One of the lesser talked about topics created from the UFC 112 main event dance-off between Demian Maia and Anderson Silva has been the media's perception of Dana White's reaction to Silva's antics. White not only ranted to Anderson Silva's manager Ed Soares at the fifth round mark of the fight, but he also walked out on the main event, replied to angry fans on Twitter with his usual profanity, and made it clear at the post-fight presser that he was displeased.
Most of the fire from the event has revolved around the reasoning behind Anderson's lackluster performance, Judge Douglas Crosby's explanation of his scoring of the B.J. Penn-Frankie Edgar title bout, and the overall feel that the event was just bad. Of course, White's post-fight ranting has also taken some heat from more mainstream sources.
ESPN's Drew Sharp made an appearance on Jim Rome Is Burning to talk about White's reactions to the UFC 112 main event. Here's a paraphrased portion of that show from Michael David Smith over at MMAFighting.com:
"It's a sham," Sharp said of the UFC. "It's like WWF. It's becoming like that. White is becoming a Vince McMahon type or clone."
Jim Rome responded, correctly, that the comparison between the WWE and the UFC falls flat because the WWF is scripted and the UFC is a legitimate sport. If Vince McMahon says he's mad at a WWE wrestler, that's all part of an attempt to create drama. When White spoke said he was mad at Silva on Saturday, he was expressing real anger.
Sharp, however, said he thinks White is trying to make himself bigger than the UFC.
"In Dana White, though, you have a guy who's like Vince and figures that he's a bigger part of the show than the guys in the ring itself," Sharp said. "I don't think you can respect that as a sport."
It's amazing, isn't it? Because of a bad UFC 112 main event, an ESPN personality comes up with the brilliant tag-line that the UFC is the WWF, and Dana White is becoming a Vince McMahon clone. Personally, I'm surprised Rome didn't flashback to his "Chris" Everett days and truly blast this bozo.
Obviously, the major difference here is that MMA isn't scripted. Dana White is truly mad at Anderson Silva for his antics on Saturday night, but mainstream media and many other pundits not only see it as unprofessional -- they continue this mockery of any sports head who happens to show their fandom for the sport they manage. So, we see these pieces that resort to these absurd comparisons to fake, scripted sporting events.
Others believe that a "panic" was caused by White's reaction. MMAPayout.com writer Kelsey Philpott points out that sentiment in a piece:
Moreover, when White is visibly shaking during a post-fight press conference and ranting in post-fight interviews about Anderson Silva, it helps to induce the sort of panic amongst fans that really isn't necessary. Yes, the Silva fight sucked and the fans are disappointed, but it's not the end of the world - the message coming from the UFC needs to be one of reassurance, not panic.
It seems that these same reactions are written over and over again in regards to any sports figure head showing he's a fan as well as a manager or businessman. Sure, some of these rants are completely unprofessional in nature, but does media actually think they've caused a panic or made fans hate these people?
Sure, Dana White isn't loved by the entire mixed martial arts community. Many people find it offensive that he is the way he is, but there are droves of fans who love him because he's not only a successful businessman who has grown MMA to epic levels of interest -- but he's also a guy who shows that he's a fan just like everyone else.
The majority of sports fans want passionate, honest "fans" in the significant roles of power in a sports organization. It doesn't always work out well as a fan in such an important role may show some sort of bias, but there are plenty of proven bosses in professional sports that are outrageous, yet beloved. An implosion over how the main event panned out is probably not great for your public image, but fans normally identify with such antics. Inducing a panic amongst fans? I actually think many fans respect White even more for his reaction to Silva's performance.
Obviously, there are examples of outrageous and honest figureheads completely crushing their careers with blow-ups like this, but there are examples of managers who seem almost untouchable due to their status with fans. In this case, Dana White may have went a little overboard, but in general -- fans identify with his anger over the main event, and they'll probably love him more for the outburst.