Dana white appeared on Mauro Ranallo’s radio show this Monday and gave his official response to some questionable comments made by Michael Bisping, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, and himself. It reads like Franz Kafka with a touch of Leo Tolstoy, and it’s classic Dana White: “It is what it is. (P.S. Shut up, you fucking morons.)” FightOpinion has the transcript of the interview:
MAURO RANALLO: We’ve heard this last week Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira say some things that may be construed as homophobic, Michael Bisping on Twitter saying what Mayhem Miller did to his sister, used the term gay. You, yourself, has been put to task in the past. Are we going to see a changing of the culture, Dana, or what we see is what we get with the UFC?”
DANA WHITE: “Yeah, listen, we’re in the fight business. Obviously… the last thing we want to do and even the stuff that’s happened with me, and really in the last 10 years there’s been one thing that I’ve regretted and apologized for and, uh, it was taken out of context. It wasn’t a homophobic slur but… this is the fight business, man.”
MAURO RANALLO: “Absolutely.”
DANA WHITE: “I think that people need to stop taking themselves so seriously and… it is what it is. I mean, look at Fox as a network. Fox is an edgy guy’s network. Family Guy, exactly, Family Guy and if you look at the programming on FX, their stuff is edgy. It is what it is, you know… some people are going to get offended and some people are going… if you don’t like it, don’t watch it. Guess what? We live in a day and age where there’s 390,000 channels. You don’t like what we got on? Change the channel and watch something else.
It’s definitely true that the UFC brass gives fighters a relatively free reign to say things that would come back to bite the average professional athlete in the ass, like when Chael Sonnen called Wanderlei Silva a blowgunning jungle-dweller, or when Tito Ortiz called Rashad Evans a “nappy-headed ho”. but these comments must be taken with a grain of salt, as the UFC has sometimes made fighters apologize when they say things that could hurt the UFC. This was definitely the case when an apology was promptly issued after Frank Mir said he literally wanted to kill Brock Lesnar in the Octagon, and it seems likely that UFC intervention was behind Tito Ortiz’s apology for the remark that Matt Hamill “is deaf, so he has a soft head”. No one really knows whether UFC execs also encouraged Joe Rogan to make his half-hearted but whole-assed not-really apology for calling blogger Maggie Hendricks “cunty”, but they certainly ‘addressed’ it with him.
The bottom line is, when Dana makes an apology video and stumbles into saying that the Loretta Hunt debacle was actually “taken out of context”, it’s safe to say that he knows that he fucked up and will avoid repeating his mistake in the future. I mean, in what “context” should we be trying to see comments like “Whoever gave you that quote is a pussy and a faggot and a fucking liar,” “Everything that comes out of your mouth is fucking stupid,” and of course the ever-popular “You fucking dumb bitch… Fuck you, Loretta Hunt!”?
Since the Loretta Hunt incident, Dana has definitely toned things down a tad. Perhaps that’s why, when StrikeForce became poised to pose a major threat to the UFC, Dana did things like calling StrikeForce “StrikeFarce” instead of unleashing a tirade of more extreme nastiness. But with these minor adjustments, some political incorrectness will probably continue to be par for the course for the UFC in the future. FightOpinion’s Zach Arnold has an excellent point about all of this: The UFC just signed a deal worth $700 million of Rupert Murdoch’s money, and that still won’t be their primary revenue stream, so why would they change course now?
When Fox Sports announced their deal with UFC at the Los Angeles press conference, several MMA writers (including Tomas Rios) said that being aligned with Fox would force UFC to up the professionalism now that they are dealing with network television. I, of course, said no way in hell because if Dana White & Lorenzo Fertitta have been able to secure a $100 million USD/year deal via Ari Emanuel without having to change their personal & professional attitudes, why would they change their behavior now?
With the minor caveat that the UFC does have SOME self-monitoring in place, that seems to be a correct assessment. Money talks, and the UFC is slated to bring advertisers hungry for that 18-34-year-old male demo to Fox irrespective of the “homophobic, bone-snapping asshole” factor. Here here, and fuck you, morons!