“There’s one thing you never back down from, and that’s putting your hands on a woman,” UFC president Dana White, who has helmed the MMA promoter since 2001, said back in 2014. “It’s been a long time in the UFC since we started here. You don’t shy away from a woman’s hand.”
Unless of course you are White, who has been the face of the UFC for more than two decades and looks set to continue in that role even after a physical altercation with his wife, Anne, at a New Year’s party. in Mexico was captured on camera and shared by TMZ. In the video, White grabbed Anne’s hand, she then slapped him, and he then slapped her twice.
Response from UFC owner BusinessThe UFC itself and its promoter company partners, all of which are considered to have the power to press for some sort of discipline if not ouster White, have been deafening silence.
It is not known if any internal judgments were made or even discussed between the parties, and no one is talking. Endeavor, which owns 100% of the UFC in 2021, declined to comment, as did the UFC. None of the UFC’s biggest sponsors — including DraftKings, Crypto.com, Timex, Monster Energy and Modelo, among others — responded to requests for comment.
In the statement to sports, a spokesperson for ESPN, which has been criticized for its soft coverage of the altercation-UFC is one of the network’s main partners for the ESPN streaming offering +- gave the only public statement so far: “We have covered the story on our platform. since it broke and will continue to do so. “
White’s apparent immunity likely stems from his longevity and leading roles inside and outside the UFC, a unique position in the sport for MMA promoters. “People who can’t name a single UFC fighter can name Dana White,” sports consultant Marc Ganis, co-founder and managing director of Sportscorp Ltd., said. “UFC fighters come and go. It’s a very difficult sport to stay in for so many years, but Dana White is here.
Where players like Tom Brady are the public face of leagues like the NFL, and commissioner Roger Goodell represents the business behind it, White fulfills both functions for the UFC. As a result, they look like at persona attached to the UFC and pivotal to its success, which is significant. The UFC is one of Endeavor’s biggest profit-makers, playing a key role in the economic value of the sports and entertainment giant.
Via TMZ, White apologized, making it the only voice to speak out about his actions.
“This is where the statement should come from him,” Ganis said. “And he issued that statement very quickly.”
If Endeavor shares have continued to slide after the release of the video, as it did last Tuesday, the incident may carry a different weight for the UFC owner. But stocks have largely recovered.
It could be that Endeavor and other UFC stakeholders are waiting for additional information or hoping for a media firestorm and backlash to happen. White may take a less visible role in the short term or agree to remedial measures designed to rebuild his public image, such as seeking counseling, but even his temporary absence could hurt the UFC’s business. The accident ultimately shielded him from a more severe punishment.
“If there is a lot of emphasis on individual people, instead of processes or organizations, that is a risk,” Ganis said. “Whether it’s in politics or the CEO of a company or sports. [White’s] The persona and promotion of the UFC is the most important thing for the sport next to Joe Rogan.