Retired UFC heavyweight fighter Brendan Schaub has recently been throwing shots at UFC president Dana White. One of the issues he brought up was how the ever-brash and outspoken company executive is “trying to lead by fear” by talking down to other fighters who were not able to perform based on what is expected of them.
Former UFC lightweight Josh Thomson tends to agree. In a recent episode of his own Sammy and the Punk podcast, the 39-year-old Bellator fighter also recognized how the power of White’s words can affect athletes, especially the younger ones.
“Here’s the thing, is he can hype you up in one moment for whatever fight it is you’re having, then if you have a bad performance, he can talk you down,” Thomson said of White. “He could just destroy you and say all this sh-t about you. Because it doesn’t really make a difference because then, the next guy who fights could end up winning. He could build that guy up to be a star, and then that person will like him.”
“Not only are you crushing him when he’s down, if he loses one or two more, you guys cut him and he’s gone and we never hear from him again,” he added. “And then when you leave, you’re just a bitter old fighter, or you’re just a bitter fighter that is upset that you lost and you got cut. When in reality, it could’ve been something that Dana could have probably propped him up and said ‘Look, good fight, tough fight, I’m sure he’s a tough guy, he’ll be back.’
“But we’ve never heard things like that come out of his mouth, and that could change a young athlete’s career.”
What has been deemed as unfair treatment of UFC fighters in particular has led to the possibility of the formation of a fighters’ union. While there already are initiatives such as Project Spearhead, Thomson says there likely won’t be a successful one for those in the UFC roster.
“I don’t see any way that there’s gonna ever be a fighter’s union, because that fighter now that (White) is talking about, he’s on Cloud 9,” Thomson explained. “He’s the one that is like ‘OK, now I’m in the good graces of Dana White, and I’ma do whatever it is to support this company.’ Whereas the younger guy, whoever he was hyping before is now no longer hyped, that person’s like ‘Man, how do I get back in the good graces?’ That’s all he’s thinking.”