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UFC boss Dana White on slapping wife: ‘This is how I’m labeled’

May 6, 2022; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; UFC president Dana White during weigh ins for UFC 274 at the Arizona Federal Theatre. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

UFC president Dana White regrets slapping his wife in Mexico on New Year’s Eve, but said no further punishment is necessary for the incident caught on video.

White opened his press conference Wednesday by addressing the matter, which followed reports from ESPN’s in-house mixed-martial arts reporters that the Disney Corporation had prohibited journalists from reporting on the incident.

In the video, White shoves his wife, Anne, to the ground after retaliating from a slap to the face. White first slapped his wife twice before the two-hand shove.

“We’ve had plenty of discussions internally,” White said, speaking at UFC Apex before the first event of the year in the Las Vegas arena. “With (media rights CEO) Ari (Emanuel), ESPN. Nobody is happy about this. Neither am I. But it happened and I have to deal with it. What is my punishment? Here is my punishment: I gotta walk around … and this is how I’m labeled.”

Saying he was surprised by the support he received via social media, White said he stands by his previous public position that “you never bounce back from putting your hands on a woman,” but said he doesn’t want fighters or fans to defend him.

Prominent UFC fighter Daniel Cormier said others need to stop defending White, because he already stated he was wrong.

“Dana White was wrong,” Cormier told ESPN. “He told you he was wrong. We have long been told our entire lives that we are not supposed to put our hands on women. Dana White himself has gone on record himself to say, ‘You are not supposed to put your hands on women.’ He understands that. He took accountability immediately.”

White, 53, said he isn’t aware of any formal punishment coming his way.

“What should the repercussions be? You tell me,” White said. “I take 30 days off? How does that hurt me? I told you guys when we were going through COVID, COVID could last 10 years. I could sit it out. It’s much like COVID actually. Me leaving hurts the company, hurts my employees, hurts the fighters. It doesn’t hurt me. I could’ve left in 2016. You know what I mean? I don’t know. Do I need to reflect? No, I don’t need to reflect. The next morning when I woke up (I reflected). I’ve been against this. I’ve owned this. I’m telling you that I’m wrong.”

–Field Level Media