UFC president Dana White addressed the MMA media for the first time since his interview with TMZ when he apologized for getting into an intoxicated physical altercation with his wife on New Year’s Eve.
Along with the interview, TMZ released video footage of White and his wife, Anne, at a night club in Mexico. The video shows the two engaging in an apparent argument before Anne slaps Dana and the UFC president retaliates by slapping her back. White called his actions inexcusable and the incident “horrible.” In a statement to TMZ, Anne said the physical altercation was an “isolated” incident.
The altercation happened during the UFC’s one-month-long hiatus. And now that the promotion is back this Saturday for its first event of the year — UFC Fight Night: Strickland vs. Imamov —White took time to speak on Wednesday with media members. And specifically, White came out to address the elephant in the room.
Like his interview with TMZ, White didn’t shy away from his wrongdoing. He said that all of the criticism he’s received online has been “100 percent warranted” and that he would have to live with the consequence of his actions “for the rest of” his “life.”
White Told His Supporters to Stop Defending Him
Media days are typically hosted on the Wednesday before an event, and they’re meant for fighters to sit in front of media members one at a time to answer questions for around 10 to 15 minutes. White usually doesn’t take part in media day, but he chose to come out to get some things off his chest and to ask reporters to focus on the event’s fighters.
And specifically, he wanted to call on his supporters to stop defending him.
“One thing that I do want to clarify in this thing that I didn’t talk about on TMZ because I didn’t expect it, and I didn’t see it coming, is the people that are defending me,” White said. “There’s never an excuse, I’m sure you guys have read some of the same stuff that I’ve seen. 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.
“Everyone has an opinion on this, and they’re right to have their own opinion,” he continued. “I was very opinionated on this, too. And I still am. It’s crazy that I’m sitting here even having this conversation with you guys.”
Names like upcoming light heavyweight title challenger Jamahal Hill have defended White, tweeting: “If you don’t want to get hit don’t hit nobody period!!!
White Said Being ‘Labeled’ Is a Repercussion He’ll Face for the Rest of His Life
White was asked if he’d face any consequences for his actions, like going on suspension. “What should the repercussions be?” White asked. “I take 30 days off? How does that hurt me?”
“Me leaving hurts the company, hurts my employees, hurts the fighters,” he continued. “It doesn’t hurt me. I could have left in 2016, you know what I mean? Do I need to reflect? No, I don’t need to reflect. The next morning when I woke up … I’ve been against this, I’ve owned this. I’m telling you that I’m wrong.”
White said that he and other executives have had “plenty of discussions internally”
“And what is my punishment?” White said. “Here’s my punishment: I’ve got to walk around for however long I live … and this is how I’m labeled now. My other punishment is that I’m sure a lot of people, whether it be media, fighters, friends, acquaintances, who had respect for me might not have respect for me now.
“There are 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, 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.”