When it came to the subject of Shinya Aoki’s bad-boy turn, however, White was reluctant to issue condemnation.
Aoki drew tremendous criticism at Dynamite!! 2009 when he broke Sengoku lightweight champion Mizuto Hirota’s arm and flipped him off as he writhed in pain.
White said the behavior was part of the fight business.
"This isn’t (expletive) baseball or one of these other sports," White said at a gathering of reporters after Saturday’s UFC 108. "Sometimes these guys hate each other. When you break a guy’s arm that you hate, flip him off, and let him know you’re glad you broke his arm, I guess, it happens sometimes.
"It’s not the greatest sportsmanship, but, ‘oh, that guy is terrible, he’s a horrible man and he shouldn’t fight anymore,’ this is the fight business, man. Crazy stuff happens in the fight business sometimes."
White's objection to Lesnar's UFC 100 post-fight freakout dealt generally with the champion's perfunctory attack on a blue chip sponsor of the organization. I suspect White could not care less that Lesnar scolded Mir as the Las Vegas native was helped to his feet after being TKO'd.
Post-fight professionalism will always be hard to come by. I find Aoki's behavior to be utterly reprehensible, but the solution is not so obvious. Emotions run high in combat sports. Trying to take the punitive route by imposing fines on professional athletes already making (generally speaking) far less than their professional athlete peers seems too much. Telling a fighter they have to sit out of competition will only make rival promotions who won't demand professionalism appear even more appealing.
And how does one define what is and isn't acceptable? BJ Penn doesn't gloat about badly hurting his opponents in post-fight celebration, but he will often lick their blood. I'm not certain that isn't equally unsavory and unprofessional.
Overtime, one hopes the UFC and other fight organizations will be able to foster a culture of professionalism and respect. For now, however, fan outrage and media firestorms are the only pushback these fighters are likely to receive.