Dana White’s stance on brain injuries in MMA has changed drastically over the last decade. His comments on the subject over the past week have attracted criticism and led to many comparing previous statements White made. Here they are.
Dana White’s stance on brain injuries in MMA in 2013
“Never been a death or serious injury in 20 years because we go above and beyond when it comes to the safety of these guys. When you know you have two healthy athletes getting ready to compete, they get the proper medical attention before and after, it's the safest sport in the world, fact." (*Quotes courtesy: MMA Mania)
This view hasn't aged well. Speaking to MMA Fighting in a recent interview, MMA veteran Spencer Fisher opened up on the problems he’s facing due to the health issues caused by his fighting career. Fisher stated:
“I’m just beat up, and it’s just gotten worse, like all my injuries are catching up with me now, aside from the brain thing, which is the biggest one, because it adds, it adds the depression, and putting things, thoughts together and staying on track…It makes all that tougher to do, too.”
Spencer Fisher’s professional MMA debut match took place in August 2002, and his final MMA fight occurred in June 2012.
In 2013, Fisher was forced to retire as pre-fight medical scans revealed that he had brain lesions. Fisher’s health subsequently deteriorated, and he started suffering from serious health issues such as dizziness, vertigo, insomnia, mania, and depression.
Dana White’s views on brain injuries have changed over the last decade
Following Spencer Fisher’s retirement from active MMA competition, UFC president Dana White had ensured that Fisher stays with the UFC as a part of the company’s staff and represents the company.
Fisher received financial compensation for this role in the UFC until he was released from the company after the UFC’s sale in 2016 to Endeavor and other associates. After being released in early 2017, Fisher, his wife Emily, and their three daughters have faced financial hardships in the ensuing years due to his health issues.
Dana White has now stated the following to MMA Junkie when questioned about Spencer Fisher’s recent interview:
“Listen, we’re all learning everyday about the brain injury stuff…We’ve been invested in this (Lou) Ruvo Center (at the Cleveland Clinic) to try and figure out more. We’re now interested in this thing just came out on Real Sports about psychedelics and we’ve actually reached out to the Johns Hopkins guys and we’re diving into that.”
“But listen, he’s not the first and he’s definitely not going to be the last. This is a contact sport and anybody who’s done this younger, myself included, is dealing with brain issues. It’s part of the gig.”
Dana White has an incredibly busy week ahead of him with a trio of UFC events to organize on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi, UAE.