Breakout UFC star Adrian Yanez revealed what his controversial opponent Tony Kelley said to him in the Octagon on June 18 during their heated bout in his home state of Texas, turning out pre-fight fans after he was at the UFC Fight Night Austin event on Saturday Louisiana bantamweight.
Yanez said during his post-fight press conference, “Halfway through when he started talking more shit, I was like, ‘Oh, now I really don’t like you. … He started calling me a ‘wishes on Masvidal’ and now he kind of wishes he hadn’t said that, you know?”
Kelley was facing an uphill battle against his hometown hero, Yanez, and had drawn the ire of some UFC fans with his comments when he betrayed fellow UFC fighter Andrea Lee in her loss to Brazilian Viviane Araujo in May cornered. Kelley was caught saying to Lee between rounds, “They will, they are dirty Brazilians. You’re going to fucking cheat like that.”
Kelley responded to the backlash on Twitter in May. Write, “Cancel culture is real. What I said was real and in the heat of the moment and in no way meant any racist connotations… but if you take it that way, idgaf. So many people are quick to say racist…it’s getting so old. My allusion was to a dirty eye prick.”
Kelley, who also missed weight before the fight, fell to 8-3 with his loss to Yanez, who is now 15-3 overall. The 29-year-old Texan has been up 5-0 since joining the UFC and has the too Contender Series won by Dana White. Yanez is on a nine-fight win streak and challenged Sean O’Malley to also be at bantamweight for a potential clash if O’Malley gets past Pedro Munhoz at UFC 276 on July 2.
Speaking of Kelley’s weight loss, Yanez told reporters, “I was quite upset because he was trying to justify it by saying he could have cut down more but the doctor told him to stop. … We were told two or three hours before the weigh-in that it would be over. It is what it is, I had to keep my composure.” Yanez said Kelley’s actions at the ceremonial weigh-ins were what “really got me wrong.”
He added, “I was sitting there, I was looking at my family, I spotted my family in the crowd, I saw my baby and all, and then all of a sudden, in the back of my mind, I was like, ‘Get your ass down here boy.’ That literally irritated me.” Yanez then approached Kelley and the two had to be separated by UFC CEO Dana White. “That’s why I got heated and then he started talking and he pissed me off even more,” Yanez said.
Yanez said Kelley spoke to him in the cage during their fight and accused him of airing his comments about Brazilian fighters. Yanez said he only spoke about it because the media asked him questions about it in the run-up to the fight. “I don’t make the headlines,” Yanez said.
Kelley hasn’t spoken much since his brutal KO defeat but took to Instagram on Sunday to tease his response. Kelley wrote, “At the end of the day… it’s still 🖕🏼 F*** youuuu 🖕🏼 haterrsss who’s next?!” His comments were in the caption of a photo of him raising his middle fingers while being weighed.
Kelley added: “Lots of context for what happened last night… but shit it is what it is, you humble mfers couldn’t begin to understand…. 💯 Check my upcoming interview for the full story.” Yanez said during his press conference, “There’s still hostilities. I don’t like the guy.”
Yanez said he knew many Brazilians wanted him to eliminate Kelley because of his comments and the controversy surrounding him. One of those supporting him was UFC welterweight star Gilbert “Durinho” Burns, who put up a “bounty” for Kelley’s knockout.
The Brazilian Burns wrote on Twitter after Yanez’s victory: “My guy @yanezmma represents 🇧🇷 DM me your cell or cash app! CONGRATULATION!! #UFCAustin.” He then tweeted, “C’mon boys! Make sure to push @yanezmma to accept the money he doesn’t want! It was a fight #UFCAustin 🤑🤑.”
Yanez eventually accepted the money, tweet, “Big thanks to @GilbertDurinho 🙏🙏 definitely spent on my son!! I really appreciate it 🙏.” Calling the win the “most satisfying” of his career, Yanez said, “There was just one extra thing.”
Yanez said he sees a fight with O’Malley by the end of the year. He told reporters: “If he gets Pedro Munhoz, I’ve just KO’d Tony Kelley, I’ve got another spectacular win and let’s just say he sits for a second, weighs his options, I’ll be there. I don’t mind fighting him at all. Because I just know knocking out ‘Suga Sean’ will only get me way up there. I am 100% ready for this fight. I feel like we both need to be paid for this. …It’s going to be a really fun fight for me. Especially if I knock him out.”