Coast fighter’s UFC hopes dashed over racist picture
A YOUNG Sunshine Coast fighter has been disqualified from a UFC reality television show because of a racist picture he posted on social media nearly two years ago.
Tyler Manawaroa, of Glenview, has been told he will not be offered a contract with the world's peak mixed martial arts company no matter how far he advances in the latest series of The Ultimate Fighter.
The show, which is screening in Australia, follows a group of athletes as they compete for a spot on the UFC roster.
The 19-year-old middleweight became one of the favourites to win the current series after he scored an upset win over Canada's Nordine Taleb in the episode which aired last week.
However, UFC this week released a statement saying no matter how far he advanced in the competition, he would not be offered a contract.
It said it was committed to an environment free of discrimination and had taken the action despite a background check before his casting failing to discover the picture.
Mr Manawaroa's coach Rob Giuffrida, from Integrated MMA gym, slammed the UFC's punishment as over-the-top and hypocritical.
Both of Mr Manawaroa's parents are Maori, and Giuffrida described his charge's extended family as a melting pot which included German, English, Tongan, Fijian and African.
Giuffrida said while Manawaroa's post was unaccept-able, the fighter was far from racist and did not deserve such a harsh penalty.
"People are making assumptions about his charact-er because he shared a photo," Giuffrida said.
"This happened and Tyler wasn't in a position to defend himself. If you and I make a mistake, we get a trial. You have to answer for yourself.
"Obviously the picture wasn't acceptable but the irony is he has a history of dealing with racism."
Mr Manawaroa has since removed the photo from his Instagram account and tak-en to Facebook to apologise for the gaffe.