Chris Leben was one of the most popular UFC fighters of his generation. Nobody will claim that ‘The Crippler’ had the most skills but he always fought his heart out. Leben allegedly once asked White how he should pay his taxes after one paycheck. Then the UFC President said that he’d deal with it personally.
Unfortunately, he didn’t live up to his word and left Leben in a hole. White shamelessly told FOX Sports that Leben had years of back taxes to pay. It didn’t matter that he said that he would help his so-called friend. Leben should have hired an accountant but White messed up badly.
White infamously has a petty personality and holds grudges against everybody who crosses him. He hates the UFC pioneer Frank Shamrock and even blocked his entry to the Hall of Fame. This is ridiculous because his grievances shouldn’t stand in the way of this honor (via SBNation).
The UFC President claims that he has nothing but respect for anybody who steps into the cage. But he proved time and again that this isn’t true. He had better relationships with athletes in the early days because the roster was smaller. However, as it expanded and White became richer, he became increasingly abusive.
The UFC notoriously underpays its fighters, the very athletes who comprise their product. White has no shame in throwing lavish million-dollar birthday parties for his children. He also ruined a vacation by losing another million at a card game. He makes his money from people who cause potential life-changing damage to each other (via Forbes).
One of the ways the UFC exploited athletes was by forcing them to wear their uniforms. They signed a deal with Reebok in 2014 and fighters lost the right to wear personal sponsors. This cost them a lot of money but they didn’t have a choice. But White still had the cheek to refer to them as independent contractors.
The UFC and White like to say that fighters follow a code of conduct. But they rarely enforce this code when fighters engage in distasteful activity. One of the most recent trends saw high-profile athletes travel to Chechnya. Then they posed and ‘trained’ with the sanctioned warlord Ramzan Kadyrov (via The Sun).
Kadyrov is one of the most brutal dictators in the world. His regime brutalizes ethnic minorities and homosexuals. But this didn’t bother fighters like Justin Gaethje and Kamaru Usman. Nor has it fazed White who has nothing to say about it. The UFC participates in Pride month but didn’t practice what it preached.
Georges St-Pierre was a goldmine for White and the UFC. The Montreal native is arguably the greatest fighter ever and defended the welterweight title a record number of times. But he stepped away after a controversial win over Johnny Hendrick in 2013. This enraged White, who took the champion’s belt out of the cage in a petulant move.
He also criticized St-Pierre in front of the media and said that the Canadian had to defend his title. Previously, White hyped up the former champ and said that he was the best in the world. When GSP had nothing left to give, White showed his true colors and became a problem (via SBNation).
White is capable of descending to unbelievable levels of pettiness. We spoke already about how his relationship with Randy Couture deteriorated. But he took this to the extreme when he banned the UFC legend from all of the promotion’s events. This became an issue when Couture’s son, Ryan, joined the welterweight division.
Couture wanted to be in his son’s corner but White personally intervened. This drove a wedge between the two men as White demonstrated his malicious nature. He spoke about champions deserving respect but didn’t practice what they preached. Couture deserved better than this shoddy treatment (via USA Today Sports).
Everybody knows that White has a dysfunctional relationship with his mother. She claimed that he also neglected his elderly grandma before her death. Allegedly the nonagenarian lived in a trailer park for 40 years. White’s mother said that this was the source of tension between them.
She said: “Dana has done nothing to be sure that she is comfortable and that she doesn’t have to stress over having money for everyday living expenses at her age (via Sportskeeda).” Later, she alleged that White promised to pay for medical treatments. But again, he didn’t practice what he preached.
One of the UFC’s dirtiest tricks is announcing fights before athletes sign contracts. This is a pressure tactic that gets fans excited and forces the fighters to play ball. If they claim that they didn’t agree, White will say that they’re too afraid of their opponent. It’s a ridiculous and predictable sequence of events but some people believe it.
However, sometimes it backfires on the UFC. Once, White said that Lil’ Nog was going to fight Alexander Gustafsson but didn’t realize the Brazilian had an injury. He also tried to pull the same trick with Israel Adesanya. The powerful New Zealander refused to back down and the UFC eased off the gas (via The Sun).
If there’s one person in the world who hates White, it’s his mother, June. She wrote a tell-all autobiography in 2011 and accused her offspring of various nefarious acts. Mrs. White alleged that he slept with many ring girls and female fighters as he exploited his powerful position.
She also exposed his damaged relationship in an interview (via Sportskeeda). “His marriage is a joke,” she said. “Everyone knows he puts Tiger Woods to shame, he has plenty of the ring card girls sleeping with him. He slept with his sister-in-law in my house which made me absolutely furious. He goes after any girl he wants and usually gets them.”
White’s recent scandal isn’t the first time that domestic violence stained the UFC. Jon Jones was also involved in an unsavory incident but reached a plea deal. Arguably, the most contentious in recent years was when the promotion signed former NFL star Greg Hardy (via The Guardian).
Hardy became a persona non grata in football after a disgusting battery incident. But this didn’t stop the UFC from ‘giving him a second chance.’ White made no apology for the promotion’s decision and said he wasn’t playing games with the media. However, he proved that didn’t practice what he preached about women’s safety.
UFC fans hated Greg Hardy and booed him every time he fought. But the promotion made one of the most despicable and tone-deaf decisions ever in 2019. They booked the woman beater on the same card as a domestic abuse survivor. White isn’t responsible for making fights but he influences all of the major decisions.
Rachel Ostovich suffered a broken orbital after her husband hit her during a home dispute. Later, she said that she had no issue with the booking. Nonetheless, the UFC shouldn’t have put her in that position. They also didn’t consider the wider impact on women who live with abusive partners (via ESPN).
White claims that the UFC is at the forefront of studying CTE and post-fight brain trauma. They pretend to care about the fighters but they exploit the for millions of dollars. His cold reaction to news of Spencer Fisher’s brain problems tells fans all they need to know (via Essentially Sports).
Then he outraged many fight fans by agreeing on a deal with the Slapfighting League. This competition sees opponents stand across from each other and exchange undefended blows. However, it appears that it fell apart after he slapped his wife on camera in Cabo. If it wasn’t horrific it would almost be ironic.
Let’s be fair and point out that White doesn’t make all of the decisions for the UFC. In recent years, Hunter Campbell plays a more important role in the business. But he is the face of the organization and can say what he believes. He shamelessly approved the removal of fighter sponsors from their uniforms.
Then they rubbed it in their faces by signing a deal with Crypto.com, a trading platform. Needless to say, the fighters didn’t receive a nickel from this new sponsor. This is shameful because every athlete should have the opportunity to flaunt at least one endorsement (via Forbes India).
Conor McGregor is the biggest superstar in MMA history. Nobody transcended the sport like him, for better or for worse. However, ‘The Notorious’ lives a colorful life outside of the cage. Now he spends more time breaking the law than fighting. McGregor committed assaults, destroyed personal property, and broke speed limits.
Nonetheless, the UFC refuses to sanction McGregor despite his rampant lawbreaking. That’s because he’s a major cash cow and they don’t want to upset him. Instead of making an example out of McGregor, White tolerates his baggage. He wouldn’t do this with another fighter because they wouldn’t have the upside (via The Mirror).
The UFC President says one thing when it suits him but will change his mind in a flash. He infamously had a terrible relationship with former Bellator champion, Ben Askren. The American didn’t join the UFC until late in his career because of his bad connection with the bald one. They even traded insults on social media.
But business is business and they overcame their differences with the help of Joe Rogan. Suddenly, White was raving about Askren because he saw the opportunity to make a lot of money. Askren achieved a lot of popularity quickly and attracted fans, so White changed his tune.
We’ve referred to this a few times already but White loves reminding fans that UFC fighters are private contractors. In theory, this allows the promotion to bypass unions, pension schemes, and other common practices. This is the difference between the UFC and other sporting big leagues (via MMA Fighting).
However, the reality is that they didn’t practice what they preached. They force the fighters to hand over their image rights for video games and other merchandise. Meanwhile, the athletes don’t see a dime in compensation. They also don’t get to use their sponsors and have to wear UFC-branded apparel.
Fedor Emelianenko is arguably the best fighter who never competed in the UFC. The Russian heavyweight king achieved an incredible mystique for his efforts outside of the promotion. He competed for PRIDE and Bellator amongst many others. But he blamed Dana White for his absence from the UFC and claims he didn’t practice what he preached.
He believed that White despises fighters despite his sugarcoated words (via Bleacher Report). “I just felt like ‘this guy, he just hates us,” ‘The Last Emperor’ said. “Like, personally too. Insults were coming from Dana White all the time. There were many very loud things said, but for real nothing happened.”
In 2020, White had an unsavory sex-tape lawsuit. He denied that he cheated on his life but what’s more important is that people believed it. A devious schemer blackmailed White after allegedly sleeping with a Brazilian dancer. If it’s true, he’s not being very respectful to his long-suffering wife.
White believes that family is very important or at least that’s what he says. The reality is that he doesn’t practice what he preaches. Many fighters accused White of having relationships with ring girls and female fighters including Ronda Rousey. These allegations may be untrue but they’re frequent (via The Sun).
Nobody will pretend that Fitch is the most exciting fighter who ever lived. However, there’s no denying that he had an effective fighting style because he went on multiple long winning streaks. In the end, the UFC refused to re-sign him because he refused to give them his video game image rights.
It infuriated Fitch that he wouldn’t receive any remuneration. Dana White likes to say that fighters are independent contractors but he didn’t practice what he preached. He didn’t create the contract but he did rant in public about Fitch’s sense of entitlement (via MMA Fighting).
Former MMA referee and current Bellator commentator, ‘Big’ John McCarthy revealed one wild exchange between Brendan Schaub and Dana White. The latter pair were in a verbal dispute when Schaub allegedly said: “This isn’t how Eskimo brothers act.” This is slang for two men who have slept with the same woman.
McCarthy also told the Weighing-In Podcast that he knew what Schaub was referring to. This suggested that there was truth behind Schaub’s statement. The experienced ref said that this instantly silenced White and it didn’t refer to his wife. There’s no denying that he’s a seedy individual.
The UFC partnered with USADA in 2015 as they sought to clean up the sport. They believed that this would help MMA enter the mainstream and achieve more respect. However, White didn’t practice what he preached. He knew about several occasions when fighters took steroids but didn’t act (via Clutchpoints).
Vitor Belfort infamously used PEDs before USADA’s introduction. He caused life-changing damage to several fighters but White didn’t intervene. However, the Brock Lesnar vs. Mark Hunt scandal was even worse. White allegedly supported this short-notice match-up even though Lesnar was on more juice than a racehorse.
This is easily the most contentious moment of Dana White’s public life so far. The media deserves a lot of criticism because many of them focused on his apology. ESPN also allegedly pressured its staff not to light the flames on Twitter. White hit his wife in public and destroyed his remaining credibility (via TMZ).
He once said that nobody can come back from hitting a woman. But he didn’t practice what he preached. Some people said that it was self-defense because she also hit him first after he grabbed her arm. However, no man should ever lay hands on a woman. This was too much for even some of his defenders to accept.