Dana White issues press release to demand retraction from website over a wisecrack

The UFC is immensely popular and has a network TV deal with FOX, but Dana White continues to remind us with his petty behavior why the organization has a long way to go before becoming mainstream.

White went all Al Davis on Tuesday and had his organization issue a press release stating their demand that MMA website CagePotato.com publish a retraction for a wisecrack they published over the weekend.

The post that caught the UFC’s eye was one pointing out that light heavyweight champion Jon Jones will be officially sponsored by the UFC for his upcoming fight with Rashad Evans. That fact seems to indicate that the organization is more invested in Jones than Evans. Cage Potato turned that into a wisecrack as a caption for a photo on the post in question. Here’s a screenshot (via Bloody Elbow) of the caption that angered White:

White took offense to the suggestion that he was betting on his fights, completely ignoring that it was obviously a joke by a website based on humor, not news reporting.

Here’s the press release they sent in response:

[The UFC] today announced that it served a demand for retraction upon the parent entities and executives of the website CagePotato regarding certain false and defamatory statements attributed to UFC® President, Dana White, in an April 14th website posting.

As detailed in the formal demand for a retraction prepared by UFC® attorney, Donald J. Campbell of the Las Vegas law firm, Campbell & Williams:

“The claim that Mr. White would financially wager on the outcome of a UFC® event is outrageous in the extreme. Indeed, in the verified complaint we are presently preparing for Mr. White’s signature upon his return from Abu Dhabi, Mr. White expressly states under oath that at no time in the history of his association with the UFC® has he ever financially wagered on the outcome of a UFC® event.”

Mr. Campbell further explained that under Nevada law a demand for retraction is the first required step in the filing of a lawsuit seeking punitive damages against a party that has maliciously published defamatory statements about another.

I can’t even tell you how ridiculously Draconian of a response that is from the UFC. We’ve previously pointed out that their consummate desire to own and control everything — especially the press — is a major turnoff for news outlets. In their quest to control money, information, news and opinions, they’re limiting freedom of speech and sacrificing coverage.

There are some things the UFC should just let go. A wisecrack on a website many people haven’t heard of is not something they should be issuing a press release about. And if White is concerned with the perception of his relationship with Jon Jones, then he shouldn’t be appearing in commercials with him and no other fighters. What kind of message of favoritism does that send to the fans and all other fighters?

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  • Simon Cason

    You can’t be serious.  Dana has a very good reason to be pissed. Cagepotato’s intent may of been humorous, but it was far from obvious. The problem with sites like CP is as much as they try to hide behind being a humorous, it just doesn’t cut it when along with all the supposed satire pieces, they also report on legitimate news, make legitimate posts on real stories and make no effort to distinguish the two. You add in the fact that that caption supposedly quoting Dana had actual quotation marks around it, making that statement hard to determine if Dana had said it as well. Add in the fact that the original post was an actual news story and in no way was intended as satire, then most people will see how this is a huge problem. MMA media is full of fanboys with little to no background in actual journalism, who only got into covering MMA in the first place was to score some attention from a small, fast growing sport and possibly some one on one time with the sports legendary athletes. Not to mention it’s not entirely hard to create a blog and call yourself a legitimate sports page, then it becomes obvious that we aren’t dealing with the smartest people with any discretion whatsoever.

    The fact that Dana is the head of an organization who’s majority owners are Casino owners and the fact that Dana deals with Casinos associated with gambling anytime they visit Vegas or New Jersey and put on a show in either state, then it’s simple to understand why Dana would take offense to idiots creating quotes from thin air. I’ve visited CP for years and even I can’t tell you when they are being serious  or when they are just being stupid. Added to all this is the fact that Dana had to go after CP once before for posting (leaking) Arianny Celeste’s Playboy pic’s before they hit the news stands, and Dana’s history with dealing with blogs and websites that take full advantage of the fact that they don’t have to live up to the same standard that most legitimate sports news sites have to aadhereto, then it’s pretty obvious why he’s pissed and this is a huge headache for him to deal with. You have to understand, MMA doesn’t have the same liberty that the big 4 have, NFL doesn’t have to worry too much about what some small blog has to say about Roger Goodell.  MMA is different in that since it’s inception, UFC has been covered on the internet by several websites that are still around today. But that’s as far as it’s history can go back. NFL has been around for decades. MMA has a history longer than that, just not in the form that it is today, i.e. being brought together under on organization. Martial Arts in general have been around for centuries.

    In summation, this IS a big problem. We have freedom of spspeechn this country. But what we don’t have is the liberty to make up quotes that paint certain important people in a light that isn’t in anyway true. Some people have brought up the fact that Dana, on camera, brought to light the fact that he and the head of the now defunct PRIDE FC organization that Chuck Liddell would win their one night tournament. While that did take place, on camera none the less, he made the bet as a spectator. He had no way of influencing the fight. It’s a big difference when you make a bet as a spectator and when you are the president of an organization and you are betting on your own fighters. Dana’s not stupid. He’s made some mistakes, just like everyone else in the history of mankind. But this is not one of them.