According to a Feb. 11 report from MMA Fighting, the UFC has cut all ties with TUF Nations middleweight contestant Tyler Manawaroa after learning of an offensive Instagram photo that he posted 18 months ago.
The photo Manawaroa posted on Instagram showed an African-American child in a shopping cart, alongside a photo caption that read "get used to being behind bars." The photo caption also dropped the N-word.
After learning of the offensive pic, the UFC quickly made the decision to severe ties with him.
"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 announced. "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, an undefeated middleweight who advanced to the semifinal round of TUF Nations, offered an apology, but it appeared to be too late.
"Just a question. . Every one in their life has made a bad decision that has offended someone ..if you have apologized and have no intention of ever repeating that bad decision ..and your apology has been rejected. ..what do you do??" Manawaroa asked.
Analysis: Was the UFC right to severe ties with Manawaroa? Absolutely. Had the photo been posted several years ago, it could have been argued that it was just a childish, immature decision on his part.
However, since the photo was posted just 18 months ago, Manawaroa isn't far enough removed from it to deserve immediate forgiveness from the top MMA promotion in the world. The UFC has a lot of sponsor companies to please, so they simply can't afford to be linked to any fighters with racism in their background.
Manawaroa did the right thing by offering an apology, so hopefully he'll land on his feet with another promotion.