Two days ago, Forrest Griffin hit up twitter with a joke of "Rape is the new missionary." It led to a back and forth with fans who got offended and Forrest telling those fans he didn't care if it was offensive until a woman stated that she was a rape victim and that it was hurtful. At that point Forrest apologized to that woman and went silent on Twitter.
I ran a story on the situation and aside from my personal feelings that Forrest Griffin should have been punished, the larger point for the promotion was the timing of it all, with the UFC just days from their debut on Fox this is no time for a scandal that makes the promotion look bad.
Last night as Penn State fired Joe Paterno and one of the biggest stories in not just sports media, but all media, blew up with PSU students flipping news vans and gathering in the streets, this is what people saw at the top of Google if they searched for "Penn State Rape":
Dana White was asked by the situation yesterday by Mauro Ranallo and gave a response on what he feels happened:
From the video:
"It wasn't a joke. I'm glad you asked me that question. What happened was, I contacted Forrest and Forrest is a mess now about this whole thing. Believe me, take it from a guy who has been in this situation. What happened was, Forrest Griffin said he woke up that morning and turned on his television and the whole thing about Paterno and what's going on over there at Penn State, he said he literally switched the channel to another channel and they were talking about a woman who had been raped. The third channel he went to was another story about rape. His thing was that 'rape is the new missionary,' like it's vanila like it's normal, when you change the channel it's on every channel.
...you don't go out on Twitter where you can only do so many characters and say something like that. Then once everyone started attacking him, he started attacking back on Twitter. It's one of those situations. Let me tell you what man, I'm the first guy who always says 'people will make mistakes' and this and that will happen. Forrest Griffin is a very, very good human being."
"No, in no way shape or form has Fox ever said you have to change this, you have to change that. It hasn't been that type of relationship. Do we need to be more careful? Yes we do. Choosing Twitter as a platform to say something in three words that can be completely misunderstood the way that it was. I mean, if you look at it for what it was. When he says, when he says 'Rape is the new missionary' that doesn't even make sense. It doesn't make sense. But when I explained it to you and what it meant you're like 'okay, I get it now, it makes sense.' Yeah, we need to be more careful now with the decisions we make and some of the things that we say. Am I gonna change? No I'm not gonna change.
...The guys at Fox know what they got, they know what they got into with the sport. The way that we are here? There's nothing wrong with the culture of this sport."
There is a PR friendly story in the middle about Forrest volunteering at a charity to show what a good guy he is. This ignores several previous jokes on Forrest's twitter. But that's neither here nor there. Same with the idea that "rape is the new missionary" makes no sense as a joke, when it makes total sense.
This is honestly the first time I've ever heard Dana White say that there is a point where the promotion has to be more careful and understanding that using a platform that limits you to 140 characters means that usage of it demands a bit of thought.
I guess that's something like progress.