Dana White dismisses any punishment for physical abuse by wife on New Year’s Eve

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In an effort to focus on his fighters heading into the first UFC fight card of 2023 this weekend, fight chairman Dana White spoke to reporters at Wednesday Fight’s media day Night UFC in Las Vegas after a New Year’s Eve domestic dispute that was caught on camera. .

White, 53, who had previously accepted the blame in an interview with TMZ last week when a video was released of him and his wife of 27 years, Anna, slap trade at a nightclub in Mexicohas ended the widely criticized silence from UFC, parent company Endeavor and broadcast partner ESPN following the incident.

“There are no excuses for it and it’s something I’ll have to deal with and live with for the rest of my life,” White said. “One thing I want to do is clarification in this thing that I didn’t talk about on TMZ, because I didn’t expect it or see it coming, it’s the people who protect me.

“There’s never been an apology. There’s no defense for this and people shouldn’t be defending me about this, no matter what. All the criticism I’ve received this week is 100 % guaranteed, and will receive in the future.”

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White fielded nearly 14 minutes of questions with the MMA media, just days out from Saturday’s card at the UFC Apex, featuring heavyweights Nassourdine Ilavov and Sean Strickland, who will fight at 205 pounds. Most of the discussion, however, focused on whether White was expected to have any victories, including those of the self-inflicted variety.

“[If] I’m taking 30 days off, how does that hurt me?” White said. “I’m leaving hurting the company, hurting my employees and hurting the fighters. It doesn’t hurt me, I could be gone [when UFC was sold] in 2016. Do I need to meditate? No, I don’t need to meditate.

“I’ve been against this, I’ve had this. I’m telling you I’m wrong. But listen, we’ve had enough conversations internally — from [Endeavor CEO] Ari [Emmanuel], ESPN — nobody is happy. Not me at all. But it happened and I have to deal with it.”

White, humble in tone and demeanor, argued that no punishment for him is punishment enough.

“You want to know my punishment? This is my punishment: I have to walk around for the rest of my life … and this is what I’m called right now,” said White. “My other punishment is that I’m sure there are a lot of people — whether it’s the media, friends, acquaintances — who respected me, maybe they didn’t respect me. I have a lot of things going on. having to deal with the rest of my life which is much more than a punishment.

“The punishment is that I did it and now I have to deal with it.”

Endeavor, which bought UFC for more than $4 billion from Zuffa in 2016, chose not to comment at all. Meanwhile, White received constant support across social media from legions of fans, fighters and even some members of the media, all of whom White spoke out against several times on Wednesday, reiterating that what he did is not worthy of excuses, no matter what the spouse was. the other struck first.

“There’s only one side to this, it’s my side,” White said. “There is no reason or excuse for what happened on New Year’s Eve to happen, period.”

Neither White nor his wife faced any legal charges as a result of the incident and both apologized to each other, according to White. He also revealed their decision to stay together, turning their focus to mending their family, which includes three teenage children.

“My kids know who I am and they definitely know who their mother is and that’s what’s important to us,” White said. “This is a personal family issue that was playing a- out in public and our children are the biggest focus. You talk about being disappointed, who will be more disappointed than your children in this situation?”

The only fallout from the video came from TBS, which signed an air deal for White’s upstart Power Slap league, and the network’s decision to delay the launch of the slap fight promotion by one week until January 18th, discussed White in brief.

“There’s no good or bad time for what I’ve done,” White said. “There’s an irony, it’s very ironic [launching a slap-fighting league after a domestic violence incident]. But there is no good or bad time for what I did on New Year’s Eve.”

The media scrutiny ended with White asking if the UFC would change the way it handles any future incidents involving fighters or staff accused of violence home, especially after the promotion’s decision not to cancel White.

“It all depends on different circumstances but hopefully everyone can see what’s going on with me and hopefully this doesn’t happen,” White said. “At the end of the day, we’re all human and we all make mistakes. You can only try to recover from the mistakes you make in life. I don’t know. I’m sure he will. We have a lot of people around here who make a lot of mistakes and I’m one of them.”

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