He screwed up in Macau last weekend firing judge Howard Hughes after two fights, because he didn’t like the way Hughes (who the UFC says has worked 25 cards for them) was scoring the bouts. As outrageous as the action was, it can be argued it wasn’t White at his worst. There have been tirades on fighters and reporters with occasional delayed admittance of going too far. Suffice to say, he’s crushed enough toes over the years to keep a platoon of podiatrists gainfully employed. If it hadn’t been that way, who would’ve noticed that cage fighting was evolving and growing? The look-at-me leader of the UFC, is a force to be reckoned with, the good with the bad, but notice what is going on with this sport.
White apologized in a relatively quick time period. “I was wrong,” he flatly stated at a press conference. “I overstepped my bounds, it’s not the first time, hopefully the last time I’ll ever do that.” He publicly apologized to Hughes and the UFC in a statement said they would work with him again.
Is this enough? It should be. Mistake made, acknowledged and apology.
For the man who can be considered the de facto commissioner of MMA, a layer of transparency, perhaps with the comfort level of being one of the most influential sports figures in the last 15 years. Mellowed would be insulting, and mellow doesn’t boot a guy out mid job, or say, “It’s no secret how fired up I get when there’s bad judging.” Would he have also admitted he received “misinformation” about the way Hughes scored the fights if this were ten years ago? Perhaps not, however for a man who has worn emotions on his t-shirt sleeves every step of the way, his ability to say sorry for the missteps is the sign of a really tough man.
It also shows how vital a state fight commission is, regardless of the politics and mistakes any of them make. This would have never happened in the U.S. That there is no commission to oversee MMA in Macau put the UFC in the tedious place of being judge and jury. There was no one else in authority to declare a mistrial. Who to reprimand? He’s in charge. Next time there should be, and probably will be some semblance of authority that doesn’t have a UFC attachment.
“Dana was way off base, but honestly if all of us could fire and hire judges and refs during cards, we would most of the time. It’s hard not to get too personal when it’s your card,” a fight promoter speaking on agreement of anonymity said. “Like them or not that’s why we need commissions, because I have thought about saying a few things after some scores I’ve seen.”
It is much easier to ask forgiveness instead of asking permission. The “kick down the door” mentality of White and the UFC, has resonated among a generation looking for the John Wayne and Clint Eastwood that doesn’t exist in today’s overly sensitive PC climate. To overanalyze the latest incident is too much of the babble most MMA fans have railed against. Stuff happens.
Dana White was right to say he was wrong, so move on.
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