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ESPN hosts doubt Dana White will face serious punishment for wife slap: ‘Why does he decide?!?!’

Max Kellerman and J-Will spoke out against UFC’s president “punishing himself” in the aftermath of his domestic abuse incident on New Year’s Eve.

Dana White took to the stage during UFC Vegas 67 media day to address the recent scandal where he was caught on camera slapping his wife during a New Year’s Eve club night in Cabo, Mexico. The big question on many peoples’ minds is whether he will face any serious repercussions for the incident.

According to White, his punishment is that he’ll be branded as a wife beater for the rest of his life.

That’s certainly a social repercussion of getting caught hitting your wife. But, as several celebrities and athletes have pointed out, it really seems like the media picks and chooses who gets a pass and who doesn’t when it comes to situations like this. White suggested a suspension wouldn’t really be a punishment for him, but it would hurt UFC, Endeavor stock holders, and the fighters relying on him to promote the sport.

ESPN’s Max Kellerman disagreed.

In a new Keyshawn, JWill & Max Show segment discussing White’s situation and the apparent lack of consequences, Kellerman suggested a suspension would indeed hurt UFC’s president.

“I have a relationship with Dana White that goes back almost 25 years,” Kellerman said. “When he says, ‘Sitting out 30 days wouldn’t be a punishment for me’ ... yes it would be. Absolutely it would be because Dana is not an adrenaline junkie. Dana is an A-type personality that needs to go, needs to run the company, it’s something he loves. It’s a labor of love, a passion for him. So yes, it absolutely would be a punishment.

“But that’s not going to happen because he’s the one in authority,” he added. “He’s the one in the position of power. And I agree with his assessment that he owns it, he understands it, the whole thing, and he’s in the wrong, he’s not making any excuses. But, I think people have a bad reaction because this is the overlap, the Venn diagram, the shaded area of not just domestic violence, but also responsibility and how people in positions of power don’t have to answer for behavior in the same way others do. So, I think people will have a strong reaction to this.”

Former NBA player, Jay Williams, pointed out how strange it was to see White getting a pass from all the people and business entities above him.

“Why does Dana White decide or have the power to decide what his punishment is in the first place?” JWill said. “It should be out of his hands. He shouldn’t have that authority. There are people that hold positions of power within how that org structure is built that could determine what the end result would be for Dana White. I’ll just say that and leave it at that. And also, when you’re in these situations, the unapologetic tone of his statement is what rubs people the wrong way. And I get that, ‘I have to live with it,’ but how you say something matters.

“So, when your tone is that of coming from a privileged position of power, ‘Hey I am the figure in this that will determine how I feel about this’ — for people that aren’t in that position of power, that aren’t afforded the same luxuries, that turns into a big problem,” he continued. “Cuz now you’re above the law. You’re above rules. It doesn’t matter what you do, you don’t have to be contrite, you don’t have to serve suspensions. While other people do. That’s what rubs people the wrong way about it.”

“He has good personal relationships with people,” Kellerman underscored again. “I have a relationship with him that goes back a quarter century. That helps you out in these kind of times. But, there should be no ambiguity. He knows he’s wrong. The real argument for something happening is not that he doesn’t understand what he did or punishment for punishment’s sake. It’s that in a country where that’s an epidemic, you want to send a clear message culturally that this won’t be tolerated ... this is a bad thing.”

What’s interesting to us here at is how UFC regularly suspends fighters for two years under its United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) program, sometimes for dubious drug violations that lean more toward accidental exposure than anything else. It’s not even something that’s questioned at this point: Fail a USADA test, and a fighter is gone for at least one year fighting it.

Yet, here we are talking about giving UFC’d president a 30-day suspension for hitting his wife? Or rather not talking about it, because it’s certainly not looking like that will happen.

As Kellerman and J-Will said, it’s the double standard and complete insulation from consequence that bothers most people about Dana White’s current situation.

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