This week has seen the UFC embroiled in controversy after UFC President Dana White came to the defense of under-fire former MMA star Gina Carano, who Disney fired following some inflammatory remarks on social media.
UFC President Dana White has always been an outspoken character, and he’s caused controversy on numerous occasions in the past.
This time MMA journalist Ariel Helwani was the target of Dana White’s ire. The UFC president fired off at him for making the Carano situation “all about him” after Helwani criticized her recent anti-Semitic posts.
However, Helwani isn’t the first and probably won’t be the last person that Dana White has targeted during his time as UFC President.
With that in mind, here are five feuds that UFC President Dana White has embarked on over the years.
Also Read: What is Dana White's Net Worth?
#1 Dana White vs. Ariel Helwani
MMA reporter Ariel Helwani – who now works for the UFC’s carrier ESPN – was once considered one of the few media members trusted by the UFC.
In fact, it was Helwani who, alongside Dana White, famously broke the earth-shattering news that the UFC had purchased rival promotion StrikeForce back in 2011.
Despite his good relationship with the UFC, though, it didn’t take Helwani too much time to get into Dana White’s bad books. The incident that truly drew the ire of Dana White came in 2016, during the build to UFC 200.
Prior to UFC 199, Helwani broke the news that the UFC had re-signed former UFC Heavyweight champion and WWE superstar Brock Lesnar to fight at UFC 200.
This angered Dana White tremendously, as he’d clearly been hoping to keep the news quiet before it was announced officially by the UFC themselves.
Following the incident, Helwani found himself essentially banned by the UFC, as he was stripped of his media credentials and told to “cover Bellator” instead.
Reports at the time suggested the UFC were also angry with Helwani for interviews with UFC fighters that discussed free agency.
The promotion later reinstated Helwani – but not before Dana White hit out at him again. White accused him of holding a “pity party” and claiming he’d pulled a “weasel move.”
With all this in mind, it’s hardly a surprise that Helwani has found himself in Dana White’s sights again this week. This time, the UFC President hit out at Helwani – who is Jewish – for his criticism of Gina Carano’s recent anti-Semitic social media posts.
#2 Dana White vs. Cris Cyborg
One of the biggest female stars in MMA history, Cris Cyborg became the UFC’s first Women’s Featherweight champion in 2017.
However, two years later, she was out of the UFC and became another target for UFC President Dana White's fury.
The UFC only installed female divisions in 2013. And at that point, signing Cyborg to a contract seemed like a no-brainer, given her status as one of the sport’s few female stars. But that never happened, largely because the UFC didn’t have a women’s Featherweight division and Cyborg wasn’t willing to cut to 135lbs.
This clearly angered Dana White, who hit out at the Brazilian in 2014. He accused her of steroid abuse (she tested positive during her career with StrikeForce in 2012) and labeled her “Wanderlei Silva in a dress and heels.”
By 2016 though, cooler heads prevailed. Cyborg was signed to a UFC deal, and after fighting in a handful of 140lbs fights, she became the first UFC Women’s Featherweight champion by beating Tonya Evinger.
From there, it felt like Cyborg was one of the UFC’s go-to fighters. She even stepped in to bail the promotion out with a last-minute main event fight at UFC 222.
However, after she was defeated by Amanda Nunes at UFC 232, losing her title in the process, the relationship quickly went south.
Cyborg fought once more under the UFC banner, defeating Felicia Spencer. But after the fight, it was announced that she’d surprisingly been released by the promotion.
And soon enough, Dana White once again opened fire. He described Cyborg as a “nightmare” to work with, accused her of trying to avoid a fight with Nunes, and claimed she was “never happy” in the UFC.
Cyborg has since signed with Bellator MMA and will likely remain on the UFC’s blacklist for some time.
#3 Dana White vs. Tito Ortiz
Perhaps Dana White’s most well-publicized feud came with former UFC Light Heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz.
It’s difficult to document the ups and downs in the relationship between the two. ut to say that they didn’t see eye to eye over the years would be an understatement.
Strangely enough, the two were once close. In the days before Zuffa bought the UFC out, Dana White acted as Ortiz’s manager. Once he became UFC President, though, their relationship became strained.
And after Ortiz temporarily departed the UFC in 2005 during a contract dispute, the two men began throwing barbs at one another in the media.
Ortiz re-signed with the UFC in 2006, but incredibly, his new deal with the promotion came with a caveat. The former UFC Light Heavyweight champion would fight Dana White in a fully-sanctioned boxing match that would be broadcast on Spike TV.
Of course, the boxing match never happened, with both Dana White and Ortiz blaming the other for backing out. In fact, the aborted fight was still being brought up as late as 2020, with White claiming he’d trained diligently for the fight before Ortiz backed out.
The relationship between the two remained strained following this, with Ortiz departing the UFC in 2008 before returning again in 2009. This time, ‘The Huntington Beach Bad Boy’ stuck around until 2012 before retiring – only to emerge in Bellator a year later.
That re-ignited the feud, with Ortiz labeling Dana White a “slavedriver” and White hitting back by calling Ortiz a “moron” and a “buffoon.”
Thankfully though, the feud now seems like water under the bridge. In fact, Dana White congratulated his former fighter last year when he was elected onto Huntington Beach’s city council.
#4 Dana White vs. Loretta Hunt
Ariel Helwani isn’t the only member of the MMA media to earn Dana White's ire over the years. The UFC President famously hit out at journalist Loretta Hunt back in 2009 following an article written on Sherdog.com regarding the UFC’s credentialing policies.
In a vlog that was eventually removed, Dana White went off on Hunt and her article. He labeled the writer a “f****** b****,” calling the article an “absolutely f****** retarded story,” and using a homophobic slur to describe Hunt’s sources.
To say the rant went down badly would be a gross understatement. Dana White came under fire not just from the MMA media but also from groups such as GLAAD, who immediately called for him to apologize.
Dana White would later address the controversy – coincidentally in a 2012 interview with Ariel Helwani. And while he did admit that he regretted using the homophobic slur, he stated that he stood by the rest of his comments.
And evidently, the hatched has not been buried by Hunt a decade later, either. She posted a tweet in 2019 addressing the controversy, and unlike Helwani, it was never reinstated by the UFC.
#5 Dana White vs. Elite XC
As the UFC’s figurehead for over two decades, it stands to reason that Dana White’s relationship with rival promoters has never been great.
Over the years, the likes of Scott Coker (StrikeForce) and Bjorn Rebney (Bellator) have come under fire from Dana White. But the UFC President saved perhaps his greatest rant for the ill-fated Elite XC promotion.
Conceived by boxing promoter Gary Shaw alongside the Showtime network, Elite XC burst onto the MMA scene in 2006. It immediately caused waves by signing stars such as Frank Shamrock, Renzo Gracie, and Phil Baroni.
But the upstart organization really began to make waves when they inked YouTube street-fighting sensation Kimbo Slice and began to promote him as the biggest star in the sport.
With their shows broadcasting on the CBS network, Slice quickly became a superstar – until journeyman Seth Petruzelli knocked him out in October 2008.
And in the fall-out after the fight, Petruzelli alleged that Elite XC had paid him more money to stand and strike with Slice rather than take him down.
This immediately caused waves across the world of MMA and didn’t fail to register on Dana White’s radar.
The UFC President went on an epic rant, claiming Elite XC were “building their promotion around a guy who can’t fight." He slated them for losing money and for essentially harming a sport he’d worked to build for years.
In fact, a brief clip of Dana White stating that Elite XC’s behavior was “f****** illegal” remains meme-worthy today.
Luckily for Dana White, this feud didn’t last very long. Elite XC quickly crashed as a promotion just months after Petruzelli’s big knockout. And in the aftermath, the UFC signed the majority of their stars – including Slice, who starred on the 10th season of The Ultimate Fighter.