MEDIA & BUSINESS: Dana White’s dysfunctional dig for truth coming out of UFC 210 weekend

By Robert Vallejos, MMATorch contributor

Pearl Gonzalez (photo credit Kevin Hoffman © USA Today Sports)

The day prior to UFC 210 was unbelievable, but according to UFC president Dana White he is the only one to be believed in matters concerning the promotion. This premise would be valid if his statements contained any veracity.

To recap, the Friday before UFC 210 saw headliner Daniel Cormier initially weigh-in heavy before “miraculously” losing weight thanks to a towel, only to have a New York State Athletic Commission official explain that he actually had two extra hours to weigh-in. If that wasn’t enough drama, there was the odd incident of Pearl Gonzalez being pulled from her UFC debut due to having breast implants, with an eventual reinstatement happening later in the day.

Needless to say, it was a confusing day.

However, White has the cure to the confusion; us laymen just need to adhere to his every word and we will never be led astray.

“Don’t believe what you read till you hear it from us,” White explained to UFC employee Megan Olivi as it pertains to the Gonzalez situation. “When you see a statement from me or the UFC, then it’s real, then it’s true.”

In response, Olivi said: “I love that! Let’s go with that, MMA-media.” (What else would you say when you are interviewing your boss?)

White also took to Twitter to refute such false claims.

With White being on a crusade for the truth, it prompts the question: What was actually reported?

Well, as it turns out, the most visible MMA media outlets never reported that the fight was definitely off.

Ariel Helwani of sent out a series of tweets explaining that the Gonzalez’s team had been informed that the fight was off, but both her team and the UFC were working to rectify the situation.

To be fair, the original story on did not indicate that a contingency plan was in place.

Similarly citied Team Alpha Male coach Justin Buchholz as indicating that the fight was off, but they were working to keep the fight afloat. While cited the reports from other media outlets in their coverage of the situation.

If anyone takes editorial issue with the coverage that these sites provided on this situation, they should go directly to the source herself for more information. After being reinstated, Gonzalez explained, “The commission told me I would not fight.”

So with the benefit of context and nuance, it is difficult to decipher what White was so defensive about?

A man in his position is naturally going to attempt to control the message, but in this case he picked the wrong hill to die on. Doing so makes him look petty or, dare I say, uniformed.

If we are to abide by the premise that no news is valid unless it comes from White, perhaps his information should be accurate more often.

A whole column can be dedicated to statements that White has made that turned out to be false. The inclusion of women in the UFC, his ever-changing position on a Conor McGregor-Floyd Mayweather fight, and his staunch stance that UFC would not promote a women’s featherweight division are just a few high profile examples of the fluctuating truth that emanates from White.

Now of course it can be argued that these falsehoods are only a result of White protecting his business interests, or that these claims were true when made but changed with the inclusion of new information.

The latter seems to be exactly what the MMA-media did with the Gonzalez story.

Maybe they can find common ground after all.

NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S COLUMN: MEDIA & BUSINESS: The Strange Paige Paradigm – Is UFC furthering perception they’re moving too far from being a meritocracy

(Robert Vallejos writes a new Specialist column for MMATorch titled “Media & Business” focused on, you guessed it, the media coverage of MMA and the business side of MMA. He is fascinated by the presentation, business decisions, media strategy, and press coverage of both UFC and MMA as a whole, and will bring that curiosity to explore and delve into that side of MMA to his weekly Specialist column here at MMATorch. He explains his approach: “As a sport in its relative infancy, MMA does not receive the same level of scrutiny and informed analysis from the sports media as other more established entities. This is why it is vital for independent outlets such MMATorch to grow, while featuring a variety of voices. Unlike mainstream outlets, MMATorch is not beholden to any organization. Therefore I believe it is essential for individuals such as myself to explain not only the ‘what’ but also the ‘why’ of MMA.”)

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