UFC bantamweight champion Henry Cejudo is the self-proclaimed “King of Cringe,” but the direction he took things on Monday is something entirely different.
Cejudo was recently asked by ESPN about potential next challengers for his belt, which due to injuries he has not defended since defeating Marlon Moraes to fill a title vacancy in June.
His interview response seemed harmless enough, but then in a tweet promoting the interview, he referred to contender Aljamain Sterling, who is African-American, as “Aljamima.”
This appears to be a reference to Aunt Jemima, an old-school syrup mascot who often used in a racially pejorative sense.
Cejudo also denigrated Russian challenger Petr Yan as “a communist potato” and denigrated his lack of English proficiency.
While the tweet was written in a plausibly deniable way, ESPN reporter Karyn Bryant, who is also African-American, clearly considered to it to be racially charged, as she called Cejudo out for the attempted joke.
Bryant also responded to several of those who left her replies claiming Cejudo’s response wasn’t racist, such as the following:
Sterling retweeted Bryant’s tweet but did not respond directly as of this writing.
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