Las Vegas, NV — Ahead of UFC Vegas 67, embattled UFC President Dana White addressed the media, broaching the subject of a New Year’s Eve domestic violence incident rather than waiting for the press to bring it up.
In doing so, he made clear that he does not want his fighters defending him after he was caught on video twice slapping wife Anne, after she had slapped him during an argument.
“It was obviously a horrible personal experience. There’s no excuses for it,” White told media outlets including Cageside Press. “Something that I’m going to have to deal with and live with for the rest of my life.”
“One thing that I do want to clarify about this thing that I didn’t talk about on TMZ because I didn’t expect it and didn’t see it coming is the people that are defending me,” White added. “There’s never an excuse. I’m sure you guys have read some of the same stuff that I’ve seen.”
Numerous UFC fighters have rather vocally defended White’s actions, pointing out that Anne White got physical first. Those include upcoming UFC 283 headliner Jamahal Hill.
If you don’t want to get hit don’t hit nobody period!!!#simple
— Jamahal Hill (@JamahalH) January 3, 2023
Without mentioning any fighter in particular, White went on to say that “there’s no defense for this. People should not be defending me for this thing, no matter what. All the criticism I have received this week is 100% warranted, and will receive in the future. And you know me better than anybody. If especially the people that I don’t like start coming after me, nobody fires back more than I do. Whatever anybody has to say – everybody has an opinion on this, and they’re right to have their own opinions. I was very opinionated on this, and I still am.”
White later reiterated that sentiment.
“I’ve said it before, and now I’m saying it after I’ve done it. You don’t ever do it. Don’t defend me. Don’t anybody defend me. There’s no reason to even try to defend me. And I don’t want any of our fighters in this position where they feel like they have to, unless they want to come out and say ‘he’s an asshole.’ Whatever their feelings our about this. I’m all about free speech.”
On the subject of punishment — many have called for White to either be suspended or removed from his position with the UFC entirely, the longtime exec questioned what would be suitable.
“What should the repercussions be? I take thirty days off? How does that hurt me?” White asked, adding that should he leave, it hurts the company itself. “Me leaving hurts the company. Hurts my employees, hurts the fighters. It doesn’t hurt me. I could have left in 2016. I don’t know. Do I need to reflect? No, I don’t need to reflect. The next morning when I woke up— know what I mean? I’ve been against this, I’ve owned this, I’m telling you that I’m wrong.”
“We’ve had plenty of discussions internally. With Ari [Emmanuel], ESPN— nobody’s happy. Nobody’s happy about this. But it happened. And I’ve got to deal with it.”
Neither Ari Emmanuel or Endeavor, parent company of the UFC, have spoken publicly on the matter.
“Here’s my punishment. I’ve got to walk around for however long I live — is it 10.4 years or another 25 years? — and this is how I’m labelled 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,” White continued. “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. The punishment is that I did it, and I have to deal with it.”
As he did in his TMZ interview, White also suggested that he and wife Anne’s main concern was their children — who, he added, know him better than anyone. “This is a personal family matter that played out in public, and our biggest focus is our kids.”
Watch Dana White’s full UFC Vegas 67 media day appearance above.