Dana White said ‘you don’t bounce back from hitting a woman’… can he stay as UFC chief?

Dana White is facing calls to step down from his role as president of the UFC after a 2014 interview resurfaced in which he claimed you can ‘never bounce back from putting your hands on a woman’.

White apologized Tuesday after a video emerged of him publicly slapping his wife in the face during an argument on New Year’s Eve.

The 53-year-old White has been married to his wife Anne since 1996. The couple has had three children together over the last 26 years as his net worth ballooned to a reported $500 million with the development of the UFC, the world’s most popular mixed martial arts promotion.

But his position at the top of the UFC may be on the line now after a 2014 interview surfaced, in which he reacted to a video of former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice abusing his wife.

Lorenzo Fertitta, Teressa Fertitta, Anne White and Dana White (left to right)

UFC chief Dana White has apologized for slapping his wife in the face on New Year's Eve

UFC chief Dana White has apologized for slapping his wife in the face on New Year’s Eve

Speaking to FOX Sports Live at the time, White said: ‘It’s a tough one. First of all the video is horrifying. Absolutely horrifying. You’re talking about a guy who’s been in the fight business since he was 19 years old. It is the most disturbing thing you will ever see.

‘The thing that’s just as bad as the punch is that he shows no remorse after he does it. You know, if you did something in anger and you go, ‘Oh my god. What did I do?’ There’s none of that with this guy. I don’t know all the ins and outs of what Roger Goodell did or knew or how it was handled but it’s definitely bad. I can tell you this: I wouldn’t want to be Roger Goodell.

We’ve been human beings in letting these guys, other guys make up for what they’ve done and come back. There’s one thing that you never bounce back from and that’s putting your hands on a woman. Been that way in the UFC since we started here. You don’t bounce back from putting your hands on a woman.’

White and his wife were celebrating New Year’s Eve at El Squid Roe in Cabo San Lucas, where the clip was filmed. The footage shows White appearing to say something to Anne, who reacts by slapping him. He then slaps her back before the pair split up.

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Addressing the incident to TMZ, the UFC chief said: ‘My wife and I were out Saturday night on New Year’s Eve. Unfortunately that is what happened.

I am one of the guys who says there is never, ever an excuse for a guy to put his hands on a woman and now here I am on TMZ talking about it.

This is one of those situations that is horrible. I am embarrassed. We have three kids and since the video popped up, we have shown the kids and we are more focused on our family right now.

‘People are going to have their opinions on this and people’s opinions would be right, especially in my case. You don’t put your hands on a woman, ever.’

His wife Anne is quoted by TMZ as saying: ‘To say this is out of character for him is an understatement – nothing like this has ever happened before.

‘Unfortunately, we were both drinking too much on New Year’s Eve and things got out of control, on both sides. We’ve talked this through as a family and apologized to each other.’

White said he had no excuse for his actions and said he was 'embarrassed' about the clip

White said he had no excuse for his actions and said he was ’embarrassed’ about the clip

White has been married to his partner Anne for 26 years and the pair have three children

White has been married to his partner Anne for 26 years and the pair have three children

White’s marriage has largely been shielded from the public, although his mother, June, wrote in a salacious 2011 book that he had ‘turned his back on his family and friends who were there for him when he needed help and support.’

Dana and Anne reportedly met in eighth grade in Nevada, and although he would move back and forth between the Las Vegas area and Maine, the two dated in high school prior to their 1996 marriage.

Their courtship came during a difficult time in White’s life, as he dropped out of two colleges and held a string of low-paying jobs laying asphalt and working as a bouncer.

He would eventually start a gym in the Boston area, but returned to Las Vegas after allegedly being threatened by the notorious mobster White Bulger and his associate, Kevin Weeks.

White - who has headed up the UFC since 2001 - previously said there would be no way back for fighters who were violent to women

White – who has headed up the UFC since 2001 – previously said there would be no way back for fighters who were violent to women

To this day, White claims he doesn’t know why Bulger and Weeks felt they were owed money, but he took their threats seriously enough to relocate back to Nevada.

He basically said, “You owe us money,” White said, according to NBC Sports. It was like $2,500, which was like $25,000 to me back then, and said, “You owe us money.”

‘It was actually a guy named Kevin Weeks…he’s Whitey’s right-hand man,’ White continued. ‘… basically said I owed him some money, and I didn’t pay him. This went on for a while and one day I was at my place and I got a call and they said, ”You owe us the money tomorrow by 1 o’clock.” I literally hung up the phone, picked up the phone and called Delta and bought a ticket to Vegas.’

Bulger would later be captured in 2011 and was killed in prison at 89 in 2018.

In the years since, White has admitted to wagering large amounts of money, including losing $1 million on the 2007 Jermain Taylor-Kelly Pavlik boxing match.

“I was in Cabo, relaxing, having fun,” White said, as quoted by TalkSport. That ruined my fun. Ruined my whole trip.’

He was also implicated in a sex-tape scandal, in which an exotic dancer allegedly recorded a sexual encounter between the two in Brazil. The dancer also claims she and White were having an affair during his marriage.

Her boyfriend would allegedly use that alleged affair to extort money from White, resulting in a criminal case against the man.

White was later sued by the boyfriend, who claimed White offered him money to plead guilty to charges of extortion. White has denied the accusation.

According to the complaint, White gave the exotic dancer $10,000 to have sex with him, but the lawsuit was ultimately dismissed in October of 2020.

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