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Dana White on insensitive comments & gay slurs said by fighters: “This is the fight business, man.”

By Zach Arnold | August 30, 2011

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Wasting no time in stirring the pot on the new & improved version of his MMA radio show, Mauro Ranallo got the ball rolling on Monday with two interviews he had with Frank Shamrock & Dana White.

The subject of two MMA legends, Kazushi Sakuraba & Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, popped up during the radio discussion. Sakuraba is scheduled to fight on September 24th at Saitama Super Arena under the DREAM banner.

(And here you thought I was joking when I told Jordan Breen that the highest-profile biggest-drawing match UFC could book for a Japanese show was Sakuraba vs. Fedor. Scarily, I’m not lying.)

MAURO RANALLO: “This guy is literally going to die in the ring and, yet, here we are six years later and the 42-year old is still fighting. I wanted to get your thoughts on why what was considered one of the big fights and one that both Bas Rutten & I were both looking forward to calling never materialized, that being Frank Shamrock vs. Kazushi Sakuraba under the PRIDE banner. Why didn’t it happen?”

FRANK SHAMROCK: “Well, it never happened because we just could never come to terms with it and at the time, you’re right, Sakuraba was the biggest thing in Mixed Martial Arts and honestly my brand was on the decline and… you know, I was a tough fight, him and I were the exact same style, our teacher’s teachers were the same teachers, so it seemed like we were destined to fight each other but, you know, that was a time when I was going down and he was going up and he was, you know, superstardom ahead of me.

“But when you talk about continuing to fight past your ability to represent your own brand, you know, the Japanese culture believes differently. To them, dying in the ring, that’s a big honor and, you know, I hate to say it but it looks like Sakuraba’s going to go out that way.”

MAURO RANALLO: “You’re joking?”

FRANK SHAMROCK: “No! I mean, when I was in Japan… I would have loved to have died in the ring fighting.”

MAURO RANALLO: “Why?”

FRANK SHAMROCK: “Because that’s what I love to do, that’s the essence to of putting everything on the line and risking your life and your heart and your soul, your spirit, and putting everything out in front of the people. What better way to do if you’re a warrior?”

In a pre-taped interview last Friday, Dana White chimed in on Sakuraba’s legacy in MMA

DANA WHITE: “I’m a huge Sakuraba fan. The problem with the Sakuraba story is, Sakuraba should have fought at 170 pounds instead of doing all these Japanese freak show fights where they got him destroyed by guys who were two weight classes heavier than him. So, it goes unanswered whether Kazushi Sakuraba could have been the greatest fighter to ever come out of Japan. The Japanese ruined him!

“It’s just like any other sport that starts out in the beginning. Guys that were great that you try to compare ‘em to different eras and, you know, like I told you — (I’m a) huge Sakuraba fan and it’s unfortunate that his career wasn’t handled in the right way where we could have found out if this guy was possibly the best fighter ever in Japanese history and I don’t disagree with you at all that he was a huge superstar and definitely put, you know, it on the map, not only in Japan but in the rest of the world.”

It is humorous that he thinks he can be the arbiter of determining the history of the Japanese fight business.

This led to a discussion about another PRIDE legend, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. Nogueira saved his career in the UFC by beating Brendan Schaub last Saturday night in Rio. Nogueira has a chance to exit MMA gracefully but appears to be wanting to continue and claiming that he will fight for UFC in Japan this February. Unfortunately, he made headlines last week for the following:

Nogueira would not train with gay students

MAURO RANALLO: “You’re wearing a t-shirt right now, Parental Advisory: Explicit Content. Dana, you’ve been a guy who’s always said what you wanted to and now, you know where this is going, you guys have reached the promise land, something you’ve been waiting years to achieve and I don’t think it’s a coincidence on November 12th, the 18th year to the day of UFC 1, you guys will be making your network debut on Fox. We’ve heard this last week Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira say some things that may be construed as homophobic, Michael Bisping on Twitter saying what Mayhem Miller did to his sister, used the term gay. You, yourself, has been put to task in the past. Are we going to see a changing of the culture, Dana, or what we see is what we get with the UFC?”

DANA WHITE: “Yeah, listen, we’re in the fight business. Obviously… the last thing we want to do and even the stuff that’s happened with me, and really in the last 10 years there’s been one thing that I’ve regretted and apologized for and, uh, it was taken out of context. It wasn’t a homophobic slur but… this is the fight business, man.”

MAURO RANALLO: “Absolutely.”

DANA WHITE: “I think that people need to stop taking themselves so seriously and… it is what it is.

“I mean, look at Fox as a network. Fox is an edgy guy’s network. Family Guy, exactly, Family Guy and if you look at the programming on FX, their stuff is edgy. It is what it is, you know… some people are going to get offended and some people are going… if you don’t like it, don’t watch it. Guess what? We live in a day and age where there’s 390,000 channels. You don’t like what we got on? Change the channel and watch something else.”

There is great irony in this topic being brought up now. When Fox Sports announced their deal with UFC at the Los Angeles press conference, several MMA writers (including Tomas Rios) said that being aligned with Fox would force UFC to up the professionalism now that they are dealing with network television. I, of course, said no way in hell because if Dana White & Lorenzo Fertitta have been able to secure a $100 million USD/year deal via Ari Emanuel without having to change their personal & professional attitudes, why would they change their behavior now?

During the course of this debate, I brought up Dana’s infamous Youtube rant on Loretta Hunt. Dana glossed over it there in his comments to Mauro. (The backstory on why Dana was angry can be read here.) The mere mention of me bringing this up irritated & agitated UFC supporters on social media who then proceeded to claim that I’m trying to take down the MMA industry.

(First it was PRIDE and now it’s UFC I’m taking down? Pretty powerful, aren’t I? That’s sarcasm for those of you reading on Twitter.)

As a refresher course in regards to what Dana said on that Youtube video of Loretta, here’s the transcript.

“I just heard that there was another absolutely fucking retarded story written by Loretta Hunt. Loretta, you fucking moron, it is always been the policy at the UFC that the fighters get so many credentials and they can credential whoever the fuck they want, it can be their manager, whoever they want to have in the back with them, they can credential. And you are such a fucking genius, I actually, totally off track here, I heard your interview that you did too about where you said Rich Franklin was our poster boy and we were trying not to get him beat by Matt Lindland and all that fucking shit, too. Yeah, that’s why he fought Anderson Silva fucking twice because we were trying to fucking protect Rich Franklin to save him. Rich Franklin’s fought the best fighters in the world and the only reason I’m talking about this is just to show how fucking dumb you are, number one, OK?

“And it’s always been our policy, always, since fucking day one and you also put in the article apparently that you know I used to manage Tito and Chuck. Yeah? You want to know what happened when I managed Tito and Chuck? When I went to their UFC fights, I bought my own tickets. I paid for my tickets to go to the UFC and never was I allowed in the back, to go back there, what the fuck do I need to be in the back for if I’m his manager? What, am I holding the mitts for them while they’re warming up? Am I back there talking strategy? No, I’ve done all the fucking business deals before they go there and my work is done, I go there and I watch the fucking fight. I don’t need to be in the fucking back and if I needed to be in the back that bad, then one of those guys would have credentialed me to get in the back, they would have used me as one of their credentials that they get, OK? 90% of the time, these fighters don’t want their fucking managers in the back. You don’t even know what the fuck you’re talking about and to write a story that says, “Oh, and here’s a quote from a guy who wanted to remain anonymous because of fear of repercussions from the,” SHUT THE FUCK UP.

“Any fucking guy that won’t put his name on it, first of all, whoever gave you that quote is a pussy and a fucking f—-t and a fucking liar and everything else whoever gave you that quote. Or maybe it’s you, Loretta, maybe you’re the liar writing bullshit fucking stories. Everything that comes out of your mouth is fucking stupid, OK? What else… Why would I give a shit who represents who? Yeah, there’s no doubt, there’s some guys out there that have managers that are absolute sleazy, dirty fucking scumbags, absolutely. There’s a lot of them, but there’s a lot of guys out that have a lot of good guys who manage them too, who I have no problem with. Who you fucking ask to manage you doesn’t bother me one bit. Ask fucking Rampage Jackson, OK? Ask Rampage Jackson if I ever said anything about any of his fucking managers or anybody who represented him.

“Hey Loretta, if you’re going to write a story, you fucking moron, at least make sure it’s fucking true and you have some facts and if you’re going to put some fucking quotes in there, get some quotes from people who at least have the fucking balls to put their fucking name on it. I mean, how do you write a story from a guy who fucking it’s like, hey it’s like in an interview where they fucking like put a black thing over the guy’s face and change his voice and shit, you fucking dumb bitch.

Fuck you, Loretta Hunt!”

The great irony in all of this? Loretta was the first guest on Mauro’s radio show on Monday. Dana’s interview played after her segment. Nice timing.

Topics: Brazil, MMA, Media, UFC, Zach Arnold | 42 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

42 Responses to “Dana White on insensitive comments & gay slurs said by fighters: “This is the fight business, man.””

  1. Liger05 says:

    Dana White’s comments on sakuraba are laughable. The guy hasnt got a clue on how the fight industry works in Japan and secondly the mentality of Sakuraba. Everyone knows Saku should of fought at 170lbs but it wasnt Pride forcing him to fight at 205lbs. Sakuraba wanted to fight these guys.

    • edub says:

      More over, I don’t see which fights there were for Saku at his “natural weightclass” in Pride besides blown up LWs.

      Him vs Henderson at 183 probably would have been a big seller though.

      • DAVID M says:

        This is a good point in re: 170. I really would have enjoyed Saku v Hughes, and I honestly don’t see any way in hell Matt would have won that fight.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          Yeah, that’s what people said before Hughes/Sakurai… That there was no way for Hughes to win…. And we all saw how that fight went down.

        • edub says:

          Yes, SOME people were saying Sakurai was going to beat Hughes. Hughes was rightly the favorite going in, considering he had about 20 lbs on Sakurai come fight time.

          Sakuraba would be different though, considering he had the better wrestling background compared to Mach, and he was just as big or even a little bit bigger than Hughes.

          Could’ve gone either way, but I think a “prime” Sakuraba would have the edge because of size.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          Perhaps my memory isn’t perfect, but I can’t remember even 10% of the fans on The UG before that fight picking Hughes to win.

        • david m says:

          45 I am pretty sure Hughes was the favorite in that fight.

    • mr b says:

      its funny because SAKU did fight for the UFC, he fought at ULTIMATE JAPAN, when the UFC went to Japan in the 90s. He actually won their heavy weight tournament weighing only at 183lbs going against guys 240+lbs. He’s one of the few UFC tournament champs before the UFC stopped doing them. Don’t believe me? Look it up!!!!

  2. DAVID M says:

    Saku would have son’d Henderson. Would have been amazing. In terms of combining wrestling with subs with striking, I can’t think of anyone who reminds me of Saku at all. I would have really liked to see Saku v Hendo, Saku v Murilo (historically vastly underrated) and Saku v Anderson. Saku was the most creative grappler I’ve ever seen; he really changed mma.

  3. edub says:

    RIP to Jack Shields

  4. Zack says:

    There was no 170 weight class in Pride. There wasn’t even 185 (183) until he was past his prime. You can’t look at that era of Japanese MMA in the same context as present day MMA.

  5. Chris27 says:

    Is this all you do? No wonder I see so many people saying you suck.

    Everything you write is some negative shit really, always bringing up some negative shit.

  6. 45 Huddle says:

    Sakuraba was and will always be a product of PRIDE…. And that will hurt his legacy.

    1) If there was decisions, he would have lost to Alan Goes.

    2) A straight up crooked ref went against the rules of the fight and made him the victor against Royler Gracie.

    3) Once again, the officials changed the rules of the fight during the show for his fight with Guy Mezger. If they went by the initial rules of only 1 period, Mezger would have won.

    His legacy was built on shady Pride officials and beating an overrated MMA family in the Gracies.

    • edub says:

      1. No he wouldn’t have, it was a damn close fight, but Sakuraba held more dominant positions. Good ground battle though.

      2. He still would have won. He was dominating the fight, and had at least 30 lbs on Royler.

      3. Agreed.

      He is heralded by a class of fan that is nostalgic about the era, so he will always be a little overrated in that regard.

      No way to know how good he would have been if he fought people “his size”.

      • 45 Huddle says:

        1) Sakuraba admitted at the time that Goes was the better fighter that day.

        2) No, he wouldn’t have won. Because there was such a huge weight difference, if the fight went the distance, it would have been declared an automatic draw. Hence the HUGE issue with the ref stopping the fight…. Which was also against the special rules, that only Royler or his corner could tap or throw in the towel. The ref didn’t even have the authority based on the agreed upon rules.

        • david m says:

          I agree about Mezger; again though, we are talking about a welterweight fighting a LHW.

          I thought he was better than Alan Goes that night (another 205er).

          The Gracie bit is a joke; he had his elbow totally dislocated; whether or not the ref had stopped it, it would have been clear who won.

        • edub says:

          1. I don’t care what he admitted. Scoring the fight from a completely neutral perspective, Sakuraba scored more takedowns, and held more dominant positions than Goes in a fight that was 90% grappling. If we are talking a bout “would he have won”, then yes Sakuraba did more to win a close fight.

          2. It’s not like the fight was ending during that Kimura. He still had over a minute to step over the head, and rip his shoulder blade of his back. He had already broken Renzo’s arm with the submission. No reason he couldn’t tear off Royler’s.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          You are missing the point. The refs specifically went against the rules in order to give him a false victory. Whether you think he could have hurt him more is irrelevent. The ref did not have the authority to stop the fight and still did.

          That fight was PRIDE in a nutshell…

        • edub says:

          No, I completely understand that point. I’m just saying that because of a ridiculous set of rules, and a shady referee, his win can’t be completely discounted.

  7. 45 Huddle says:

    “It is humorous that he thinks he can be the arbiter of determining the history of the Japanese fight business.”

    I don’t think he is being an arbiter here. You cannot compare the ENTERTAINMENT of PRIDE to the SPORT of the UFC. Sure, Pride had a sports element and the UFC has an entertainment element. But they are very different animals. Pride fighters were given squash fights. UFC fighters are not.

    Heck, they gave out bonuses for losing. They would give short notices for foreign fighters to give the Japanese fighters an edge. The refs and outside rope movers would help out the Japanese fighters as much as possible. They fixed fights. Pride would just not invite fighters back if they are boring. Zuffa keeps them along and lets them build their skills on the undercard. Pride really didn’t care about weight classes. Zuffa is weight class and title focused. The list goes on and on.

    Many Pride fighters…. And even early UFC fighters should be looked at as pioneers of the sport. But basically all of them don’t even enter the discussion of being the best. The #10 guy today in each weight class could wipe the floor with the #1 fighter of that weight class 10 years ago. It’s just a superior sport today.

    ““I think that people need to stop taking themselves so seriously”

    And this is why people love MMA. It’s not all nice and PC like the rest of the sports. I think it serves the sport well.

    For every 1 person the UFC turns off, I think they attract many more. It’s fighting. It’s a gritty sport. The talk outside of the fights should reflect that.

    • Zach Arnold says:

      I don’t think he is being an arbiter here. You cannot compare the ENTERTAINMENT of PRIDE to the SPORT of the UFC. Sure, Pride had a sports element and the UFC has an entertainment element. But they are very different animals. Pride fighters were given squash fights. UFC fighters are not.

      And, in many ways, this is why PRIDE could never compete with UFC on a straight athletic/sport level. It’s the reason why Japan is no longer going to be the leader in MMA’s future in Asia (because it was built on the backs of pro-wrestling).

    • Aethelwulf says:

      Well, I prefer Pride’s era to what we have here, and I doubt if there’s more than maybe two guys at Sakus weight who could have beaten him,, they guy was a genius and if you can’t see that, your opinion ain’t worth much. You are obviously highly biased against Pride and maybe even the Japanese as a people (I said maybe). You may have some legitimate points but most was just pro UFC jargon. Maybe you are anti Fedor too, he was the greatest and you cant wear that.—————————————————— Pride was bloody brilliant, and you lost me when you said it wasnt a sport and UFC is, well UFC isnt a sport, MMA is, UFC is an organisation, it has provided many many brilliant moments and I don’t want to put it down, but I did prefer Pride, and thats my right.

  8. klown says:

    During the Palhares-Miller fight, I heard Goldberg say that Vitor Belfort was in the commentators’ booth doing the Portuguese broadcast. I’m curious what the gist of his commentary was (or the specifics, for that matter) during the Silva-Okami fight. I wonder if he expressed the conventional awe at Silva’s unrivalled supremacy or if he had anything to say regarding his own fight with Silva.

    Did anyone catch the Portuguese broadcast and could someone put together a summary of Belfort’s commentary?

  9. Jason Harris says:

    The thing people seem to fail to realize is, with MMA not being a team sport, if Mike Bisping goes out and acts like an asshole, it doesn’t make UFC look bad, it makes Bisping look bad. When Mayweather mouths off with racist/sexist/homophobic remarks, nobody talks about how it’s setting boxing back. It’s just Mayweather being an asshole. Which hasn’t seemed to hurt his popularity one bit.

  10. “Sakuraba was and will always be a product of PRIDE…. And that will hurt his legacy.” HAHAHA

    Yeah, maybe it will hurt his legacy in the mind of two people.

    The thing about Huddle 45 and Dana White is that they like to go back and re-write history.

    Dana White says that we’ll ‘never know’ if Sakuraba was great or not, because (you guessed it) he was never in the fabled UFC.

    In reality, Saku finished Rampage Jackson, a much larger opponent who destroyed UFC poster-boy Chuck Liddell twice. He finished Randleman, who at one point nearly won the UFC Title from Bas Rutten. He beat multiple-time UFC tournament champion Royce Gracie.

    But we ‘don’t know’ if he was great or not?

    I get it – Dana has to keep pushing that the UFC is the best of the best – and from here on out, it probably will be. But at one point, not long ago, Tim Sylvia was fighting Jeff Monson for the Heavyweight Title. THAT was the level of competition.

    So when he travels back in time and and says that PRIDE NEVER had great fights and the UFC was ALWAYS the place with the best competition, he makes himself look like an idiot. You can probably trick the 14-year-olds who don’t have any concept of what happened pre-’The Ultimate Fighter on Spike’, but for for those of us who lived in Japan, watched PRIDE, or have any type of long-term memory, we know what really happened.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      Many fighters have loses on their records early in their careers that don’t really showcase what type of fighter they ended up becoming. Rampage losing to Sakuraba is a perfect example of that…. Rampage was very green on the sport back during that fight. And he still dominated Sakuraba until the end….

      And if you are going to talk about Sakuraba in one light, don’t forget the other one. He had no stand-up game. Wanderlei Silva, who by today’s standards is a bad striker…. completely dominated him in striking. So much that he basically ruined Sakuraba’s career at still a younger age….

      Heck…. Sakuraba lost to Schembri…. So get out of here with how great you think he was.

      He was a very good fighter with literally help from his organization to build him up…. And he did so during a time when the sport is a fraction of what it is today.

      That makes him a PIONEER of the sport…. Royce/Sakuraba 1 will always be a classic no matter how boring it really is…. Us fans who were around at the time enjoyed the magic of it…

      But let’s not push Sakuraba into something he is not….

      • “Wanderlei Silva, who by today’s standards is a bad striker…. completely dominated him in striking.”

        Yes, AT THE TIME. Again, this is HISTORY.

        When Wanderlei WAS on his streak, he was outstriking people. The last time I checked my calendar it was not 2005.

        Jon Jones was still in high school. Chuck Liddell was in his prime. Tim Sylvia was condidered one of the best in the world. Anderson Silva was being submitted with wacky leglocks. THINGS WERE DIFFERENT.

        And you can’t have it both ways, 45.

        You can’t say “Rampage was very green” so he lost, giving him an excuse – but then say Wanderlei was never good because he can’t outstrike people TODAY. Which way is it? Do people get older, and evolve througout their careers, or do you judge every single win and loss evenly regardless of date/age/experience/injuries, etc.?

        • 45 Huddle says:

          It’s not having it both ways.

          Rampage was early in his career, regardless of when that happened.

          That is completely different then the differences in the sport from 2001 to 2011.

          Why you couldn’t figure that one out on your own is beyond me.

    • Steve4192 says:

      “Yeah, maybe it will hurt his legacy in the mind of two people.”

      C’mon now.

      Sakuraba is my favorite fighter of all time, but even I am not so delusional as to believe he will have an enduring legacy outside of a handful of pre-2005 fans. The truth is, Sakuraba is destined to become a forgotten legend because he was not visible during the popularity boom of the post-TUF era. Twenty years from now, no one (aside from Japanese fans and serious MMA history scholars) is going to know who the hell Sakuraba was.

      I love the guy, but I recognize that I represent of TINY minority of global MMA fans. 99% of the kids who are growing up on the Zuffa leviathan’s MMA product are going to have no idea who he was.

      • Belief – or non-belief – in something doesn’t make it so.

        99% of kids might not know who Sakuraba is, have never heard of Babe Ruth, and have never seen any footage of Muhammed Ali. But it doesn’t mean that these people weren’t among the best of the best.

        It’s also silly to hear Dana (and others) talk about “Who’s the best fighter of ALL TIME!!!” because there is no such thing.

        Sakuraba – at one time – was one of the best ever in Japan. Same with Fedor. Same with CroCop. Now, times have changed, things have evolved, and these men have been injured and gotten older. I don’t know why the conversation can’t just end there?

        There is NO SUCH THING as the ‘best ever’, because there is no way to know…that’s why we have title belts. That’s who represents the best NOW. The goofy ‘P4P’ has grown tiresome, and the history re-writing is just getting annoying.

        • edub says:

          “99% of kids might not know who Sakuraba is, have never heard of Babe Ruth, and have never seen any footage of Muhammed Ali. But it doesn’t mean that these people weren’t among the best of the best.”

          … and statements like this is what gives some of the ridiculous things Dana says credence.

          Sakuraba is a legend of the early days of MMA, there is no debating that.

          But whether you meant to put him on the same mountain top as Ali and The Babe or not, the statement you made tried to make that comparison.

          It’s blatantly unrealistic.

          Ruth is one of (if not the best) baseball players of all time, Ali is generally considered the best HW boxer of all time. Kids know who these guys are, because their legends will last for a hell of a lot longer than I’m on this earth.

          Sakuraba, while a great fighter with a big fanbase, will simply not be looked at as even in the same universe as those guys. When he competed he was never even a champion outside of a made up belt. His longest winstreak was 6, and the best guys he ever defeated was given a few days notice and had to cut a lot of weight to fight him.

          If you think the “best ever” conversations are old then I have bad news for you. MMA’s closest counter part is boxing, and they have multiple arguments on that yearly.

    • Aethelwulf says:

      Very well said,, the fact is, that while Pride was in existence it was simply #1, and this coming from an Australian, yes there are at least 3 UFC guys that can be mentioned in the same breath as Saku, Fedor, Hendo and Vanderlei,,,,, and they are (in my opinion at least,, Anderson Silva (obviously),, BJ and GSP….. but heres the thing Dana,,,,, BJ and Anderson fought in Pride as well…… this was a great post of your and I agree 99.99%

  11. Zack says:

    “Sakuraba was and will always be a product of PRIDE…. And that will hurt his legacy.”

    Shitty troll is shitty, and a moron.

    • “Sakuraba, while a great fighter with a big fanbase, will simply not be looked at as even in the same universe as those guys.”

      Depending on what country you live in, and who you ask.

      • edub says:

        I’m talking about the world’s poplulation as a whole. Not Japan (even still most would see it as a tough sell) or a few MMA diehards.

  12. [...] som att Kazushi Sakuraba är ett undantag för herr White. ”I’m a huge Sakuraba fan,” säger Dana. ”The problem with the Sakuraba story is, Sakuraba should have fought at 170 pounds instead [...]

  13. [...] Dana White on insensitive comments & gay slurs said by fighters: “This is the fight business, man.” | Fight Opinion [...]

  14. [...] you know, it on the map, not only in Japan but in the rest of the world.” White spoke to FightOpinion about Japanese and MMA legend Kazushi [...]

  15. [...] ghost of PRIDE in PRIDE’s old home arena. This is his message to the Japanese MMA fans that what promoters served them was inherently wrong and that he’s going to show the fans ‘the right way’ to produce an MMA [...]

  16. [...] Sakuraba and Jon Jones. One fighter is a legend who Frank Shamrock thinks will die in the ring. The other is hyped as the ‘future’ of MMA (he’s the ‘present’) who [...]

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