Attention MMA media you are failing. After one TMZ boilerplate softball interview and over a week to prepare, you managed to still get everything wrong. I won’t get into how MMA media and MMA fans seem to have a fundamental misunderstanding of what Endeavor is. That’s another topic by itself for another day. In Dana’s latest outing in front of the media, he was greeted with softballs thrown right down the middle.
I don’t get paid for this so I’ll keep this one really short and to the point. Endeavor has most of the mainstream media bought and paid for already. Any hope of big media consistently reporting on this or holding him accountable on their own is lost. It’s up to the journalists that take their job seriously to step up to the plate and make some risky decisions. Endeavor is watching who is relentlessly pursuing any kind of real accountability and hoping that message washes away with the next media cycle. If it does, they will wait a while and then retaliate against all the problematic ankle-biters who tried their best to take the kingpin down. However, the saying “death by a thousand paper cuts” applies here more than the average person may know.
If people stop relying on the usual suspects like Ariel Helwani to finish the job, the task of accountability may actually have a chance of sticking long term. Ariel can be blown off by Endeavor because he and Dana have a contentious history. They already planned for and made the adjustments for that situation. The fans expect Ariel to keep going at Dana. To the fans, it becomes more about Dana versus Ariel and less about an alcoholic millionaire slapping his wife in public. When all the smaller outlets and the journalists with integrity stay on topic, much more could potentially be done. Since that’s risky I’ve noticed hesitation and fear because most people in the business are aware that retaliation and loss of future income are a possibility. As a result, they’re playing the fence and not trying to poke too many proverbial bears.
In the latest press conference, a few moments stood out for me. The very first being he only sat with the press for a little more than thirteen minutes. I’ve watched Dana sit and answer questions about Jon Jones and his dick pill habits for thirty-plus minutes at a time. Thirteen minutes was a sign of fear and uncertainty from the media. Another key moment was a media member asked him what he would change about the situation if he could. Dana’s answer was “not go out on New Year's Eve.” Not one person jumped on that golden goose of an opportunity to make him look insensitive and insincere about his so-called feelings of remorse. He literally told the media he wouldn’t change slapping his wife, he’d only change going out that night. This was a clear and costly miss by the media. They’ll never get that moment back. Moreover, Dana kept making assertions as if they were gospel. I heard him state that the UFC and the fighters “need him.” I would have stopped him there and asked how he comes to that conclusion. One could argue the UFC, Endeavor, and the fighters would be way better off without Dana at the helm. Especially now with all the baggage. It’s not the early 00s anymore. The brash “tell it like it is” persona has run its course.
There was a time when White being the personality out front may have helped the sport get into more markets. He used to be great media clickbait. The louder he got, the more clicks the media received and in return, more PPVs were sold. Those days are long gone. Endeavor has inked a deal with ESPN. The UFC is out of the PPV business. They have to meet a quota of content, not a quota of PPV sales. This is largely why the UFC has switched to signing more young naive fighters they can take advantage of. Sign them, use them up fast, then get them out of the sport faster. Most of the established “stars” under contract haven’t fought in years. This isn’t an accident. It’s no longer a star-driven sport. I say that to say, why do they need Dana now? Why do fighters need Dana? Why do the fans need Dana? He needs us to believe we need him so he can live with no consequences for his actions. It’s a privileged mindset and one he’s become accustomed to.
I’d tell him all this myself, but I told him how I felt years ago. He doesn’t like me very much. Until next time, I said my piece!!