UFC 259: Megan Anderson to confront Casey Kenney over sexist podcast

Australian UFC star Megan Anderson has agreed to speak with American Casey Kenney — whose “disgusting” sexualisation of her recently went viral — as she fights to change the way female athletes are viewed.

Despite being in the countdown to the biggest fight of her life, a UFC 259 title bout against Brazilian great Amanda Nunes, 30-year-old Anderson has revealed her plans to have a one-on-one conversation with Kenney, whose comments about her in a January podcast she branded “utterly degrading”.

Speaking with The Daily Telegraph from her adopted home in Kansas City, Australia’s best female fighter said she was happy to join the likes of AFLW star Tayla Harris in challenging the new wave of cyber-bullying and sexism levelled against some of the nation’s best female athletes.

Megan Anderson of Australia has taken a stand against sexism in the UFC and society. Picture: AAP Image/Michael DodgeSource:AAP

The decision follows an incident last month where, as a guest of The Timbo Sugarshow podcast, US bantamweight Kenney was asked if he would “smash” Anderson.

“Probably not, man,” the fighter replied, laughing.

“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 … it, let’s do it.’”

After initially denouncing Kenney’s comments on Twitter, Anderson has in the past 24 hours agreed to speak privately with the fighter in the hope of creating change not only in the way people speak about female fighters, but female athletes generally.

“Because the way we talk about women, it needs to change,” she said.

“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.

I guess MMA is a line of work where you can publicly talk about whether you'd have sex with a coworker in an utterly degrading way and face zero consequences.

Disgusting behavior and it's unfortunate that he'll be fighting on my card in March. https://t.co/hJd1OuHIyD

“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.”

Earlier this week, Anderson spoke with UFC Executive Vice President Hunter Campbell about the issue. The Aussie revealed an approach had also been made from Kenney, via her management, for a direct apology.

“Hunter affirmed that what happened wasn’t OK and that what (Kenney) said was disgusting,” Anderson said.

Megan Anderson (top) and Zarah Fairn compete during UFC 243 at Marvel Stadium. Picture: AAP Image/Michael DodgeSource:AAP

But as for the fighter receiving further sanctions or punishment?

“Because of the way we are sub contractors to the UFC, it makes that hard,” she continued. “Which I knew anyway would be the case.

“But just being able to speak with the UFC about it was great, as is the support I’ve received from so many people.

“My management has also told me today that Casey wants my number to reach out for an apology.

“And if he is truly genuine in his wish for that then, yeah, of course I’m going to be open to it.

“I’m all for giving people that chance because it helps create positive environments.”

Ironically, Kenney will also be fighting on the same UFC 259 card as Anderson, which sees the Aussie look to be crowned Baddest Woman On The Planet.

“We just need to better as human beings,” Anderson continued.

“My mum always told me, ‘if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all’.

“Which is the best advice.

“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.

“I like to keep things private so all you know about me is what I say or what I allow you to see on my social media.

“And if you’re choosing to make judgments about me from those surface level interactions, that says more about you than anything.

“At the end of the day, we’re all people.”

Originally published asAussie UFC star takes a stand over sexism

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