Dana White is taking the blame after slapping his wife on New Year’s Eve. However, the UFC president doesn’t think formal punishment is necessary.
During an impromptu press conference Wednesday in Las Vegas, White – who was caught on camera striking his wife, Anne, at a nightclub in Mexico – said he’s already facing enough consequences.
“What should the repercussions be?” White said. “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’ve left in 2016. … Do I need to reflect? No, I don’t need to reflect.”
He added: “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 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’s 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.”
White said he’s had internal discussions with Ari Emanuel, the CEO of UFC parent company Endeavor, and UFC broadcast partner ESPN about the physical altercation with his wife. He said “nobody’s happy about this” but “it happened and I have to deal with it.” Both Endeavor and ESPN have declined to publicly comment on White’s actions.
The 53-year-old said he had never put his hands on a woman before the altercation with his wife. He asked people who are defending him to stop and said he’s responsible for what happened.
“I said it before, and now I’m saying it after I’ve done it: You don’t ever do it,” White said. “Don’t defend me. Don’t anybody defend me. There’s no reason to even try to defend me.”
After NFL running back Ray Rice was arrested for assaulting his fiancee in 2014, White famously said, “You don’t bounce back from putting your hands on a woman.” He said Wednesday he still believes that to be true, reiterating that he’ll carry a label with him for the rest of his life.
When asked whether the UFC will change how it deals with domestic violence, White said any future incidents involving fighters will likely be handled on a “case-by-case basis.”
“Hopefully everybody’s seen what’s going on with me, and hopefully this never happens,” White said. “But at the end of the day, we’re all human beings, we all make mistakes, and all you can do is try to recover from the mistakes that you make in life. … We have a lot of people around here that make a lot of mistakes, and I’m one of them.”
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