UFC boss Dana White says stepping down from the company in the wake of a video of him slapping his wife Anne at a New Years party going public would only serve to hurt employees. White, 53, was filmed in an argument with his wife on December 30 while at a nightclub in Mexico, in which he slaps her twice after she initially hits him across the face.
The often outspoken head of the MMA powerhouse said he would not be stepping down, arguing the self-inflicted damage to his reputation was a severe enough punishment. The video showed White in conversation with his wife, who slapped him. White then slaps her twice in retaliation before the pair were separated.
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There have been plenty of calls for White to step down in the wake of the video being published. White, in 2014, described incidents of domestic violence as 'career-enders' for UFC fighters.
White discussed the incident publicly for the first time since the video emerged prior to this weekend's UFC Fight Night 217. He said there was no excuse for what he had done, and said he was ashamed.
“It was obviously a horrible personal experience. There’s no excuses for it. It’s something that I’m gonna have to deal with and live with for the rest of my life," White said.
“One thing I do want to clarify … is the people that are defending me. There’s never an excuse. I’m sure you guys have read some of the same stuff that I’ve seen. There’s no defence for this. People should not be defending me, no matter what. All the criticism that I’ve received this week, and will receive in the future, is 100-per cent warranted."
While White appeared willing to accept the seriousness of his actions, he was adamant that he would not leave his position at the company. The parent company of the UFC, Endeavour, has seen its share price drop by some 5% since the video was published.
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Despite mounting calls for either Endeavour or ESPN, who holds exclusive broadcast rights for the UFC, to force White into stepping down, no such action has been taken. White maintained that stepping down would only hurt the fighters of the promotion, as well as other employees.
“What should the repercussions be? You tell me. I take 30 days off?” White rhetorically asked. “How does that hurt me? Me leaving hurts the company. Hurts my employees. Hurts the fighters. Doesn’t hurt me.
I could have left in 2016. Do I need to reflect? No, I don’t need to reflect. The next morning when I woke up … I own this. I’m telling you that I’m wrong.
“I’ve got to walk around for however long I live — is it 10.4 years or another 25 years? — and this is how I’m labelled now. My other punishment is that I’m sure a lot of people, whether it be media, fighters, friends, acquaintances who had respect for me might not have respect for me now.
"There are a lot of things I’m gonna have to deal with for the rest of my life that are much more of a punishment than, what, I take a 30-60-day absence?”
White became UFC president back in 2001, when the now MMA powerhouse was only beginning to establish itself as a legitimate competition. He is also the head of a new venture, the 'Power Slap League', which sees competitors taking turns slapping their opponent in the face until one cannot continue.
The Power Slap League's debut was delayed as a result of the video of White and his wife going public. The league is set to premiere on January 18.
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