kramar said UFC fighters enjoy huge followings among young people and must take their status as role models more seriously.
“It’s not enough that he apologized,” she told the Associated Press. “We would like them (UFC) to self-regulate and quit serving as bad role models. We would like to discuss with them what’s appropriate.”
Kramar and Jennifer Reed, a sociology instructor at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, also joined the news conference.