It’s been seven days since TMZ released the video of UFC president Dana White slapping his wife. During that time, UFC, it’s parent company Endeavor, and broadcast partner ESPN have combined to offer zero comments.
The silence of those parties shows that something has changed since 2014, when White spoke about domestic violence incidents inside the UFC and said, “Of course, the way we always react is morally first, then the business second.”
White made that comment after then-NFL player Ray Rice was shown on hotel security video hitting his then-fiancée, Janay Palmer. Somewhere between 2014 and 2023, the UFC and its stakeholders seem to have misplaced that moral compass.
White handled the aftermath of the video showing his wife and himself exchanging slaps as well as he could. Despite never directly acknowledging that he slapped his wife, White offered no excuses for his actions.
“I am literally making no excuses for this thing at all,” said White. “It’s never happened before. It’s the first time that it’s ever happened. People are gonna say what they’re gonna say. It just is what it is and whatever people do say, it’s deserved, I deserve it.”
The UFC has never followed White’s edict that its fighters — and I’m going to assume employees — “don’t bounce back from putting your hands on a woman,” so there was never a real chance that the UFC president would lose his job over the New Year’s Eve incident. However, that the UFC, Endeavor and ESPN couldn’t find a single reason to make any statement on the matter speaks volumes and shows a glaring indifference on the matter.
The UFC’s go-to in these situations is usually to offer a statement on how seriously it takes domestic violence and that it expects all athletes to adhere to the UFC Fighter Conduct Policy. The promotion usually follows that by saying the UFC will conduct an independent investigation into the matter. Sometimes, there is mention of a donation to a women’s charity.
When the UFC makes those claims, they often feel like they are made for the sake of public relations, but at least they can claim they did something when they offer those proclimations. The fact that the UFC, Endeavor and ESPN balked at taking even what should be considered the smallest steps toward acknowledging White’s actions is dumbfounding.
The lack of actions shows everyone that the UFC, Endeavor and ESPN have decided that business is far more important than morals in this case.