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Stephen A. Smith: Dana White should be punished the same way he’s punished others

The ESPN pundit spoke about Dana White slapping his wife on First Take.

Stephen A. Smith in attendance at UFC Fight Night: VanZant vs. Ostovich in 2019.
Stephen A. Smith in attendance at UFC Fight Night: VanZant vs. Ostovich in 2019.
Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Dana White, President and CEO of the UFC and Dana White’s Power Slap League, was caught on camera slapping his wife in the face during a New Year’s Eve event at a nightclub in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

That footage was circulated by TMZ and paired with a video from White himself, where he admitted hitting his wife and announced that there are no excuses for his actions.

TMZ also ran a statement from White’s wife, in which she cited alcohol as the reason behind the incident.

The UFC’s broadcast partner ESPN has been mostly silent regarding this issue, directing Bloody Elbow’s own Trent Reinsmith to the UFC for comment. The UFC has released no comment and has instead directed everyone to White’s statement on TMZ.

The lack of coverage of this incident by ESPN has lead to questions from veteran pundit Dan Le Batard (who worked there up until 2021).

A current ESPN voice did decide to speak about the issue. Stephen A. Smith mentioned White, briefly, on his First Take show yesterday. During that segment Smith laid out what he thinks should come next for White.

“You do not put your hands on a woman if you’re a man,” said Smith (ht Sportskeeda). “Dana White knows that. He has spoken out against men who have put their hands on women before and whatever punishment you would exact in these circumstances to somebody else is what he should apply to himself.”

If Smith is hoping for White to discipline himself the same way he disciplines fighters who are involved in domestic violence situations, then he’s probably going to get exactly what he wants.

The UFC has dealt with domestic violence among fighters on a case by case basis. Fighters who are not very well known are often shown the door (Michael Graves, Will Chope, Luis Pena, etc.).

However, fighters who are well known, and ranked highly in the organization, often get a pass.

White signed former NFL player Greg Hardy to the promotion after he was convicted of attacking his girlfriend. That conviction was thrown out after Hardy appealed for a jury trial and his alleged victim refused to co-operated with prosecutors after reaching a civil settlement with Hardy.

The late Anthony Johnson was also repeatedly signed by the UFC despite a past domestic violence conviction. Former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones is also expected to fight for the UFC in the near future despite his domestic violence charge in 2021. Jones’ charge was dismissed in a plea deal, after it became clear that his alleged victim would not co-operate with prosecutors.

If White is left to decide his fate alone, then it’s likely he will view his importance to the company as justification for no further action.

It remains to be seen if ESPN, Endeavour or Warner Media will share that view.

About the author: Tim Bissell is a writer, editor and deputy site manager for Bloody Elbow. He has covered combat sports since 2015. Tim covers news and events and has also written longform and investigative pieces. (full bio)

Support for survivors of domestic violence can be found from the following organizations:

If you or someone you know needs help regarding alcohol abuse, support can be found at the following sources:

USA - The Recovery Village - 833 554 1487

Canada - Wellness Together - 1-866-585-0445

UK - Drinkline - 0300 123 1110

Support for survivors of domestic violence can be found from the following organizations:

USA - The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

Canada - DAWN-RAFH Canada

UK and Ireland - Women’s Aid: 0808-2000-247

Rest of the World - HotPeachPages