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04th Jun 2018

UFC star Andrea Lee and her husband issue apologies over swastika tattoo controversy

"I'm not racist, I'm not a Nazi and I don't hate people and neither does Donny."

Ben Kiely

Andrea Lee and her husband have responded to the controversy surrounding his tattoos.

UFC flyweight Andrea Lee and her husband were the talk of Twitter on Friday night as fans were tuning into the Utica event.

The two faced backlash when Lee uploaded a photo at a lake that showed husband and coach Donny Aaron had a swastika tattoo on his left forearm. Once the MMA community got wind of this, they went digging. Later, it was discovered that Aaron had the SS bolts, a common white supremacist symbol derived from Schutzstaffel in Nazi Germany, tattooed on his other arm.

Lee took down the photos and uploaded them again with the swastika tattoo cropped out. She also deleted a Twitter reply explaining that Aaron got the tattoo in prison, in which she referred to those complaining as ‘sensitive ass mofos’.

“I’m not racist”

Lee has responded to the controversy in a statement on social media. The former LFA champion apologised for her initial reaction, confessing that she never intended to ‘make light of the situation.’

“My comments the day before were meant to just defend my husband not his tattoo. I never intended to make light of the situation, the history of the symbol or dismiss anyone that was offended. The mistakes he made in his youth are not a representation of who he is today, which is a man that loves and respects everyone. Donny was my coach long before we got together. 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. 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. I’ve always believed in the Golden Rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. I personally try to live by that and I tell my daughter that all the time. I also don’t believe in hating a person for things they have done to you or things they have done Period. If I don’t like someone, I never say that I hate people or a person. If anything, I just extremely dislike a person, but never hate.”

“I’m the type of person to help anyone out no matter the colour of their skin or the religion they believe in. I don’t judge people based off a single thing or action or because of what someone else said about them. I choose to get to know them first and then make my own personal opinion. That’s how I am and that’s who I have always been.”

“So, I am sorry if I offended anyone. I apologise, please forgive me.”

“Please don’t let the sins of my past define my future.”

Aaron also issued his apologies in a social media statement. He confirmed that he acquired the ink in prison, adding that they do not define who is today. He explained that he won’t cover the tattoos with more ink nor will he get them removed. Apparently, ‘neither is an option’ for him. He did vow to continue wearing long-sleeve clothing in public.

“Please read this and accept my most sincere apologies to all I have offended when the photos of my tattoos became public. I’d most like to apologize to Andrea and my brother Kendrik (both pictured) 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. 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. And to all of the elite pro fighters I’ve been blesses to work with I pray this doesn’t change your opinion of me even through most of this groups know my story.

Furthermore, I’d like to apologize to Andrea’s sponsors who were certainly blindsided by this as were many. Know that I only offer reasons, not excuses or justification for the choices I made in my 20s. My body is covered in tattoos that tell the story of where I have been, what I’ve gone through and what I’ve overcome. These “scars” tell my history which include a dark time when I was in prison. However, 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. For 13 years I have tried to atone for my sins and seek forgiveness from those most certainly find my body reprehensible. I’ve, in most cases, gone to great lengths to always wear long sleeves in public setting. The photo posted was complacent error in judgment as my excitement and not thoughtfulness ruled that day.

Andrea Lee

Many of you have offered solutions to my problem: Coverups, laser removal ect. Please trust me when I say I’ve explored both avenues and unfortunately neither is an option for me. In the meantime, I understand that many won’t forgive me and don’t believe in second chances and to you I say, ‘I understand’. I don’t deserve forgiveness and I’m certainly not asking for sympathy. If however you do believe in forgiveness, then I promise it won’t be wasted on me. I am a different human being un my mid 40’s that I was in my 20’s.

As a final statement to Andrea’s character, it’s with certainty that I can promise you that she didn’t marry a racist. When Andrea and I met, I had already began to reinvent my life and if she’d seen any racist behavior or attitude she’d have never given me the time of day. Instead, she met a man who was and still does speak to at risk youth, who goes and speaks to inmates, who is active in his church, and who has always offered pro bono training to physically challenged and unprivileged youth.

My life has become very culturally diverse and Andrea stared right passed my tattoos [and] at the man I’ve become. I can’t offer many solutions but I do offer this: Unless you go digging up old photos of me, you’ll never see my tattoos again. I’d rather hold the camera for Andrea, the real star anyway. Again, I offer myself as a humble and apologetic man.

Please don’t let the sins of my past define my future. Please don’t let your hatred over me bleed into hatred toward Andrea. If you have to hate someone then please hate me. She doesn’t deserve it. She is genuinely the best person I know.”


Andrea Lee,UFC