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Fox Sports: "Zach Arnold's Fight Opinion site is one of the best spots on the Web for thought-provoking MMA pieces."

« | Home | »

The media focuses on Dana White’s comments on Loretta Hunt

By Zach Arnold | April 2, 2009

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Update (evening of 4/2): ESPN is now running an item on their news ticker crawl talking about White’s YouTube video rant against Loretta Hunt.

Note what Alex Marvez said in his Fox Sports article — it’s the same point I’ve been making on here for the last 24 hours, and it’s a point that has fallen on deaf ears for most of White’s defenders:

In other pro sports leagues — the ones that White wants to have the UFC mentioned along with — these are the kinds of comments that would get a commissioner fired. I don’t expect the promotion to take that step with White, who is a part-owner of UFC’s parent company.

Right now, there seems to be happiness that MMA is a business that gets a little mainstream media attention but not enough to actually justify criticism of some of the things that happens in the industry. The American sports media has never treated the MMA scene like the Japanese media has.

You probably won’t be surprised to find out about this item from USA Today:

“Even his use of anti-gay langauge has precedent; Randy Couture’s autobiography Becoming the Natural — which was co-written with Hunt — claims that White used similiar terminology to describe Couture’s agents.”

However, as I heard from a few sports media writers today, what really stirred the pots in terms of attention towards this story was the fact that Deadspin picked it up.

Apparently, Dana White will now issue an apology on YouTube.

Given that I try to look at issues from a different perspective, there is one perspective about this incident that has given me some pause — the reaction from those defending Dana White.

I’ve followed and written about MMA since the early 90s. It’s a business that I’ve always had a passion for. From its stone age to the current UFC-dominated period now, I’ve witnessed the changes in the MMA audience as far as who’s following the business and who isn’t anymore. I now have to ask myself, after witnessing such vociferous and strong defenders of Dana White’s comments, the following questions:

If the answer to those questions is yes, then I have to re-assess the business and what topics I write about. After all, it is my job is to understand what the audience is and give them what they want. I have to think about issues like these sometimes.

I ask these questions because of a comment like this (start with comment #2):

Geezus…….who really cares besides rump rangers and lesbos? not exacty the ufc’s demographics. why dana would even acknowledge this organazation is beyond me. let’em go cry in thier appletinis and tofu. he wasn’t aiming his tirade at anyone but the dumb b!tch who wrote that article in the first place. is she apologizing for the mis-information in her column? no? much ado about nothing!

Or this:

This is all overblown, Dana White just talks like normal people do. If you watch any UFC shows or TUF you are bound to hear him use some off color language, and this video blog was nothing different.
Practically everybody i know talks like this in private or with their friends, they are just words, not meant to slander women or gays or anything like that.

If you dont like the way Dana talks, dont watch his blogs or his shows, that way you wont be offended
People need to get a life.

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Topics: Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 17 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

17 Responses to “The media focuses on Dana White’s comments on Loretta Hunt”

  1. brent says:

    it does seem like you concentrate on the negative way more than the positive, but you do it equally, you don’t show preference. as long as white apologizes, his detractors should be satisfied, but you know that they wont. dana is not a bad guy, he just said some stupid things.

  2. Fan Futbol says:

    Zach,

    Some people still believe Elvis is alive, or that aliens landed at Roswell. Maybe both things are true. I don’t think they are. Nor do I think that most MMA fans approve of White’s use of needlessly offensive language…but some will defend it regardless. That doesn’t change the fact that corporate America and the mainstream media will — and should — pressure White into offering an apology.

    FF

  3. brent says:

    #2 FF. if white does apologize, will that be good enough for you? i agree that most mma fans dont approve of dana’s statement, but there are alot that don’t dissaprove. it’s comments that they hear on a daily basis. he is going to apologize. as far as him using the f-bomb frequently, no i don’t believe that it bothers the majority of mma fans at all. he’s not a stuffed suit, paid spokesman commishoner like, selig, goodell, or stern,( guys that dana’s detractors want to compare him to quite often) he’s a fight promoter,and a VERY hands-on president, big difference imo. those 3 would die of stress induced strokes, if they had half the workload and responsibilities that dana has.

  4. jr says:

    Dana should stay behind the scenes and quit being a mark making Rob Feinstein inspired “shoot interviews”

  5. Alex Sean says:

    To me the more important question is if a culture where, due to one’s job, they are virtually not allowed to speak their mind without repercussion is worth catering to in the first place. Was what Dana White said potentially offensive? Sure, but on what grounds? Dana White didn’t say all women were “dumb bitches”, he said Loretta Hunt was. Dana White didn’t say the anonymous sources were homosexuals, he called them faggot. And let’s face it, the term faggot is pretty loose in it’s application (ala, in this context I think it’s more of a term of cowardice than homosexuality). So ultimately, are people offended because of his message or by the naughty words and completely ignored the context?

    Look, I’m a proud believer in our rights of free speech. But it’s not a one way road. Dana White has the right to say whatever he wants. The fact that people are demanding apologies and repercussions for exercising that right goes against the very values that allows one to criticize and demand repercussions, does it not? Maybe Dana White is a misogynist and is homophobic, or maybe he just happens to express himself with words associated to both, both of which he has every right to do in the first place.

    Oh and by the way, to compare. Coca Cola created Fanta to be sold specifically in Nazi Germany as not to tarnish the name of of their brand. IBM built the very machines that the concentration camps used to systematically file, transport, and subsequently murder eight million people. Dana White said some mean words about Loretta Hunt and her anonymous sources. Is he really going to be the one to put a bad name on corporate America?

  6. Jey says:

    Alex, people have the right to say whatever they want, but they also have the “right” to get sacked if what they say is entirely inappropriate for a person in an priveledged and socially responsibile position.

  7. klown says:

    Hey Zach, there’s always ignorant people. There’s always negative people. Those people are disproportionately drawn to anonymous online message boards. Sometimes it’s lonely to be in the right. And you aren’t always, but mostly. Keep doing what you’re doing.

    * Am I out of touch with the current MMA fan base?

    I wouldn’t say you were “out of touch”, but you do represent a niche within the fan-base. Namely, educated, intelligent fans of the sport, who are also concerned with ethics and fairness, and in the long-term health of the sport. Like in all sports, but perhaps moreso with MMA at this stage in its development, the average fan is a numb-skull.

    * Am I not serving this audience what they want?

    Depends who your audience is. I believe the majority of the regulars on this site belong to the niche I referred to above. For those of us, you’re serving us exactly what we want – even when we argue against you. It’s not about always agreeing with your point of view. The disagreements are part of what makes it engaging. (I do not count vile, ignorant statements as “disagreements”. Just intelligent debate.)

    * Is this audience truly a reflection of what the bigger picture looks like?

    Sadly, the bigger picture is almost definitely dumber and more backward-minded than the sample you get on this site. But that’s to be expected.

  8. Chris says:

    Zach,

    I have no problems with they way you write or cover MMA. Because you cover it the way a real sport is supposed to be covered, warts and all.

    There are plenty of places fans can go if they want puff pieces. But there also needs to be sites that discuss the topics that are not always enjoyable to discuss. If this kind of coverage is good enough for other professional sports, It shold be good enough for MMA.

  9. EJ says:

    I now have to ask myself, after witnessing such vociferous and strong defenders of Dana White’s comments, the following questions:

    Am I out of touch with the current MMA fan base?

    Depends which fanbase you are catering to, is it the elite so called hardcore fan that has become anti-Zuffa and very bitter. Or are you talking to the more Pro-UFC mainstream fan that loves the sport yet doesn’t get it too involved in the backstage drama.

    Am I not serving this audience what they want?

    Again depens which type of fan you are talking to.

    Is this audience truly a reflection of what the bigger picture looks like?

    Yes, like i’ve said in other posts the reason why people like myself like Dana is that he is devoid of the boring PC stuff that others in his position are filled with. Guys like Stern and Goodell are up in their ivory towers making their rulings and never held accountable for anything. Good or bad, you know that you can count on Dana to make things that need to be made right well right and things that need to be fixed well fixed. He is a fan first and a boss second, he has a passion and understanding of the product that others have lost. While the UFC makes millions they still act like the underdog they aren’t complacent that inspires a respect that other heads of sports leagues don’t. He also tell the truth, good, bad or indefferent you can count on Dana to tell it like it is and I think most UFC fans really like that.

  10. BM2 says:

    “Am I out of touch with the current MMA fan base?”

    My god, you better hope so. To generalise horribly, MMA fans are terrible, unlikeable marks. You don’t want to be in touch with the current MMA fan base, you want to be at arms length, if not further. <.<

  11. Zack says:

    Zach…I agree with most of the sentiments here. You have a niche site. It’s pretty much the only MMA site I go to other than the UG, or I’ll check Sherdog for the fight finder or prelim play by plays.

  12. Ivan Trembow says:

    Fantastic job by loyal soldier Kevin Iole to provide the bare minimum of criticism required to maintain any semblance of credibility (which is actually still better than the sites that haven’t addressed this issue at all), while still writing the most pro-Dana White piece that he possibly could.

    First, there’s the fact that he says, “The validity, or lack thereof, of Hunt’s story is immaterial,” but not until after he has pointed out the ways in which he thinks it’s invalid… so apparently it was material enough for him to write about before he wrote that it was immaterial.

    On that note, Iole writes, “Clearly, she should never have written a story such as she did without having one source on the record.” It’s strange for someone who worked at a newspaper for so many years to not be familiar with how many major news stories are broken, which is with sources who will only speak on the condition that they remain anonymous. Many of the Pulitzer Prize-winning news stories in newspapers like the Washington Post were based on quotes from sources whose names were not published. I’m not saying that anything MMA-related is going to win a Pulitzer Prize, but I am saying that Iole should know enough to know that it’s absurd for him to say that Loretta Hunt “should not have written a story such as she did without having one source on the record.”

    He also offers the paper-thin argument, “And her single attempt to reach a UFC spokesperson is clearly feeble.”

    First of all, Loretta Hunt has said that she made multiple attempts to get the UFC’s side of the story. But even if it had been only one attempt, when is the last time that the UFC actually responded and provided quotes for a story that was on Sherdog? (The answer: Years)

    Does Iole actually believe that if only Hunt had been more persistent in contacting Zuffa again and again, that maybe they would have responded to her requests for comment? Of course not. He’s just trying to shoot holes in her article, right before saying that, oh by the way, her article’s validity or lack thereof is immaterial.

    Maybe he should have checked with his own co-worker, Dave Meltzer, who wrote in an e-mail to me, “Just got back and haven’t seen the story but do know there were agents banned from backstage at the show.”

    Then Iole shows some real boldness in the story by actually quoting extensively an unnamed MMA agent who is praising the Fertittas and Dana White.

    That’s right, just a few paragraphs after criticizing Loretta Hunt using unnamed sources in it, he is himself posting quotes from unnamed sources that happen to be praising the UFC.

    In addition to the irony of criticizing someone for using unnamed sources and then doing it yourself literally just a few paragraphs later, there’s also the little fact that the quotes from the unnamed MMA agent have absolutely nothing to do with Dana White’s offensive rant, and the quotes also have absolutely nothing to do with Loretta Hunt’s story. The quotes are basically just taking the position that Iole himself takes, which is, “Hey, come on now, they’re good guys!”

    Iole’s memory may also be failing him, as he writes, “White was wrong when he snidely referred to Hunt’s story as ‘[expletive] retarded,'” which he writes without mentioning something that he should know from attending so many UFC press conferences— the fact that White uses the word “retarded” as a substitute for the word “stupid” on a semi-regular basis in public press conferences and interviews. He either knows that and chose not to mention it, or his memory is failing him.

  13. Ivan Trembow says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=360SEiiO7Uo

    Wow, this is rich. In Dana White’s quasi-apology on YouTube, he apologizes for the one thing that he was forced to apologize for (the use of the word “faggot”), while not apologizing one bit for the things that he was not forced to apologize for (calling Loretta Hunt a “dumb bitch” and “a fucking moron” who should “shut the fuck up” and saying that her story is “fucking retarded” and that everything that comes out of her mouth is “fucking stupid”).

    He even offers a justification of sorts for his words against Hunt by saying, “Anybody who knows me knows that I would never, ever maliciously attack someone who wasn’t attacking me.” So if he perceives that someone is attacking him, then it’s okay for him to say all of those things that he said about Hunt?

    Again, as Alex Marvez wrote on FoxSports, what would the head of any other major sport do after saying that a female journalist who covers their sport was a “dumb bitch” and “a fucking moron” who should “shut the fuck up” and saying that her story is “fucking retarded” and that everything that comes out of her mouth is “fucking stupid? And further along with that point, would they subsequently say that they were being attacked so it was okay to say all of those things?

  14. Chris says:

    Zach,

    I know you take hits from some fans on the way you cover MMA. But here is the alternative, Kevin Iole.

    A hack Boxing journalist, who has now become a hack MMA journalist.

  15. tm says:

    I never post comments, because i find that most of my opinions are covered by other people or the arguement is so insane that its not even worth addressing.
    But I will say this: Zack keep doing what you do. i may not always agree with your opinion or take now something, but either way it is thought provoking. Keep up the good work.

  16. Lou says:

    Knew that moron’s big mouth would get him in trouble sooner or later LOL

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