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UFC President Dana White is often considered an abrasive figure

5 times that UFC President Dana White absolutely owned media personnel

UFC president Dana White is undoubtedly an abrasive and confrontational figure at times. Despite his success in driving the UFC, his nature often puts him at odds with members of the media.

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Unlike other sporting figureheads, Dana White has never been afraid to hit out at the media, particularly when he feels they’ve been unfair or biased against the UFC.

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With his instantly quotable, profanity-laced rants, when Dana White does rail against the media, it’s often highly entertaining.

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With that considered, here are five times Dana White absolutely owned media personnel.

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#5. Dana White hits out at the media over their response to the UFC during the COVID-19 pandemic

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2020 saw Dana White hit out at the media's response to the UFC's behaviour during the COVID-19 pandemic
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The most recent example of Dana White lashing out at the media came in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. When the virus surged around the world in early 2020, the world largely responded by shutting down – the UFC included.

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But after canceling a string of its shows in March and April, Dana White decided to attempt to get the show back on the road. He rebooked UFC 249 - with a main event of Justin Gaethje vs. Tony Ferguson - in Jacksonville, Florida, in early May.

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The media were up in arms about the decision, feeling that the safety of everyone involved would be at stake. Regardless, White was determined to push on.

As it turns out, the UFC delivered its events during 2020 pretty well all things considered. The promotion was able to keep its fighters largely safe – even if a great number of them were forced out of fights due to COVID-19.

In July, the promotion secured the ‘Fight Island’ facility in Abu Dhabi. This ensured its international competitors could get back into the octagon without traveling to the US.

When 2020 came to an end, it was unsurprising to see Dana White hit out at his doubters in the media.

In a video posted by the UFC – which has since been removed – clips of the media criticizing the UFC and White were played alongside clips of the promotion’s eventually successful 2020. The UFC president’s abrasive responses were spliced in alongside them.

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The video didn’t go down well with the media of course. However, it’s safe to say that, as always, Dana White probably didn’t care too much.

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#4. Dana White delivers a vicious tirade at Loretta Hunt

Dana White lashed out at Loretta Hunt following a controversial article in 2009

Arguably Dana White’s most infamous rant at a member of the media came back in 2009. White lashed out at Sherdog.com reporter Loretta Hunt following an article on the UFC’s treatment of the media.

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According to Hunt, the UFC had stripped a number of fighters’ managers and agents of their backstage credentials. Supposedly this was done in a “campaign to separate the fighters from their business representatives”.

To say White was furious with this accusation would be an absolute understatement. In a profanity-laced tirade that instantly caused controversy, the UFC president lashed out angrily.

He labeled Hunt a “f*cking b*tch” and a “moron”, and claimed the report was an “absolutely f*cking retarded story” that wasn’t true. He also hit out at an anonymous source in the article, essentially because they hadn’t put their name to their words.

The rant was so incendiary that it’s still spoken about years later, with Hunt herself tweeting about it on its ten-year anniversary in 2019.

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#3. Dana White flips at CagePotato.com’s Ben Goldstein over Playboy photos

Dana White went on the offensive when Arianny Celeste's Playboy photos were leaked online

When UFC ring girl Arianny Celeste was confirmed to be posing for Playboy magazine in 2010, MMA fans across the globe were excited. When the magazine hit stores, Celeste’s name became one of the most heavily trending topics on Google.

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However, MMA website CagePotato.com decided to take things a step too far – and posted Celeste’s Playboy photos for the world to see.

Celeste herself was naturally furious about the photos being leaked online in this manner. She reacted angrily on Twitter – threatening that lawyers representing both the UFC and Playboy would be getting involved in the matter.

That was enough for the website to quickly remove the photos, obviously fearing an expensive lawsuit. But UFC president Dana White apparently wasn’t done there.

According to CagePotato’s Ben Goldstein, White contacted him via a phonecall and launched into an abrasive rant, labeling him a “scumbag” and promising to “f*ck (him) up worse than (he’d) ever been f*cked before.”

In the end, CagePotato didn’t seem to suffer any reprisals from the incident – but it stands as one of Dana White’s more memorable spats with the media.

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#2. Dana White roasts Ariel Helwani after banning him from covering the UFC

Dana White and Ariel Helwani had a major falling out in 2016

The UFC’s feud with reporter Ariel Helwani is a storied one that largely dates back to 2016. Prior to that time, Helwani appeared to be Dana White’s most trusted reporter. In fact, it was in a 2011 interview with Helwani that White famously broke the news that the UFC had bought out its rival promotion Strikeforce.

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But in 2016, Helwani made a major error in judgment. He decided to break the news that former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar was set to return at UFC 200 – shortly before the promotion announced it.

The fallout saw Helwani and some of his colleagues thrown out of a UFC event and hit with a lifetime ban from the UFC. Dana White then stated that if Helwani wanted to attend UFC 200, he’d need to buy a ticket.

However, once cooler heads had prevailed, the reporter’s ban was lifted and his credentials reinstated. Unfortunately, in the period inbetween, Helwani had detailed the issues between him and the UFC on his YouTube show The MMA Hour.

Unsurprisingly, that left Dana White absolutely livid. The UFC president – clearly not willing to bury the hatchet – lashed out at Helwani in an interview. White stated that he’d “thrown a pity party for himself”, labelling him “dirty” and describing his actions as a “weasel move”.

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While Helwani is no longer persona non grata with the UFC, it’s probably safe to say White won’t be offering him any exclusives in the near future.


#1. Dana White snaps at Josh Gross after TUF spoilers are leaked

Dana White was livid when Josh Gross leaked TUF spoilers back in 2006

Back in 2006, the UFC wasn’t quite the juggernaut that it is today, so its relationship with the old-school MMA media was a little closer. After all, before ESPN and Yahoo Sports covered the UFC, websites like Sherdog and MMAWeekly were the promotion’s only real media outlets.

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However, Sherdog’s Josh Gross found himself in seriously hot water with Dana White in the latter stages of that year. Gross decided to announce spoilers for the fourth season of The Ultimate Fighter on his radio show.

Gross’s argument was that because the winners were set to fight for a UFC title in the near future, it was only fair that fans knew their identities in advance. But in all honesty, it felt petty – and understandably drew the ire of White.

In this instance, a furious UFC president hit out at Gross in an unexpected place – on MMA.tv’s ‘Underground Forum’.

He labeled Gross “the biggest idiot he’d ever met in the industry” and then, in comical fashion, hit out at his lack of sporting prowess. White said:

“I don't know if anyone has ever seen Josh Gross but the guy has never done anything athletic in his entire life”.

White has used more profanity-laced tirades in his time and been more seriously angry with other members of the media. However, this definitely stands out as his funniest attack on a reporter.

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Edited by
John Cunningham
 
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