By Esha Bagora
On Jan. 2, tabloid news channel TMZ posted a video showing Ultimate Fighting Champion (UFC) President Dana White at a New Year’s Eve celebration slapping his wife multiple times before other attendees pulled them apart. Internet backlash began to generate against White, and White addressed the video with TMZ the next day, saying, “You’ve heard me say for years, ‘There’s never ever an excuse for a guy to put his hands on a woman,’ and now here I am [..] talking about it.”
Anne White, Dana White’s wife, told TMZ that “Dana and I have been married for almost 30 years. To say this is out of character for him is an understatement — nothing like this has ever happened before. Unfortunately, we were both drinking too much on New Year’s Eve and things got out of control, on both sides. We’ve talked this through as a family and apologized to each other. I just hope people will respect our privacy for the sake of our kids.” Both Dana and Anne White have maintained that they want to keep the incident private and handle it away from the public eye.
At UFC Vegas on Jan. 11, when asked if he deserves punishment from the UFC, White answered, “What should the repercussions be? Me leaving hurts the company, hurts my employees, hurts the fighters. It doesn’t hurt me. I don’t need to reflect. […] I’ve been against this. I’ve owned this. I’m telling you that I was wrong.” White continued to elaborate on how his true punishment was the respect he will lose from his colleagues, peers, and other fighters.
UFC did not address the video in any form of a public statement. The California Legislative Women’s Caucus sent a letter to Ari Emmaunel, the CEO of Endeavor —the company that owns UFC — asking them to fine White for his actions. The letter was signed by California Senator Nancy Skinner and California State Representative Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, but neither Emmanaunel, Endeavor, UFC, nor D. White has addressed it. Former UFC employees have spoken out, citing D.White’s power and influence preventing him from dealing with the repercussions of his actions. One former employee told BJPenn that, “Endeavor thinks that there’s nobody but Dana who can run UFC. Dana is that powerful.”
- White made a name for himself in the boxing industry by becoming a boxing manager while running a boxing-exercise gym . His most notable trainees have been Tito Ortiz, the ninth UFC Hall of Fame inductee, and Chuck Lidell, a fighter credited with making boxing a mainstream sport. In 2001, Lorenzo Fertitta, White’s childhood friend, appointed White as president of UFC. Since then, UFC has grown into a multi-million dollar boxing ring.
(Sources: TMZ, ESPN, BJPenn)