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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief So if you're the president of a near billion dollar company and someone writes an article that you take a particular offense to, either due to what you believe are inaccuracies in the story or a general lack of facts from the author, what are you to do? Apparently if you're Dana White you use your on-going series of video blogs to verbally lambaste said author in a profanity laced tirade; oh, and you throw in a homophobic slur for good measure.
That's the story making the rounds today after White posted his most recent video blog involved with this week's UFC Fight Night 18 event in Tennessee. In a three minute video closing piece White responded to a column from Loretta Hunt of Sherdog.com, in which she stated that Zuffa handed down a notice to fighter managers that they would no longer be credentialed at UFC events. Her article leans to the side of contending that the UFC is trying to drive a wedge into the relationship's between the fighters and their management, allowing the UFC more control over fighters. She quotes a fighter representative as saying, "They’re telling fighters they can go directly to them. They’re telling fighters they’ll be doing sponsorships themselves in the near future that will put the managers and agents out of business. They’re trying to minimize the managers’ and agents’ role in the fighter’s life so they can better control salaries." She also states that her quotes came from representatives wishing to remain anonymous for fear of repercussions from Zuffa.
Off of that article, Dana begins his tirade in the video, which can be downloaded in it's uncensored form on the website Sendspace and seen in the context of the full video blog on glaadblog.org, by stating that he "just heard that there was another f***ing retarded story by Loretta Hunt. Loretta, you f***ing moron, it has always been the policy [of the UFC] that the fighters get so many credentials, and they can credential whoever the f*** they want..." He then goes off on a tangent trying to characterize his perceived notion of Hunt's reporting prowess with a retort to some assertion she made in the past that the UFC was trying to protect Rich Franklin at the time. He claimed to bring it up to show just "how f***ing dumb [Hunt is]."
Getting back on topic, he brings up her point of him being a former manager of Tito Ortiz and Chuck Liddell, to which he commented that he never was allowed in the back. "What the f*** do I need to be in the back for if I'm his manager?...No I've done all the f***ing business deals before they go there and my work is done." He also contends he had to buy his own tickets to the UFC events he attended while managing both fighters. "If I needed to be in the back that bad, then one of those guys would have credentialed me."
The meat of this outburst comes when he gets to her using quotes in her story from someone "who 'wants to remain anonymous due to fear of repercussions,' shut the f*** up...whoever gave you that quote is a p***y, and a f***ing fa**ot and a f***ing liar..." He then accuses her of perhaps being the liar writing "bulls*** stories. Everything that comes out of your mouth is f***ing stupid." He then states that he doesn't care who manages who before continuing the assault on the article, stating "get some quotes from some people who at least have the f***ing balls to put their name on it..." and then finishes it off by calling Hunt a "f***ing dumb b****."
Now obviously, this being Dana White and all, the crux of this tirade is not anything new or even unexpected from him. The problem with that is this is still a sport attempting to break into the mainstream. This is a sport trying to be recognized as a legitimate professional athletic competition. And Dana White is the figure head for the largest brand of said sport, meaning whether he represents the sport as a whole or not, his actions reflect on every fighter, manager, venue, commission, advertiser, etc. that has any affiliation to the sport at all. Even if this tirade had been a face to face between White and Hunt with him confronting her over what he believed were false assertions there was still far too much that was positively unacceptable with what he said here.
We've all been to the point where we've wanted to blow up in anger, and whether we have or have not done so we can at least understand the feeling. But this is where being a professional businessman and the president of an enormous company should kick in. There's a certain manner in which professionals are supposed to conduct themselves, particularly in public. Dana White would never be accused of conforming to that manner of conduct, but this was out of line even for him. If this were any other major company, or any other major face for any other sport, is there any doubt that he would face not only serious media outrage but also severe actions from his company? It's not going to happen in this case, and while he's stated to the gay and lesbian alliance against defamation (GLAAD), who has asked for a public apology due to his usage of the homophobic slur when referencing the anonymous source, that such an apology is forthcoming, the damage is done.
I can say that the profanity used in the tirade is not offensive to me personally. I'm around it on a daily basis and definitely use much of it in my daily speech, but I'm also not at the head of a major sports entity trying to break into the mainstream. Words are words, many people are going to be offended by many different things, and it's certainly not anyone's job here to play the PC police. What needs to be made clear to Dana, however, is what he says matters to the MMA community. Not in the sense that his word is true or that the substance of his messages mean something to the community, but they do have an effect on everyone. The more steam this story gains in any mainstream media outlets, the more damage it does to sponsor relations or those with future sponsors. The more people gain wind of his, let's be honest, consistent, manner of speaking and conversing as the head of the UFC the more it reflects negatively on everyone under him.
No one can take away from Dana all of the good things he has done for the sport except for Dana White. If he wants to continue to act like he can just say and do anything he pleases at all times he'll begin to do more damage that could in turn set the sport back once again. He's coming to a point where he's nearing his wish of making the sport of mixed martial arts and the brand of the UFC a household name and making it an acceptable competitor to the NFL, MLB, NHL and NBA. That progress can be stopped. If he can publicly go off on tirades such as this then one can only imagine the kind of things being said in private. On top of that, these tirades hurt the image of the UFC and they hurt the image of all of the fighting athletes, the mixed martial artists themselves, who by proxy may be painted as a lesser form of athlete simply because they are run by someone like White.
Honestly, I don't care whose feelings were hurt by Dana's words, because they're only words. That's not the issue for me in this story. The issue is Dana White getting away with bringing the sport down by being the man in the high ranking position spouting off things he should have no right spouting off. Even if what he was contending in the video had some merit, and even if Ms. Hunt's article was flawed or wrong, his point was negated by the manner in which he presented it. If he had a legitimate gripe with her article so much so that he felt this was in order, there are plenty of other ways he could have gotten that point across that would not have crossed this line. Instead, he opted to speak his mind to the world in the way only he can, and f*** if he didn't get a reaction. Perhaps it's time to rethink the video blogs, perhaps it's time to rethink the inside looks into Dana's personality from now on. Or perhaps it's time to start acting in the way you wish you and this sport to be treated, Mr. White, with professionalism and respect.
Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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