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Miguel Torres Released From UFC Following 'Rape Van' Joke

Former WEC bantamweight champion Miguel Torres was abruptly released by the UFC on Thursday after posting a rape related message on his Twitter account.

Miguel Torres
Miguel Torres

Bantamweight contender Miguel Torres has been released from the UFC following the posting of a controversial message on his Twitter account. UFC President Dana White announced to the news to SI.com.

"This morning I'm on [Michael] Landsberg's show, up here in Canada, and he hits me with the quote of what he tweeted," White explained. "Now there's no explanation for that. There's absolutely nothing I could say to make any sense of that. And the fact that he even thinks that's funny or that's a joke, it disturbs me. It bothers me. Again, you're dealing with a guy that's a smart guy, that owns his own business, that's been one of the top fighters in the world forever. And I cut him today. He's no longer with the UFC."

Earlier this week Torres posted the message, "If a rape van was called a surprise van more women wouldn't mind going for rides in them. Everyone like surprises."

Torres explained the line as a reference to "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia", the popular comedy show on Fox-owned FX. According to Matt Erickson of Heavy MMA, the former WEC champion was watching the show at the time of the tweet -- throughout episode two of season four, Frank Reynolds (Danny DeVito) has a van repeatedly referred to as a "rape van" -- and felt the joke was in good fun.

News of the release sets a unique new precedent for fighters employed by the UFC. Recently former light heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin came under fire for a string of rape related jokes on Twitter, capped by a tweet that declared, "Rape is the new missionary." Griffin eventually deleted the offending tweets and was not released for his offense.

Likewise, earlier this week light heavyweight contender Rashad Evans found himself in hot water after haphazardly slipping the Penn State scandal into trash talk during the UFC on Fox 2 press conference. Midway through an exchange with Phil Davis, Evans dropped the line, "I guarantee you'll be the first one to take a shot cause I'm going to put my hands on you worse than that dude did them other kids at Penn State."

Evans eventually apologized for his comments and White scoffed at the idea of punishment. "What do you want me to do? You want me to have our lawyers draw something up and I'll come out and read it to you guys," White said to MMA Fighting. "You know, he said something stupid. It's probably one of the dumbest things you could say. He gets it, and he knows it was a stupid thing to say, and we'll see what happens."

Torres' release comes on the heels of a recent career resurgence. The 30-year-old, currently ranked the No. 8 bantamweight in the world on the MMA Nation/USA Today rankings, has won three of his last four fights, with the only loss coming in a controversial decision against Demetrious Johnson. Torres last appeared at UFC 139, dominating Nick Pace en route to a unanimous decision victory.

For reaction and response to the story, including a personal statement from Torres, visit this StoryStream.