Yesterday I posted the video featuring Dana White’s hate speech-laced attack against Sherdog/ESPN MMA writer Loretta Hunt. In my 16 years in mainstream sports media, I have never seen anything as ugly as that.
(ESPN/SHERDOG MMA Page today. Where’s the White story?)
But almost as ugly has been the media’s non-reaction. White, after offering a flaccid apology, has been given a pass by everyone who can initiate public opinion, including ESPN.
Yes, there has been some small pockets of outrage, leading to a predictably backhanded apology by White. But there is absolutely no one of import anywhere really going after UFC parent company Zuffa, demanding that action be taken against White.
White wants you to think that UFC now is a legitimate sport. And all the main sports media outlets, like ESPN, do indeed treat it as such. So with that in mind, how can White get away with a rant that was not only offensive, but attacked gays and a female writer who provides content for ESPN?
Can you imagine the heads of other legitimate sports getting away with what White did? Bud Selig? Roger Goodell? What would happen to them if they let one f-bomb go, forget the five minute slice on insanity that White gave us.
And what about all the sponsors of UFC? Where are they? Does Bud Light want to be associated with a sport that has a hatemonger as its President?
Perhaps the biggest outrage is that White told ESPN.com that while he regretted the anti-gay slur in his comments, he didn’t regret an attack on Hunt that included him calling her a “dumb bitch.”
White did not apologize to Hunt, a longtime MMA reporter. In Hunt’s story that infuriated White, she wrote that Zuffa, the company that owns and operates promotions for the UFC and WEC, notified some fighter representatives that they will no longer receive credentials to sit with their clients backstage on fight night. White denied any changes.
“I went on the attack and I ended up attacking someone I didn’t mean to,” White said. “I absolutely, positively meant to attack the reporter, Loretta Hunt from Sherdog. Absolutely.”
And what about this comment from White to ESPN.com: “You know what? The thing that sucks is that video rant, the feedback I got was not negative. It was overwhelmingly positive from our fans. It was, ‘Yeah, you go, Dana. You’re the man.’”
Nice backhand swipe by White to those who held him accountable for his comments. What he failed to realize though with that pathetic, self-serving statement was he just made his *sport* look that much worse.
If you were Anheuser-Busch, would you want to be associated with a sport where an overwhelming percentage of fans think that what White said was OK?
Apparently the answer is a resounding yes.
Once again, I ask. If UFC is truly a legitimate sport, like MLB, NFL, NHL and NASCAR, should White be allowed to keep his job after making those comments?