UFC fighter Cody Durden has drawn the scorn of several of his peers and fight fans alike after a post-fight interview following his win against Qileng Aori in which he was accused of making a xenophobic statement.
Flyweight fighter Durden was winless in his first two outings in the Octagon before breaking his barren spell at Saturday night's event in Las Vegas when he squeezed past China's Aori by decision - but the American fighter quickly drew scorn for supposedly racist comments he made while speaking with former UFC champion Daniel Cormier.
"I knew he was going to be tough," said Durden during an interview with the former UFC double-champion. "But I had to send him back to China, where he came from."
The comments weren't met with approval from the small crowd within the UFC's Apex facility, with a whisper of disapproval and boos being audible on the broadcast.
"You say that, I take the microphone," Cormier said soon after. "I have nothing else to do there."
Durden's comments about his Chinese opponent were instantly met with disapproval online from several UFC fighters, as noted by MMA Fighting.
"Wow," wrote UFC middleweight Jamahal Hill online. "Way to sh*t on your own performance. Way too comfort[able] say that ignorant sh*t."
"I don't like Cody Durden's racist comment in his interview. Should I smash this guy for my UFC debut?" added the UFC's newest undefeated phenomenon, Muhammad Mokaev.
"Dude's a real piece of sh*t," added fellow flyweight fighter Jeff Molina. "I'll gladly punch him in the face."
Questioned by the media afterwards, Durden initially refused to to back down from the controversial comments, saying: "If they don't like it, do something. Sign the contract. It doesn't matter to me. I said what I said and it is what it is."
However, perhaps after noting the stream of messages sent his way online, Durden took to social media to back down from his initial statement.
"Listen, the guy was disrespectful, and wouldn't shake my hand at the weigh-ins," he explained.
"After beating him, I simply meant he could go home - wherever that may have been. I apologize if I offended anyone; that certainly was not my intention. I love you all. See you at the top."