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‘F—k that guy’ Dana White unloads on New York Times coverage of UFC COVID-19 safety protocols

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UFC president Dana White bashed the New York Times during his post-fight press conference at last night’s UFC Jacksonville.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began affecting the world of pro-sports UFC president Dana White has cut an increasingly angry figure when it comes to interactions with the media. Recently he has targeted, and blamed, the media for the disturbance to American sporting life and resorted to childish name calling as well.

White’s disdain for media coverage that is not glowing in its presentation of him or the UFC was on full display last night at his UFC Jacksonville post-fight press conference.

When asked about his feelings about recent New York Times coverage of the UFC, the longtime company president unleashed a diatribe — not against the contents of any articles — but against an unnamed reporter and their outlet.

“Fuck that guy,” seethed White. “Fuck that guy. You know what happened with that guy? That guy, who has never covered the sport ever before, was writing a story about endeavor and then the UFC was one of the endeavour, you know... and what do you think happened when this guy who, and this paper, who covered the UFC when they never covered it before? What do you think happened? The fucking story was huge. It did killer traffic. Now they’re writing stories, three a week, and their posting live results. I don’t give a shit what that guy thinks, what he has to say or what he writes. Good for him! He’s pulling good traffic.”

When asked a second time about his feelings over the coverage, White interrupted, “I don’t give a fuck.”

It’s unclear what specific articles White was being questioned about. It’s also unclear which specific journalist White decided to disparage. It’s possible White was referring to Kevin Draper, who wrote ‘U.F.C.’s Coronavirus Plan Is Careful. It’s Enforcement Has Been Spotty’ which was published by NYT on May 12th.

In that piece Draper reviews the UFC’s ‘Jacksonville Event Operations Plan’, which outlines the company’s safety measures designed to keep fighters and other individuals safe from COVID-19.

Draper points out that the UFC’s actions have not followed the protocols written in that document. For example, the document states that there would be no face-to-face in-Octagon interviews and that on-air talent would conduct interviews via headset while practicing physical distancing.

This has not happened at either of the UFC events in Jacksonville. At UFC 249 Joe Rogan interviewed fighters in the cage like he did at pre-coronavirus events. At last night’s event, Daniel Cormier did the same thing.

The operations manual also stated that ‘hand-shakes and other similar contact-based greetings’ would be prohibited. Footage from the events, weigh-ins and face-offs have shown that this rule has been broken many times.

If White is targeting Draper with his comments and claiming he “has never covered the sport before”, he’s wrong.

The only other NYT writers to pen pieces about MMA in May are Morgan Campbell and Joe DePaolo.

DePaolo has covered MMA for a number of years, as has Campbell. NYT has covered MMA since at least 2008.