Dana White won’t face punishment by UFC, Endeavor for NYE incident

Dana White addressed the media on Wednesday, publicly fielding questions for the first time since being caught on camera slapping his wife multiple times on New Year’s Eve.

White, 53, made no excuses for his actions but said there will be no repercussions in his role as UFC president, other than the label he will have to carry for the rest of his life.

“What should the repercussions be?” You tell me,” White said at UFC Vegas 67 media day. “I take 30 days off? How does that hurt me? I told you guys when we were going through COVID, COVID could last 10 years, I could sit it out and — you know what I mean? What would be the problem? It’s much like COVID, actually. Leaving me hurts the company, hurts my employees, hurts the fighters. It doesn’t hurt me. I could have left in 2016. I don’t know. Do I need to reflect? No, I don’t need to reflect. The next morning when I woke up – you know what I mean? I’ve been against this. I’ve owned this. I’m telling you that I’m wrong.

“But listen, we’ve had plenty of discussions internally, with Ari [Emanuel], ESPN. Nobody’s happy. Nobody’s happy about this. Neither am I. But it happened, and I have to deal with it. And what is my punishment? Here’s my punishment: I’ve got to walk around for however long I live — is it 10.4 years, or is it another 25 years — and this is how I’m labeled 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’s a lot of things that I’m going to have to deal with for the rest of my life that are way more of a punishment than what, I take a 30-day [or a] 60-day absence? That’s not a punishment to me. The punishment is that I did it, and now I have to deal with it.”

Footage of the altercation between White and his wife, Anne, was released by TMZ more than a week ago. In the video, which was captured in a club in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico on New Year’s Eve, White can be seen grabbing Anne’s wrist, which leads to her slapping him in the face. White responds by slapping her twice in the face before others nearby jump into the argument and the clip ends.

In an interview with TMZ that accompanied the initial release of the video, White apologized for his actions, however the UFC and its parent company Endeavor have thus far declined to comment on White’s role in the incident. Several media critics have called for White to face professional sanctions or to step down; the California Legislative Women’s Caucus called for White to be removed as UFC president.

On Wednesday, White reiterated his contrition and pushed back against any fans and fighters who have defended his actions.

“It was obviously a horrible personal experience, and there are no excuses for it,” White said. “It’s something that I’m going to have to deal with and live with for the rest of my life. And one thing that I do want to clarify with this thing that I didn’t talk about on TMZ, because I didn’t expect it and I didn’t have it coming, is the people that are defending me. There is never an excuse. I’m sure you guys have read some of the same stuff that I’ve seen. There is no defense for this, and people should not be defending me over this thing, no matter what. All the criticism that I have received this week is 100 percent warranted and will receive in the future.

“Everybody has an opinion on this, and they’re right to have their own opinions. I was very opinionated on this too, and I still am. It’s crazy that I’m sitting here even having this conversation with you guys.”

“Nobody knows you better than your kids do,” White added. “My oldest is almost 22. So for 22 years, he grew up in a house with me and my wife and the rest of our family. They hear and see everything. They know everything. So whatever perceptions people might have about you, nobody knows better than your kids, and as long as — my kids know exactly who I am. They know exactly who their mother is. And that’s what’s important to us. This is a personal family matter that played out in public, and our biggest focus was our kids. You want to talk about people being disappointed? Who’s going to be more disappointed than your kids are? And that’s what we’ve really been focusing on.”

White noted how “ironic” it was for the incident to occur so close to the release of his upcoming venture, Dana White’s Power Slap League. The new slap league’s television debut on TBS was postponed a week back from Jan. 11 to Jan. 18, however all indications appear that the promotion will continue to have its first season televised as intended.

White stated that his actions on New Year’s Eve were the first time he has ever struck a woman — other than childhood scraps with his sister — and responded to a 2014 interview in which he stated “there’s one thing that you never bounce back from, and that’s putting your hands on a woman”

“You don’t. You don’t bounce back from this. You don’t ever bounce back from this,” White said Wednesday. “For the rest of my life, like I said, however long that is, people are going to label me that. I did it. That’s it. I did it. … You don’t bounce back from it. You wake up every day and try to be better than you were yesterday, and you make sure that never happens again. Whatever steps you’d have to take to make sure that you’re never in that situation and that never happens again, that’s what I need to do. And it’s a fact. There are a couple of things in life that you don’t bounce back from, and this is one of them. That’s a fact.”

White said he has not reached out to any UFC fighters regarding his actions and that incidents of domestic violence for UFC athletes will still be handled on a case-by-case basis moving forward.

When asked if there is anything he would have done differently regarding the incident and the UFC’s response to it, White was straightforward in his response.

“I would have stayed home on New Year’s Eve,” White said. “If I could go back and change anything, I would have stayed home on New Year’s Eve.”

Leave a Comment