FanDuel - WFBC

December 09, 2011

UFC Fighter Fired for Tweeting Rape Joke: The UFC has dropped fighter Miguel Torres after he reposted the following joke from the sitcom It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia on Twitter: "If a rape van was called a surprise van more women wouldn't mind going for rides in them. Everyone like surprises." He also posted "Your mouth says no but my roofies say yes" and "I'm not a gynecologist but I'll take a look."

posted by rcade to boxing at 10:08 AM - 27 comments

I suppose a lot depends on context. Always Sunny, for those who don't watch it, is a sitcom about five of the most reprehensable, morally repugnant, and stupid people ever on television. That's kind of the gag that runs throughout the show. When that quote is spoken on the show, it is meant to be an observation of an insensitive, stupid person, but not a person who is a rapist. It is not spoken to make light of rape, IMO (I know this can be disputed). It seems like Torres has a hard time recognizing that context, and that for him, rape is kind of a running joke.

If I was a woman, I would find the "roofies" post to be much more offensive. People get roofied and raped and/or robbed every day in this country. They's a very real threat and scary as hell to those who frequent bars. The gyneocologist line is just stupid and unfunny, I'm not sure about offensive. Anyhow, it seems to be too common of a thread in his posts to be ignored, but it also seems like White could have addressed the situation many posts ago. The guy can make two or three rape jokes, but the fourth is where the line is drawn? Seems a bit arbitrary and inconsistent.

posted by tahoemoj at 12:16 PM on December 09

Athletes, please don't tweet. Nothing good comes of it.

Since when is distasteful or repugnant not protected by our constitutional right of free speech. I suppose in Dana White's kingdom there are no constitutional rights. Maybe he should have just fired the guy for being over the hill, especially since he probably hasn't read any of Forrest Griffins books, as Griffin is still in the UFC. Selective prosecution to say the least.

posted by Atheist at 01:32 PM on December 09

Since when is distasteful or repugnant not protected by our constitutional right of free speech.

Since when is employment in UFC a constitutional right?

posted by kmzh at 01:40 PM on December 09

The 1st Amendment only applies to government actors, not private employers. A private employer virtually always reserves the right to release an employee when that employee's actions are detrimental to the employer's interests.

posted by tahoemoj at 01:48 PM on December 09

I wish the Internet could let go of the completely bogus notion that employees have free speech rights a private company cannot infringe. The First Amendment's only 45 words long. Read it. It only limits government. If a boss doesn't want to have you around because of a remark you made in a public forum, the Founding Fathers had dick to say about it.

posted by rcade at 02:01 PM on December 09

the Founding Fathers had dick

They did, indeed.

posted by Hugh Janus at 02:17 PM on December 09

the Founding Fathers had dick

Is this the thread with the running dick jokes? Gold!

posted by BornIcon at 02:52 PM on December 09

Sadly no, because dicks don't have legs. They only time they run, it's some kind of discharge and you should probably see a doctor.

posted by apoch at 03:07 PM on December 09

Is this the thread with the running dick jokes?

In the business, we say "is this the thread with the gonorrhea jokes?"

posted by Joey Michaels at 03:09 PM on December 09

In the business, we say "is this the thread with the gonorrhea jokes?"

The adult entertainment business?

posted by BornIcon at 03:17 PM on December 09

Out of curiosity, if Torres could prove that other UFC fighters have written books or or used foul language, publicly told offensive jokes, or done numerous other distasteful and repugnant things in a public forum, and they that were not fired for it and he was never warned about the possibility that certain actions could result in his immediate termination would he have a good wrongful termination lawsuit?

I find it ironic that Mike Tyson was a guest on the Ultimate Fighter season twelve

http://www.bloodyelbow.com/2010/9/9/1678523/countdown-to-the-ultimate-fighter

He sat with his buddy Dana White as a guest star. It seems mister White has an issue with someone who repeats a distasteful rape joke from a TV show on twitter but has no problem with a convicted rapist being involved with a UFC show and event. A little hypocritical unless Mr. White was just looking for some reason to rid himself of Torres or nullify a contract. Seems a little extreme considering the history of others involved.

posted by Atheist at 03:20 PM on December 09

The adult entertainment business?

Urology.

posted by Joey Michaels at 03:31 PM on December 09

Wrongful termination would probably hinge on Torres' contract, but I'd be willing to bet that there's a clause pertaining to protecting the image of the organization or actions detrimental to the organization.

As far as hypocrisy and arbritrary enforcement of the rules, you're absolutely right. To fire an employee for a joke, even one in poor taste, about rape when you sat and chatted with a convicted rapist is kinda bullshit. It just doesn't give Torres any actionable rights as an employee. I suspect your last statement is insightful. When an excuse to fire someone is sought, the "straw that broke the camel's back" approach is a handy one.

posted by tahoemoj at 03:36 PM on December 09

Urology.

Which apparently does not qualify as adult entertainment.

posted by tahoemoj at 03:38 PM on December 09

Out of curiosity, if Torres could prove that other UFC fighters have written books or or used foul language, publicly told offensive jokes, or done numerous other distasteful and repugnant things in a public forum, and they that were not fired for it and he was never warned about the possibility that certain actions could result in his immediate termination would he have a good wrongful termination lawsuit?

Probably not. "Foul-mouthed sexist boor" is not a protected category anywhere that I know of.

...well, not legally protected, anyway.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 03:40 PM on December 09

Urology.

Which apparently does not qualify as adult entertainment.

Semantics. I say potato, you say genitourinary disorder.

posted by BornIcon at 03:41 PM on December 09

tahoemoj - it even went further than that. While White fired Torres for a private twitter post, which was just a cut and past from a TV show, not really directly related to the UFC, he invited Mike Tyson on a nationally syndicated UFC produced television show and treated him as an honored guest, essentially putting the UFC endorsement on the participation of a convicted rapist. It all points to the fact the firing of Torres for the twitter post was just an excuse for White and something else is the real reason. Since an employer in most states can release an employee for almost any reason other than racial, religious, or other protected by law reasons, implies to me the guy had a contract with a clause and Dana White needed a contractual violation, albeit selective and arbitrary to rid himself of a guy he didn't like or want anymore. Wrongful termination suits happen all the time and employees are compensated for being unfairly singled out and prevented from working for arbitrary reasons.

posted by Atheist at 04:03 PM on December 09

a private twitter post

Uhm, a what now? The fact he wasn't on the company dime when he posted it (as far as we know) doesn't have anything to do with anything. And Twitter is, for the most part, the opposite of private.

This might prove helpful.

posted by yerfatma at 04:25 PM on December 09

While White fired Torres for a private twitter post, which was just a cut and past from a TV show, not really directly related to the UFC, he invited Mike Tyson on a nationally syndicated UFC produced television show and treated him as an honored guest, essentially putting the UFC endorsement on the participation of a convicted rapist.

That's not exactly fair. Presumably, after some amount of time has passed (e.g., 20 years), his conviction is no longer the sum total of the man. I'd suppose that he was invited as a result of his success and not to celebrate his conviction. Associating with Mike Tyson is not an endorsement of rape.

posted by bperk at 04:52 PM on December 09

There's nothing private about a Twitter post. Torres has 50,000 followers.

... implies to me the guy had a contract with a clause and Dana White needed a contractual violation ...

Why does it have to be that complicated? Maybe UFC just doesn't want to be associated with somebody who makes rape jokes.

posted by rcade at 04:54 PM on December 09

Well maybe personal would have been a better word as I meant that it wasn't done on a UFC platform and had nothing to do with the UFC, which is hardly the point. It just seems obvious to me that there a public reason for his dismissal and a real reason for his dismissal not mentioned. It should be clear by the Mike Tyson reference that insensitivity regarding the subject of rape is not a real concern for Dana White. So while he may say he is firing someone because of their insensitive re-posting of a distasteful rape joke, he is actually more insensitive to the subject.

yerfatma - please explain what your point is....? Did I post something that you are in disagreement with?

All I am saying is something is missing and based on a lot of stuff UFC fighters and Dana White himself have done, I sincerely doubt it is really a sensitivity or image issue that got Torres dismissed. I think Tahomoj hit the nail on the head, when an employer wants someone gone for any reason you don't really need a valid reason to do it, just something you can blame it on.

posted by Atheist at 05:06 PM on December 09

"Why does it have to be that complicated? Maybe UFC just doesn't want to be associated with somebody who makes rape jokes."

rcade - have you ever watched the ultimate fighter? See the personalities of some of these guys? Hear some of the stuff they say, the homophobic crap they spew? Did you see Mike Tyson as honored guest on the show? Do you really believe what you just said? Really? They don't want to be associated with someone who makes rape jokes (actually someone who posted a joke from a TV show) but are fine being associated with a convicted rapist?

I am not sure exactly why a few want to pile on every opinion I post but geez. Disagree all you like but at some point you must see the absurdity of what you just said in light of the Mike Tyson link.

posted by Atheist at 05:14 PM on December 09

I am not sure exactly why a few want to pile on every opinion I post but geez.

How so? You started trying to make the point that distasteful speech is Constitutionally protected*, and people pointed out that this is irrelevant. Then you suggested it might be wrongful termination, and people pointed out that this was probably not the case. That's not "piling on", but since you've shifted the discussion from an assertion about protected speech into the realm of pure speculation (someone's inner motivations), rest assured that your position is now unassailable.

*The US Constitution, one presumes; this is an international forum

posted by lil_brown_bat at 09:36 PM on December 09

have you ever watched the ultimate fighter?

Not often, so I can't judge whether this rape joke is par for the course.

Mike Tyson was freed from prison 16 years ago and has been involved in numerous TV shows, movies and other projects since then. Though it might be fitting for him to have been completely ostracized since his rape conviction, a lot of people in the sports, news and entertainment worlds don't share that opinion.

posted by rcade at 09:46 PM on December 09

yerfatma - please explain what your point is....? Did I post something that you are in disagreement with?

Yes, the idea that businesses can't fire someone associated with them as long as the repugnant behavior is speech and as long as it happens off the clock. Why people insist on conflating Constitutional rights with employment law is a mystery to me.

posted by yerfatma at 09:16 AM on December 10

The argument the others have written books with objectionable content in, there's a big difference between writing it inside a work of literature, and posting it on fucking Twitter. Comparing the two is like comparing Johnny Cash to the fucking cast of Glee.

And seeing muppets crowing about freedom of speech... THE STUPID... IT BURNS!

It's a private company. Dana White can do what the fuck he wants. I guarantee there's a clause in the contract that would more than stand up in court to justify his being fired so kudos to Dana White for kicking his ass out.

posted by Drood at 01:09 AM on December 11

I totally agree Dana White can do what he wants. I believe an employer should be able to fire anybody he wants for almost any reason. I only think there is more to this than a tweeting a bad joke. That's it. Either Dana White and the UFC are hypocrites, or they just wanted this guy gone. I don't believe it was repeating a bad joke that was the cause.

I am not suggesting this guy has a case but was just stating many have brought wrongful termination suits against employers if they feel they were unfairly singled out. Right or wrong, win or loose.

posted by Atheist at 12:40 PM on December 12

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