As MMA’s premier promotion gears up for its first event of 2023, it’s doing so with a sizable dark cloud looming overhead in the form of a major controversy surrounding its leading man.
Earlier this month, TMZ obtained footage of a physical altercation between White and his wife Anne. The incident occurred while the couple celebrated New Year’s Eve at a nightclub in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
In the video, White’s wife can be seen striking him during a confrontation, with the UFC president responding with a slap of his own and a subsequent show of aggression as the pair are split up.
After the clip surfaced, along with individual statements from the couple, reactions emerged from all corners of the MMA community and beyond.
While many have condemned White’s actions, something the UFC president also did during his statement, some fans and fighters have appeared to defend the incident. In a series of tweets, UFC light heavyweight Jamahal Hill insisted that White’s wife shares the blame.
That view is certainly not held by the California Legislative Women’s Caucus, which slammed both White and the silence from Endeavor and the UFC in a letter.
Calif. Women’s Caucus Slams ‘Hypocritical’ Response To White Slap, Calls For Action
In a letter to Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel, posted on its website and social media, the political women’s advocacy group expressed “deep concern” over both Dana White’s actions and the response from the promotion and its ownership.
“We write with deep concern about the recent violent video we have seen online from the Ultimate Fighting Championship (U.F.C.) President Dana White. Our caucus, which is both bicameral and bipartisan, is composed of women across the State of California who are committed to creating better lives for women and girls.
“Given Mr. White’s previous remarks against domestic partner violence, we believed that
Endeavor and the U.FC. shared this commitment to safety, respect, and accountability.
You yourself have written extensively about the need to speak out and act when we see
things that are not in line with our values. And yet, we have seen the video of U.F.C. President Dana White, where he strikes his wife at a New Year’s Eve celebration with a closed fist. We were appalled. It was alarming to say the least.”
The letter went on to cite Emanuel’s own words surrounding the need to speak up against domestic violence, highlighting the “hypocrisy” that comes with the Endeavor CEO labeling silence as “not an option” but demonstrating the opposite following the altercation between White and his wife.
With that, the California Legislative Women’s Caucus, consisting of 18 state senators and 33 assemblywomen, called on White to be removed from his position as UFC president.
“In the days since the video was released, you have remained silent. Your continued
silence speaks volumes. As you once wrote: ‘Silence and inaction are not an option.’
We agree – and we are urging you to take immediate action. Like you, we are people
who live by our values. We, too, are people of action. We are allies against violence, advocates for women, and we are parents like yourself. This is why it is clear to us: we are calling for the immediate removal of Mr. White as President of the U.F.C.”
In justifying its call to remove White from the role, the bipartisan group of female legislators noted that Endeavor’s silence becomes more worrying with every day that passes without White facing consequences for his actions.
With that in mind, the group insisted that White must be removed in order to show that Endeavor doesn’t condone violence against women.
In a poignant remark, the letter’s conclusion reads, “The eyes of the world are on him (White) and on Endeavor.”
Many have shared a similar take in regards to the consequences White should face. However, it’s been far from unanimous, with some dismissing the notion that the 53-year-old should be let go. One prominent media member even suggested that a one-month break from the UFC would suffice.
What do you make of the letter sent to Ari Emanuel by the California Legislative Women’s Caucus?