If there’s one thing UFC president Dana White has been consistent about over the past few years, it is his disdain for any reporting that fails to promote the UFC, himself, or the mission of the world’s largest mixed martial arts promotion.
Back in February, White initially dismissed questions about the UFC sacking athletes from the current season of The Ultimate Fighter—the day before filming for the show began—as a favor to superstar talent Conor McGregor with a terse, “I have no idea. Who gives a s—t?”
Seconds after that rebuke, however, he changed tack, essentially confirming that McGregor received some treatment above and beyond what the UFC has afforded other TUF coaches over the years.
“These stories that come out of these things… heard something earlier tonight, too, said White. “We’re working on all this stuff, and you’re trying to get guys to commit to coach… to do the coaching commitment. Especially if you live in Ireland, yeah, Conor’s gonna get some things that he wants.
“Nobody lost an opportunity here. If there were guys that were booked to do that, we’ll do something with them… It’s not just like, ‘Hey, see you later, pal. Good luck to ya. Have a good life.’ We’ll figure it out, we’ll take care of these guys.”
Two weeks ago, White cleared up any confusion about the issue, telling Pat McAfee that McGregor was allowed to bring fighters with him—(again) after the original set of competitors were already in Las Vegas before filming—and place them on TUF.
“That just happened recently where Conor McGregor was going to coach this season of The Ultimate Fighter and he’s like, ‘Yeah, I’ll do it, but I’m bringing two guys that I want to make it right onto the show.’ Then, of course, the f-cking media [says], ‘Oh, that’s not fair, and what happened to those guys?’ Shut the f-ck up. So we’ll take care of the guys that aren’t on it, and this is what Conor wants, we’ll give it to him,” said White.
The whole circus represents a well-worn tactic with White—to lead with a knee-jerk denial of whatever narrative he feels media might be pushing, only to circle around later and confirm the story. It’s easy form of spin that says, essentially, whatever the facts may be, the media has got it wrong. Even, as it turns out, if they’ve got it right.
The problem isn’t with the quality of reporting, but with the very idea of reporting something at all.
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