Exclusive: Trainer Colin Oyama Issues Apology for Slur at UFC Tampa

By Anthony Walker Oct 15, 2019
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As previously reported on Monday, the management team of Andre Ewell voiced concerns about a racial slur being used in reference to him during Saturday evening’s bout with Marlon Vera at UFC Fight Night 161 in Tampa, Florida. Since publication, the cornerman who is believed to have uttered the slur, Colin Oyama, responded to a request for comment regarding the incident.

In a lengthy statement, Oyama, the owner of Team Oyama in Irvine, California, expressed regret for using the slur, but insists he meant no harm by it.

“I may be a lot of things. But I’m definitely not a racist. I’ve worked with fighters of all colors and creeds. Learned to box with a lot of Hispanics. One of the biggest problems the Hispanic fighters had was dealing with the speed and footwork of a lot of the African American fighters.

“One of the methods that was pushed was to attack the body of the African American fighters, in an attempt to slow the [fight] down and try [to] alleviate the speed advantage that many of them appeared to have. The term “mayate killer” was a slang that was used to attack the body.

“In looking back at the fight, and being in the middle of it all, [I] do regret using the term. I’m not in any way racist and have always had a good [rapport] with everyone.

“Sometimes Chito and [I] lose things in translation but we have both worked to [improve] my Spanish and his English. I shook the opponent’s [cornermen’s] hands, and wished Andre the best of luck in his career after the fight ended. But in no way did I mean any ill will or racist or homophobic slurs towards them or towards anyone. I train all [kind of] fighters at my gym, both African American and gays. Never once uttered any racial or homophobic slurs at anyone. While [I] may yell at some of them in training, [I] would never mistreat someone based on race or sexual preference…

“But the people that know will tell you: it’s not like me to be racist. I may get excited in the heat of the moment, but [I] didn’t mean to disrespect anyone or race or culture. I was just trying to push my guy to stay on the body attack, which was really taking the opponent apart.

“I’m not saying my choice [of] the slang was good. But [I just] want people to know that I’m not a racist, man. And I’m not known for being one. I’m passionate about the sport that I’ve been involved in for over 20 years. And in no way was [I] trying to direct a racist [comment] towards Andre or any of his team.”

The lifelong athlete and martial artist, who originally hails from Hawaii, has worked the corner for many championship caliber fighters spanning the eras of Pride Fighting Championships, Strikeforce, the Ultimate Fighting Championship and Bellator MMA. Advertisement

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