World champion wrestler Hulk Hogan finally may have met an opponent he can’t beat: his own mouth.
World Wrestling Entertainment has dropped the star from its organization, it said in a statement released Friday morning.
WWE terminated its contract with Terry Bollea (aka Hulk Hogan). WWE is committed to embracing and celebrating individuals from all backgrounds as demonstrated by the diversity of our employees, performers and fans worldwide.
Though the organization did not offer an exact reason for Hogan’s dismissal — or for scrubbing its website of his presence — the termination comes after a few instances of the wrestler using racist language have come to light.
One, the Daily Beast reports, is a 2012 radio interview in which Hogan defends his use of the n-word, saying that he started saying it casually when he lived in Miami and was part of a social scene that included rappers Lil Wayne and Birdman.
“…They’re all calling me ‘n–a,’ and then I started sayin’ it,” Hogan says in the interview. “And I always said it, but now all of a sudden I get heat when I say it, and they say, ‘Hogan, you can’t say that,’ so I say, ‘Why can they say it to me then?'”
Hogan’s other use of racially charged language, Radar Online and The National Enquirer report jointly, is related to Hogan’s $100 million lawsuit against Gawker for posting security footage of the wrestler having sex with a friend’s wife in 2012.
Transcripts of the tape allegedly feature Hogan repeatedly using the n-word and saying, “I guess we’re all a little racist.”
Early Friday morning, Hogan sent out this tweet:
UPDATE: Later Friday, he gave a statement to People, calling his language in the transcripts of the sex tape “unacceptable.”
“Eight years ago I used offensive language during a conversation. It was unacceptable for me to have used that offensive language; there is no excuse for it; and I apologize for having done it… This is not who I am. I believe very strongly that every person in the world is important and should not be treated differently based on race, gender, orientation, religious beliefs or otherwise.”
He continued: “I am disappointed with myself that I used language that is offensive and inconsistent with my own beliefs.”
Hogan also maintains that he resigned from WWE, and was not fired.
Hogan came to fame in the early 1980s as part of the then-World Wrestling Federation, soon becoming its signature personality. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005. That was also the year his VH1 reality series Hogan Knows Best premiered; in 2008, the show shifted its focus to Hogan’s daughter, Brooke, and became known as Brooke Knows Best.
In addition to various TV appearances over the years, Hogan also voiced a character on Adult Swim’s recently cancelled animated series China, IL and was a judge on WWE Tough Enough. He is no longer listed as a Tough Enough judge; similarly, nearly all references to Hogan have been removed from the WWE website.