UFC President Dana White was seen slapping his wife in grainy nightclub footage that emerged late last week from Cabo. The “embarrassed” Las Vegas fight boss was quick to apologize for his actions and attributed the incident to a night of heavy drinking and hard partying.
That was the last anyone heard on the matter and it appears UFC and its parent company Endeavor have no plans to address it further or announce any disciplinary action. White — who once referred to a female reporter as a “dumb bitch” — has been president of UFC since 2001.
“There’s a danger of having a double standard, where athletes get held accountable for acts of domestic violence and owners don’t,” Liz Roberts, CEO of victim assistance organization Safe Horizon, told Variety. “There does need to be some accountability here, and that’s setting a consistent standard. This is a moment to really stand up and say, ‘No, that’s not what we’re doing anymore.’”
In addition to running UFC, which helped lead Endeavor to record profits, White is also the figurehead for the new Power Slap league that will air later this month on TBS. The promotion is centered around contestants who slap each other in the face until one of them is no longer fit to compete.
California Legislative Women’s Caucus recently penned a letter to Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel calling for immediate action. The bipartisan group consists of 17 state Senators and 32 state Assemblywomen, including Senator Nancy Skinner (Chair) and Assemblywoman Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (Vice Chair).
Here’s a quick snippet:
Every day that Mr. White’s actions go unaccounted for, your silence becomes more piercing and troubling. At this point, thousands of young men, women, and adults worldwide have seen the video of Mr. White striking his wife. We have also seen his apology. What we have not seen is any consequences for his actions.
The head of a major sporting organization cannot claim to be for the safety of women while a video of him striking his wife continues to circulate online without a response from you. The hypocrisy is astounding. Enough is enough. It is time to remove Mr. White from his leadership role, to allow him and his partner to get the help they need while reminding the world of what Endeavor stands for and that violence against women is not a conduct that you condone.
Read the full letter here.
White has taken a hardline stance against UFC fighters with a history of domestic violence, with a few exceptions, but does not appear to be holding himself to his own standard. As a result, Endeavor has come under fire in recent days for ignoring the issue in what the mainstream media claims is a planned strategy to “let the flame die down.”
As of this writing, Endeavor has yet to comment.