UFC president Dana White has garnered a mixed reaction after releasing a nearly five-minute long video slamming critics of his combat sport empire.
The video, posted to White’s Twitter account, showed news reports of other sporting codes around the world putting their seasons on hold due to the coronavirus.
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It then showed a series of headlines and journalist bylines on written pieces, news segments and podcasts critical of the UFC’s decision to continue holding events as the global pandemic continued to worsen.
White, a vocal supporter of US President Donald Trump, provided a voice-over for the clip in which he lambasts ‘the media’ for criticising the UFC, despite several of the organisation’s fights being cancelled or postponed as a result of the pandemic.
“I’m not afraid of the media. Why should anybody listen to the media? Who are these people? What makes them experts? What have they ever accomplished?” White said.
“They criticise me for even trying to find a way forward because it’s easy to criticise from the sidelines when you risk nothing and do nothing.
“But we need to fight this thing. Step up. Instead of panicking, let’s find solutions.”
White continued, arguing the media traded in ‘negativity’ and said many in the media had no understanding of the business.
“They think negativity sells and gets clicks so that’s what they deliver. Negativity is their product,” White said.
“But I’m not going to let that stop us. Any time there’s great success, it’s surrounded by negativity, but here’s the reality. None of the media people know anything about this business.”
Dana White ‘propaganda’ video proves divisive
White video garnered a mix reaction, from some who supported the outspoken UFC president to other who argued criticism of the UFC was more than justified.
Guardian reporter Karim Zidan, one of several journalists specifically identified in White’s video, dismissed it as ‘propaganda’.
“UFC President Dana White runs propaganda ad listing journalists, including myself, who rightfully questioned his decision to run events during early stage of the pandemic,” Zidan wrote.
“Looks like he has learned a lot from his buddy Donald Trump.”
Fan website mmamania.com has published a running list of fighters and associates who have contracted the coronavirus since the beginning of the outbreak, showing White’s bold claims about the success of the UFC in spite of the pandemic are questionable at best.
However others, like author Gyasi Ross, credited White for maintaining his business throughout the unprecedented pandemic.
“Salute Dana White for keeping people employed during the pandemic,” he wrote on Twitter.
“Salute to (NBA commissioner) Adam Silver for keeping people employed during the pandemic.
“Salute to journalists & doctors who raised reasonable questions about the wisdom of continuing.”
The UFC is gearing up for a blockbuster beginning to 2021, with UFC 257 sees the long-awaited comeback of Conor McGregor.
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