The executive blasted critics who said Cain Velasquez's Mexican heritage was exploited in the buildup to this past weekend's UFC 121 event.
"What we do is we take a storyline in what a guy's life is," White said.
Critics said the portrait wrongfully played on nationalistic pride, but White believes the marketing was an accurate reflection of Velasquez's character.
"There were some idiots out there that said, 'They have to play the Mexican thing with him because that's all they've got,'" White said. "'This guy's got nothing else and whatever.'
"If one of you idiots here said that, you're a [expletive] moron, No. 1. But No. 2, the guy's Mexican. His parents came here from Mexico (and) came over the border. ... Do you think we had him tattoo 'Brown Pride' on his chest? What the [expletive]?"
A couple of items to note. First, Velasquez's heritage was not the only angle the UFC had to pitch the fight, but it was clearly the predominant and most important insofar as pushing Velasquez is concerned. Second, technically speaking, Velasquez is American.
But that's sort of White's point, isn't it? White is using the term "Mexican" loosely or as a vague generality that is a descriptor of a more complex background. He isn't trying to dredge up a debate about what parameters neatly define identity. He's working with the premise that our identities can often be fluid, firmly one thing yet very easily another.
As I said last night on air, I won't give the UFC points for creativity in pushing Velasquez the way they did. Some suggest it was AKA trainer Javier Mendez's strategy to push Velasquez in this way to begin with. But I will give the UFC credit for being as opportunistic as the moment demanded. They saw an opening and they took it. That's where the UFC's credit lies.
Trying to compartmentalize Velasquez as either This or That undermines the pragmatic effort by the UFC to engage new audiences. Did the UFC stretch the truth about who Velasquez is or how he would even self identify? Probably, but even if that's true, who cares? The point is that Velasquez exists in two communities, one very much committed to MMA, the other not. It turns out his identity and achievements might be enough to make inroads into the latter. The UFC's investment appears to be paying off. That's a good thing.