Outside of coverage from media outlets, there hasn’t been much pushback from major platforms against UFC President Dana White following a physical altercation with his wife in December.
That is, until now.
In a letter released to Endeavor CEO Ari Emmanuel, the California Legislative Women’s Caucus has called for the “immediate removal” of White as the President of the UFC.
The letter comes after a video of White slapping his wife. Both were involved in the situation.
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What happened between Dana White and his wife?
White and his wife, Anne, were in a V.I.P. section in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico on New Year’s. A video recently surfaced, via TMZ. White was talking to what looked like a distressed Anne. He grabbed her wrists, she slapped him in the face, and then White slapped her back. An argument between them continued while others attempted to resolve the situation.
White stated to TMZ there was a lot of alcohol involved and that he doesn’t remember much from that night. White and his wife apologized to one another and their kids.
“I’m one of the guys, 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 on TMZ talking about it,” White stated. “My wife and I have been married for almost 30 years. We’ve known each other since we were 12 years old. We’ve obviously been through some s— together. We’ve got three kids, and this is one of those situations that’s horrible. I’m embarrassed, but it’s also one of those situations that, right now, we’re more concerned about our kids.
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“We have three kids, and, obviously, since the video popped up, we’ve shown the kids the video. We’re more focused on our family right now. People are going to have opinions on this, and most of the people’s opinions would be right, especially in my case. You don’t put your hands on a woman ever. My wife and I love each other. We’ve been together for a very long time. We’ve known each other since we were very little, and this is just one of those unfortunate situations.”
What did the California Legislative Women’s Caucus say about Dana White?
The letter described the goal of the Caucus: committing to create better lives for women and girls. It brought up that White is against domestic violence and that Endeavor and the UFC share a commitment to safety, respect, and accountability.
The last point was a major factor in the letter.
“In the days since the video was released, you have remained silent,” the letter stated. “Your continued silence speaks volumes. As you once wrote: “Silence and inaction are not an option.” We agree — and we are urging you to take immediate action. Like you, we are people who live by our values. We, too, are people of action. We are allies against violence, advocates for women, and we are parents like yourself. This is why it is clear to us: we are calling for the immediate removal of Mr. White as President of the U.F.C. Every day that Mr. White’s actions go unaccounted for, your silence becomes more piercing and troubling.”
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The letter pointed out that “The eyes of the world are on him (White) and on Endeavor.” That is, if nothing is done about White.
Does Dana White own the UFC?
Despite having the name “President” to his name, White does not own the UFC.
Founded in 1993, White became President of the UFC in 2001. Zuffa, the parent company of the UFC in 2001, was headed by Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta. In 2016, the Fertitta brothers sold the UFC to WME-IMG.
Following the sale, WME-IMG merged with Endeavor, founded in 2009. The company currently owns the UFC. Ari Emanuel is the CEO.
What will happen to Dana White?
Dana White spoke to the media on January 11 to discuss what happened. Endeavor, ESPN, and Disney have kept relatively quiet since the video. The stock of Endeavor has taken a hit in the market. White did state he had internal conversations with Endeavor and ESPN, but no “punishments” will be handed down.
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“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,” White stated.
“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… 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.”
White is still promoting UFC events and the Power Slap League. The Power Slap League was supposed to make its TBS debut on January 11 following AEW Dynamite. TBS and Warner Media have yet to comment on the matter and have opted to move the shows debut to January 18. As of now, the show will still go on as planned.
In the past, White spoke up about domestic violence, with a quotable line from 2014 resurfacing:
“There’s one thing that you never bounce back from and that’s putting your hands on a woman. Been that way in the UFC since we started here. You don’t bounce back from putting your hands on a woman.”
White stated that there is no defense for what he did and that people shouldn’t defend him, from fighters to anyone else.
As of now, there is nothing planned for White. It is business as usual. But for how long?