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'You don't bounce back from getting your hands on a woman': Will Dana White be held accountable for his actions?

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In 2014, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was arrested for assaulting his fiancée, Janay Palmer, in Atlantic City, NJ. The incident became major national news that year, both because of the videos that revealed the violent assault. and for the way the NFL handled the situation. At the time, the UFC was in partnership with FOX, and White was asked to comment on the situation while still in development.

“It’s tough,” White said on FOX Sports Live. First of all, the video is horrible. Absolutely awful. You’re talking about a guy who’s been in the fight business since he was 19. It’s the most unsettling thing you’ll ever see. The thing that’s just as bad as the punch is that he shows no remorse after doing it. You know, if you do something in anger and leave, oh my god. What did I do? There’s none of that with this guy. I don’t know all the ins and outs of what Roger Goodell did or knew, or how it was handled, but it’s definitely bad. I can tell you this: I wouldn’t want to be Roger Goodell.

Well, for White, that day has arrived. Only the attacker in a recent video showing domestic violence is not a random UFC fighter. It’s White himself.

On Monday, TMZ released a video Showing his wife’s white slap, Anne, at a New Year’s Eve party while vacationing in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. The slap isn’t nearly as violent as Rice’s, but it’s no more an acceptable action, and the whole incident is disturbing. White addressed his actions to TMZ in a separate interview shortly after the video was released, saying he is embarrassed by his actions, that there is no excuse for what happened,

“I’m one of those guys, you’ve heard me say for years, there’s never, ever an excuse for a guy to get his hands on a woman, and now I’m on TMZ for talk about. …

People are going to have opinions about it, and most people’s opinions would be right, especially in my case. You never lay hands on a woman.

And yet, he did.

Anne White also released a statement to TMZ, saying “nothing like this has ever happened before.” She blamed the incident largely on alcohol, saying “things got out of hand, on both sides.”

But that doesn’t change what happened. White, the public face of a multi-billion dollar company who has repeatedly allowed fighters accused or convicted of domestic violence to fight for the company, hit his wife in public.

Domestic violence is not new to MMA. Countless fighters, past and present, have been accused of some form of domestic violence. In fact, the problem is so serious that in 2015, HBO Real Sports did a story on the subject, finding that domestic violence arrests involving MMA fighters are more than double the average national rate, 750 per 100,000. But the problem never arose with the head of a large promotion. Now it is, and what follows will be revealing.

Although Rice is not a fighter, when the incident occurred in 2014, White took a tough stance on the subject of domestic violence.

“We were human beings letting these guys, other guys make up for what they did and come back,” white said. “One thing you never get over is getting your hands on a woman. It’s been like that in the UFC since we started here. You don’t bounce back from getting your hands on a woman.

In practice, this hard line has proven to be hazy, at best. For each Will Stein and Luis Pena who were released by the UFC, fighters like Abel Trujillo and Anthony Johnson were signed and re-signed to the promotion. After the release Thiago Silva in 2014 with White’s assertion that he “I will never fight in the UFC again” following a domestic violence arrest, the UFC re-signed Silva after charges against him were dropped, only to cut it back shortly after. And then there was the whole Greg Hardy fiasco.

A cynical person might look at the examples above – a very small collection of the many examples in this sport and this promotion – and draw the simple conclusion that in fact a person only “bounces back” from domestic violence if that person lacks star power.

In this regard, White is lucky. Apart Conor McGregorWhite is the UFC’s biggest star and looks well-positioned to maintain his role at the top of the company. ESPN has already brushed off the situation, declining to comment, and UFC parent company Endeavor has yet to issue a statement. The hope, it seems, is that this whole situation could explode quickly. And truth be told, it can.

Combat sports have long existed on the periphery of mainstream athletics. Barring the most egregious breaches of decorum, the world at large seems content to hand over to the various irregularities that occur in the MMA universe. If the response from different fighters and fans is any indication, much of this universe is not at all interested in impeachment either. And that’s too bad, because without real accountability, there can be no progress.

“Preventing domestic violence and educating athletes is of utmost importance to the organization. The UFC maintains its athletes at the highest level and will continue to take appropriate action if and when permitted.

“The UFC requires all athletes to act ethically and responsibly as required by the UFC Fighter Conduct Policy,” said the The UFC said in a statement in response to the HBO Real Sports story on domestic violence in MMA. “The organization will not tolerate domestic violence, sexual assault or any other violation of policy. Every athlete deserves due process and all official allegations will be duly reviewed and thoroughly investigated by an independent party .

Dana White He’s not a fighter, but he’s the face of the organization. Why should the standard be lower for him? White is the very public face of an organization that has historically employed people accused and convicted of domestic violence, and he operates in a sport with a serious domestic violence problem. It means a lot. For him, getting a pass, at a minimum, makes MMA seem like a paradise for this type of activity. This shouldn’t happen.

Here’s a thought experiment: If NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was filmed doing the exact same thing, what would happen? The most likely answer is that Goodell resigns or is fired. The NFL doesn’t need scandal, and the hypocrisy of having someone beat his wife himself and then pass judgment on other athletes for doing the same is too blatant. It’s just easier to cut ties with him; After all, there’s no shortage of people who can take his place — and who haven’t been caught on camera hitting their spouse.

But if somehow Goodell kept his job, you can be absolutely sure he would. at least face suspension, a fine, and certain requirements for attending counseling and/or participating in a public service announcement about domestic violence.

Again, why should the standard be different for white people?

I’m not necessarily saying Dana White should be fired. I’m a big believer in second chances, but you have to earn that second chance. White needs to have a public and proper account of his actions and how they affect not only him and his family, but also the many people who work for and with him, and the countless fighters who participate in his promotion. Yes, he issued an apology, which on the face of it seems genuine, and that’s a good start. But this is only the beginning. This shouldn’t be the end.

Work with domestic violence associations, adopt more serious principles against signing accused domestic violence fighters, stand up and be a proactive force for change. Use this “unfortunate situation” as you call it, as a catalyst to be better. This is the only way to put this incident behind you and move forward productively.

Or just quit. After all, you don’t bounce back from getting your hands on a woman.

If you or someone you know has experienced domestic violence, you can contact the US National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

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