UFC title contender Megan Anderson says she is prepared to speak with male fighter Casey Kenney following “utterly degrading” comments made by the bantamweight on a podcast in which he was critical of Anderson’s appearance.
Most would expect Anderson to be preparing for the biggest fight of her life when she takes on reigning UFC ‘champ champ’ Amanda Nunes for the promotion’s women’s featherweight title at next month’s UFC 259, but the Australian fighter is prepping for another showdown first – and plans on speaking to American fighter Kenney at the first available opportunity.
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Anderson’s backlash comes after Kenney’s appearance on a US podcast last month in which he was asked if he would “smash” his female colleague.
“Probably not, man,” Kenney replied with a laugh. “She’s not too … well, I mean, if it came down to it, and it was like 5am, 4, she’s a 5am-er, 4am-er. Just us two hanging out, like, f*ck it, let’s do it.”
Anderson was immediately critical of Kenney’s comments online, prompting him to an issue an apology. But she says she has since resolved to having face-to-face talks with him in the hopes of creating a larger understanding of the degrading comments often made to sportswomen.
“Because the way we talk about women, it needs to change,” Anderson said via news.com.au. “Just because my job puts me in the spotlight, or gets me seen by people all around the world, it doesn’t mean I should be spoken about like that.
“But people seem to think it’s part of the territory. And that’s why the culture needs to change. We are more than athletes. You’re not just talking about a fighter – you’re talking about somebody’s daughter, a sister, a friend, in some cases even a parent.
“Yet the way people speak to us, the negative things they have to say, it’s something I’ve had to get used to and get used to quickly. And it’s unfortunate that has to happen.
“So by speaking up about this, if I can help in some way to change that narrative – and help ensure it doesn’t happen to someone else – then that’s what I will do.”
Anderson also confirms that she has spoken to UFC Executive Vice President Hunter Campbell about the incident, and says he offered his full support to her and affirmed that she was right to be appalled at Kenney’s comments.
The featherweight fighter also noted that Kenney has attempted to make contact with her through her management team for the purpose of making a full apology – something she says that she would welcome, so long as it is sincere.
“If he is truly genuine in his wish for that then, yeah, of course I’m going to be open to it,” she said. “I’m all for giving people that chance because it helps create positive environments.
“We just need to better as human beings. Because, no, you don’t need to take those 10 seconds of your life to type something negative about someone. You don’t. It serves zero purpose.
“You don’t know me, you don’t know my life.”
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Kenney may well have another opportunity to express his regret ahead of UFC 259 on March 6 where Anderson will fight for her first UFC world title against the impressive Brazilian champion Nunes, while Kenney is also booked on the card to face former bantamweight king Dominick Cruz.