UFC President Dana White Defends Michael Vick

The man believes in second chances:

"I hope Michael Vick wins the Super Bowl, makes $3 billion and is the greatest comeback story in the history of sports, man," White said. "When are they going to stop crucifying this [expletive] guy?

"This guy went to jail, OK? He went to jail. He lost all his money. What he did was terrible. The whole dog thing was terrible, but do you want to talk about a guy who has paid his [expletive] dues? Then he comes back and the NFL puts a suspension on him, too, after he gets out of jail.

"I think the guy has taken it on the chin like a man. You haven’t seen him bitch about it. … He walks out of bankruptcy court this morning, because he has to pay creditors back $20 [expletive] million and he walks out smiling and he’s going to play tonight."

...

"He’s more than paid his dues," White said. "There’s some football player who just killed somebody drinking and driving. He got 28 [expletive] days. He killed a human being. He got 28 days and the league suspended him for a year. What the [expletive]? Are you kidding me? Pretty crazy."

...

"In regulated sports, or in society, you have to pay your dues," White said. "You get in trouble, whatever society says you have to do, you have to do. Once you have paid that debt to society, leave me the [expletive] alone. Let me get back and do my thing. I have never seen anything as cruel."

Everyone's got their opinions on Vick, but the takeaway here is what White would do were one of his fighters placed in a similar position to Vick. Provided they served their time for their crime and still had some ability to compete (as well as being marketable), it appears White would welcome them back to the UFC with open arms.

For a charge as repugnant as dog fighting, interstate gambling and vicious cruelty to animals, one wonders if that would affect MMA's image within more confined elements of the mainstream sporting community. Then again, the real test for the UFC would be for them to successfully use their clout and PR ability to rehabilitate a fighter's image. Sure, they did it to some extent with Rampage last year, but that situation is the parking ticket to Vick's high speed chase. When the situation gets more notably ugly and high profile, it's not clear if the UFC has the capacity to draw leniency and forgiveness for a tarnished fighter in a sport already looking for some measure of second chances itself.

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