UFC fighter Andrea Lee has defended her husband against accusations of racism after a Nazi tattoo could be seen in a family photo shared over the weekend.
The flyweight made her UFC debut in May but her life outside the octagon suddenly hit the headlines when fans spotted a symbol on Donny Aaron’s arm in an Instagram photo.
Lee initially responded to the claims in a short tweet that has since been deleted.
“Neither one of us are racists, we have an Asian & a black guy that live with us!” she wrote on Twitter.
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“Oh my gosh guys it’s a tattoo he got when he was in prison, get over yourselves. He covers them up all the time & we happen to have a lake day and it makes an appearance. Sensitive ass mofos.”
But a day later Lee and Aaron were apologetic and explained the situation.
Aaron, who is now in his 40s, spent time in jail during his 20s and met Lee years later.
Now her coach, he apologised to “all I have offended” and explained that all his tattoos “tell the story” of his past.
“I’d most like to apologise to Andrea and my brother Kendrik for putting them in a position to feel the need to defend me when there is no defense or justification for the abhorrent tattoos that I ashamedly wear,” he wrote.
“I’d also like to apologize to her employers at the UFC for bringing them shame and embarrassment. Not least of these I apologize to MMA fans world wide for giving the sport a temporary black eye and for offending so many of those who’ve supported us for years.”
Aaron said cover-up tattoos or laser removal are not options available to him, though it was unclear why.
However, he did promise that fans would never see his tattoos in public again.
“They do not accurately represent who I am today as a person, my personal belief system and the respect I have for people of all races and religion,” he continued.
“For 13 years I have tried to atone for my sins and seek forgiveness from those most certainly find my body reprehensible.”
Aaron also defended his wife against any accusations of racism, calling her “the real star” in their relationship and “genuinely the best person I know”.
Lee apologised for her initial response in a lengthy statement in the hours after Aaron’s message.
Please read my full apology, this is to everyone who was upset or offended by me and my initial response. I sincerely apologize, it wasn’t thought out when I sent it, I deleted it immediately after I sent it when I was more rational and clear minded. forgive me pic.twitter.com/9td65xNAmo
— Andrea Lee (@AndreaKGBLee) June 3, 2018
“When I first met Donny, I questioned him too about his tattoos and he explained to me about his past and who he was now and how he’d changed,” she wrote.
“The more I got to know him as a person the less I noticed his skin. I’m truly sorry for responding the other day the way I did. If you think I don’t care, I DO!
“I’m not racist, I’m not a Nazi and I don’t hate people and neither does Donny.”