While the head of his management firm remains uncharacteristically silent, Dana White, the bald, brawny face of big-budget mixed-martial arts entertainment, can add the California Legislative Women’s Caucus to the list of those seeking his removal as head of the UFC, after he was videotaped ringing in the New Year with some domestic partner abuse, Cagesidepress reports.
In a letter Tuesday, the women’s advocacy group called upon Ari Emanuel, CEO of the UFC’s parent company, Endeavor, to remove White as head of the UFC, citing the tonal clash between previous public statements by both Emanuel and White and grim video evidence from the fishbowl-like VIP section of a Cabo San Lucas nightclub, in which White hits Anne White, his wife of 26 years, in a drunken altercation.
As Variety notes, Endeavor’s notorious CEO is rarely shy about opining on the misbehavior of other entertainment figures, writing one op-ed that excoriated the “cartoonish clown show” of antisemite Ye West, and urging Hollywood to ban Mel Gibson “even if it means a sacrifice to their bottom line.” His silence about White has drawn attention to the outsized role the UFC plays in Endeavor’s entertainment portfolio, posting $288.5 million in Q3 revenues. (Endeavor, which went public in April 2021, posted $1.4 billion in Q3 revenues overall.)
Urging companies to boycott West in an open letter to the Financial Times, Emanuel wrote that “silence is not an option”—thus queuing up the Women’s Caucus riposte: “In the days since the video was released, you have remained silent. Your continued silence speaks volumes. As you once wrote: ‘Silence and inaction are not an option.’”
The letter, signed by State Senator Nancy Skinner and Assemblywoman Cecilia Aguiar-Curry continues: “Given Mr. White’s previous remarks against domestic partner violence, we believed that Endeavor and the U.F.C. shared this commitment to safety, respect, and accountability. You yourself have written extensively about the need to speak out and act when we see things that are not in line with our values.”
In fact, White himself spoke out about his behavior, in a notably “meta” interview with TMZ: “You’ve heard me say for years, ‘There’s never ever an excuse for a guy to put his hands on a woman. And now here I am on TMZ talking about it.” A statement the Women’s Caucus found less than convincing, calling for concrete action.
“At this point, thousands of young men, women, and adults worldwide have seen the video of Mr. White striking his wife,” the group states. “We have also seen his apology. What we have not seen is any consequences for his actions.”
This issue may prove more pressing as people increasingly source a few of today’s more problematic males to the world of mixed martial arts.
“Mr. White is not only the external face of the U.F.C., he is the leader who sets the expectations for the athletes as well,” write the members of the Women’s Caucus. “The eyes of the world are on him and on Endeavor.”
But Emanuel, thus far, appears to have tapped out.
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