ESPN appears to be in full damage control mode following Dana White’s New Year’s antics.
A video surfaced this week (Mon., Jan. 2, 2023) of White in a Cabo San Lucas, Mexico nightclub alongside his wife, Anne White. Unfortunately, the vacation took a turn for the worst after the couple got into a brief altercation, trading slaps with Ultimate Fighting Championship’s (UFC) President landing multiple blows after being initially struck by his partner.
UFC, ESPN, or any affiliated parties haven’t released any official statements regarding any possible repercussions for White’s actions. White himself already apologized and owned up to his actions along with the release of the footage. Some comments from ESPN employees have spoken on the matter, but in a more “tame” manner than anything else. Today (Thurs., Jan. 5, 2023), however, staff writer, Jeff Wagenheim, revealed that the company has told everyone to avoid sharing any negative public reactions to the incident.
“We’ve been told to not write anything incendiary on social media about the Dana White situation, and I understand why and have abided by that,” Wagenheim quoted tweeted to Stephen A. Smith’s reaction. “I just ask y’all to understand that some of us at ESPN do not have as soft a take as this on domestic violence.”
UPDATE: Wagenheim followed up on his comments shortly after his initial tweet.
“Clarification: There was no edict from ESPN bosses regarding the White situation, but in general we are strongly discouraged from incendiary posts on social media, and with a business partner things are sensitive,” Wagenheim quote tweeted himself. “My bad on the wording. (The thought that follows still stands.)”
The only consequences to come from White’s incident thus far have impacted the new Power Slap League, which was set to air on the TBS network next week (Weds., Jan. 11, 2023). Power Slap’s television debut was postponed, however, as TBS revealed today that it's pushing the launch back one week to Jan. 18, 2023. “Strong discussions” were had regarding pulling the plug on the concept altogether.
UFC kicks off its 2023 schedule next weekend with UFC Vegas 67, airing on ESPN+ and featuring a Middleweight tilt between rising contender, Nassourdine Imavov, and divisional mainstay, Kelvin Gastelum.