UFC President Dana White made a surprise appearance at the UFC Vegas 67 media day on Wednesday in “Sin City,” just a couple of days ahead of the “Strickland vs. Imavov” MMA event on ESPN+, scheduled for this Sat. night (Jan. 14, 2023) at APEX.
Not surprisingly, the media members in attendance were more interested in the fallout from White’s recent incident in Cabo, where TMZ cameras caught the UFC head honcho slapping his wife. White was quick to apologize for the “embarrassing” incident but doesn’t expect it to interfere with his daily duties.
Here’s the transcript from MMA reporter Aaron Bronsteter:
“I’m sure you guys have seen the TMZ video and seen my interview. It was obviously a horrible personal experience and there’s no excuses for it. It’s something that I’m going to have to deal with and live with for the rest of my life. One thing that I do want to clarify, that I didn’t talk about on TMZ, because I didn’t expect it and I didn’t see it coming are the people defending me. There’s no defense for this and people should not be defending me over this thing, no matter what.”
“All the criticism that I have received this week is 100 percent warranted and will receive in the future and you know me, especially when the people that I don’t like start coming after me, nobody fires back more than I do. Everybody has an opinion on this and they’re right to have their own opinions. I was very opinionated on this too and I still am. My reason for being here today is that I wanted you to focus on (the athletes) and not me.”
White was not without his share of high-profile supporters in the days that followed but radio silence from Endeavor, parent company of UFC, prompted calls for White’s removal from California Legislative Women’s Caucus, who lambasted Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel for his “piercing and troubling” silence.
That said, it doesn’t sound like White is expecting any disciplinary action.
“What should the repercussions be? You tell me. I take 30 days off? How does that hurt me? Me leaving hurts the company, hurts my employees, hurts the fighters. It doesn’t hurt me. I could have left in 2016. I’ve been against this, I’ve owned this. I’m telling you that I’m wrong, but listen, we’ve had plenty of discussions internally with Ari (Emanuel), ESPN, nobody’s happy about this, neither am I. But it happened and I have to deal with it.”
Not a great look ahead of the since-delayed Power Slap debut on TBS.
“Here’s my punishment: I have to walk around for however long I live… and this is how I’m labeled now. My other punishment is that a lot of people, whether it be media, fighters, friends, acquaintances who had respect for me, might not have respect for me now. There’s a lot of things that I’m going to have to deal with for the rest of my life that are way more of a punishment than, what I take a 30-day or 60-day absence, that’s not a punishment to me, the punishment is that I did it and now I have to deal with it.”
White has long championed his (somewhat arbitrary) stance on domestic violence since taking over as UFC President back in 2001. Some fighters under the UFC umbrella have supported a call for his removal, while others find it to be cannon fodder for their latest (and wholly idiotic) social media jokes.
“I know a lot of you, I don’t know what you do when you go home, I don’t know what you’re into. Nobody knows you better than your kids do. They know everything, so whatever perceptions people might have about you, nobody knows better than your kids. This is a personal family matter that played out in public and our biggest focus was our kids. You want to talk about people being disappointed? Who’s going to be more disappointed than your kids are and that’s what we’ve really been focused on.”
Endeavor continues to remain silent on the matter.