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Dana White Still Dreams of a Socialist Utopia for the MMA Media

("’People think they have taken quite an extraordinarily bold step forward when they have rid themselves of belief in hereditary monarchy and swear by the democratic republic. In reality, however, the state is nothing but a machine for the oppression of one class by another, and indeed in the democratic republic no less than in the monarchy.’ That’s Friedrich Engels, bitch. Deal with it." PicProps: Business

Remember that report from earlier this month where Dana White alleged that some MMA journalists were either being so influenced by ad revenue that they were cooking the books on fighter rankings or, even worse, out-and-out selling their votes to the highest bidder? Well, despite the fact that story is obviously totally fucking ridiculous, Big DW is sticking to it. In fact, he’s taking it a step further, implying this week in an interview with MMAJunkie – yes, that one – that MMA websites shouldn’t be considered “news sites” if they (gasp!) try to make money off their work.

“My biggest beef with a lot of these MMA websites is that these guys are for-profit websites,” White told the Junkie during one of his trademark, seemingly only partly thought-out rants. “They’re not [expletive] news sites. They’re for-profit websites."

These comments come on the heels of White’s earlier suggestion that the MMA media is somehow “in it for the money” and the sentiment itself isn’t particularly surprising, given that the UFC brass has historically had a tough time grappling with the idea that the media doesn’t work for them and isn’t responsible for advancing their agenda. However, the above statement is a bit more troubling than all that, because it seems to show that despite his own vast fortune, White also may not understand the basic workings of free-market capitalism.

If he did, he’d know that every privately-owned media organization in the country – and most of the world – are for-profit ventures. ESPN, Sports Illustrated, Fox News, NBC, ABC, CBS, The Associated Press, the fucking Wenatchee World, are all charged with the task of making money of their owners and paying their employees a wage in exchange for services. Actually, the notion that newspapers and magazines need to turn a profit to survive has been causing a bit of a stir lately. Maybe you’ve heard about it.

Truth is, as media members we are, as White contends, in it for the money. We are as much “in it for the money” as a plumber, a house painter or, say, an MMA fight promoter. We’re in it for the money because we have to be, because it’s one of the basic tenets of our economic system. It’s not perfect, but it’s how things have been working around here for, oh, about the last 230-odd years. If Dana White has a problem with it he should take it up with Adam Smith. There are other ways to run a country, but they’ve so far yielded mixed results.

But given his quote, I’m not sure how White thinks the media works in America or where guys like Rick Reilly and Bill Simmons – who DW was talking to when he first brought up this topic — get their substantial monthly paychecks. The idea that MMA websites or any other media outlets would somehow function as nonprofit organizations is, well, laughable.

The real issue at hand is that White is continually irked that Fedor Emelianenko remains at the top of many sites’ heavyweight and pound-for-pound lists and when he’s irked he often says things without thinking them through. Honestly, he might have a point about Fedor’s fitness as the No.1 fighter in the world but instead of alleging a vast conspiracy, here’s a different idea: Whether right or wrong, the MMA writers who continue to vote Emelianenko No.1 do it because they actually believe he’s the best. Make peace with that. If any of them are selling spots in their rankings they’re complete scumbags and excellent swindlers, given that MMA polls are meaningless and are only offered so fans have something interesting to argue about in forums and comment areas. Who in their right minds would pay anyone for faking that?

Furthermore, I have the sneaking feeling that if the UFC were to suddenly sign Fedor, most of White’s gripes about MMA rankings would suddenly disappear. The UFC’s selective memory is pretty good like that.

As a side note and regardless of the job he thinks the MMA media is doing, doesn’t it seem like White, of all people – the former aerobics instructor and alleged producer of dramatic television series (Ed. Note: Hey, whatever happened to that Irish mob show, anyway? That sounded really great.) – should be a little more understanding of other dudes trying to make a "for-profit" living? I guess when you’re a multimillionaire whose riches were built largely on the physical abilities of others, it has a way of changing your perspective.

Cagepotato Comments

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glassjawsh- June 20, 2010 at 9:56 am
i like dana white as a promoter i really do. guy really seems to give a shit about the sport and about the (paying) fans. but i am more and more beginning to realize what a total selfish semi ignorant cock monkey this man is.

um hey...dick!....the world is not set up exclusively for your gain. you are not George Bush and don't have the power to force people to do what you want so that you look better and you and your friends can make more money. media members need to survive and being for profit is actually an awesome thing because it drives up the quality of coverage that these websites are able to bring to us the fans.

if anything DW should be THANKING the mma online community for spreading the word that is the UFC. when spike reaches a casual and gets them to buy a random card or two, the online community grabs those casuals and turns them into hardcores that BUY ALMOST EVERY ONE OF YOUR FUCKING SHOWS!!!

these online websites that you seem to hate so much are the backbone of your very industry, without them there would be no "floor" as it were to buyrates and the crappy shows would lose A LOT of money. instead of ripping on negative pr just be thankful that there is a thriving community out there that is basically doing your work for you (and probably better)

Mex- June 20, 2010 at 8:35 am
When it comes to the "media" I refuse to even consider the opinion of a man behind the company whose magazine puts an article titled "Snap or Tap: The Armbar Dilemma" anywhere in their magazine, let alone the fucking cover. Fuck you for that, Dana White.
Meeaaat- June 20, 2010 at 4:12 am
"If any of them are selling spots in their rankings they’re complete scumbags and excellent swindlers, given that MMA polls are meaningless and are only offered so fans have something interesting to argue about in forums and comment areas. Who in their right minds would pay anyone for faking that?"

Actually, fighters have come out and said that they use these "meaningless" rankings as leveraging tools in their contract negotiations to help determine what they think they should be paid.

While I think this is a small part of why Dana doesn't like Fedor being ranked #1 by some sites, I think it's much more for the sake of fan perception. He wants the UFC to be perceived as having all of the top fighters in the world, and they do... except for Fedor.
seinkonnen- June 20, 2010 at 3:57 am
"...whose riches were built largely on the physical abilities of others."

I enjoyed your article up until this point, wherein you just end up sounding rather childish and ignorant. Truth is, Dana White is one of the hardest working individuals I've ever seen. And considering the fact that he already has all the money he'd ever need, I think a little respect is in order for the incredible amount of effort he continuously puts in. You don't see very many--if any--company presidents busting their balls for the sake of their company like Dana White does.

I think it would be more appropriate to say that people like Chuck Liddell and Georges St. Pierre owe their livelihood almost exclusively to Dana White... Or to use your terminology, "whose riches were built largely on the mental abilities of others." Without Dana, neither of them would have the vast fortunes that they do now, and certainly none of us would have any idea of who they are.
ThrashingMad- June 19, 2010 at 8:49 pm
Hey guys, the new issue of UFC Magazine is on newsstands now!

Now what's this about profit influenced media?
mobish- June 19, 2010 at 6:28 pm
Awesome post. That is all.
leonard cohen- June 19, 2010 at 6:19 pm

Genius line!
Almost North- June 19, 2010 at 5:53 pm
The shitbag form, a classic. Wittgenstein also discussed it early in his career.

Ok I admit I just wanted to put shitbag and Wittgenstein in the same post. Damn that guy.
mt59801- June 19, 2010 at 5:48 pm
Open letter to Mr. D. White,

Dear Mr. White,

After reviewing your recent comments regarding non profit MMA journalism, I would like you to know that all of my insightful, witty, commentary on this website has been submitted free of charge. Given the fact that I am a non-profit, freelance amateur writer who is in possession of color commentary skills that are on par with Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg I would humbly ask that you kiss my fucking ass and lay off the crack pipe.

shitbag- June 19, 2010 at 5:12 pm
Jeeze CP, bustin out the Engels on us. Sheesh. I really don't think Dana made it past Machiavelli.

Hey Dana: Shut your fuckin mouth and just put on the fights.

I believe that's a form of Kant categorical imperative.
KarmaAteMyCat- June 19, 2010 at 4:39 pm
Fuck it, I'll give you a thousand dollars right now to remove Fedor from the PFP list.
mjmcnns- June 19, 2010 at 4:35 pm
Meh, Dana's right about the overall credibility and lousiness of the MMA "media."

The reality is MMA is a young sport and has a young media. I don't mean that in terms of the age of the people who cover the sport, but simply the duration people have been covering it.

There are a ton of idiots with websites who conduct interviews, write "articles", opinion pieces and create rankings that get more attention than they would in other mainstream sports.

Overall the quality of the MMA media is reprehensible because the majors haven't truly gotten on board. While obviously White's comments about being in it to make a buck are irrelevant, I don't think it's inconceivable for him to argue that it's "cool" to have an anti-UFC bias in parts of the community and that desire to fit in results in skewed rankings. Also, Strikeforce and other promotions often buy advertising space on MMA websites ... again it's not unlikely that some people are taking care to ensure those dollars continue to flow.

At the end of the day, butthurt rants like this one undermine the credibility and maturity of the MMA media. I thing this is a quality of the site, but I don't feel this particular production helps your efforts any.
dogpt3- June 19, 2010 at 4:33 pm
That was the stupidest shit ive heard Dana say. Obviously all news sites are for profit and just as biased as any website is.

I am a huge Dana fan, mostly for the way he has made a shit ton of money and doesnt give a fuck what people think, but right now he sounds worse than Koscheck and P.J. Benn at a cocktail party after a few too many Mojitos.
ccman- June 19, 2010 at 4:04 pm
No idea bout the money trail here but I'm pretty certain love\hate of promotion definitly influences votes as much as fighters actual skill level.

And dunno bout promoters payin but sponsors blocked out of the ufc only paying sites that slam the ufc or fluff votes for non-zuffa fighters? Could see that seeing some of the people who get votes.
mynameisalsoben- June 19, 2010 at 4:00 pm
Asked to comment on Fedor's remarks about the UFC's 'negativity', White responded:
"Fuck negativity. I say nothing but positive shit that pushes this fucking sport to the next fucking level. Fedor only said that because he gets paid from the fucking websites that rank him #1. Hey I know it doesn't make any sense but that's the fucking truth motherfucker. These so-called websites (White used finger quotes while saying 'websites') and those crazy fucking Russians don't play by the rules, they don't have the fucking moral decency that I demonstrate 24 hours of every fucking day."
dranokills- June 19, 2010 at 3:42 pm
I think the Mormons and the russians have fucked Mr Dana's little noodle up.
BUT then again I think the skin of new dad, and ben are showing a tad thin with this article. come on now boys we are better than that, don't let it get to ya.
another words...stop whining you bleeding pussies :)
Jim Harbaugh Scramble- June 19, 2010 at 2:56 pm
Just a great post.

Excellent work.

I'm glad that there is an MMA blog that provides insightful content rather than rantings about Mormon influences running the UFC out of Utah.
knightrida- June 19, 2010 at 2:50 pm
Somebody get badmarthafocker a t-shirt for that line!

@ Dick-misanthropenis

You got the quote mixed up. I think Goldberg said, "Back on the farm, really beat on each other they used to..... was Matt and his brother."
Robdamob- June 19, 2010 at 2:38 pm
dana is bald and angry
Almost North- June 19, 2010 at 2:22 pm
I'm sure Dana's ass isn't the first male ass to contain the hand of a Fertita brother.
Dick_Misanthropenis- June 19, 2010 at 2:19 pm
"When opportunity knocked on his door, he responded by opening the gate to the octagon."

-Mike Goldberg
Dick_Misanthropenis- June 19, 2010 at 2:17 pm
"Back when they were boys on the farm, Matt and his brother used to go out behind the barn and really beat on each other."

-Mike Goldberg, Professor Emeritus of Excellent Phraseology Positioning and Microphone Control in Cageside Broadcast Journalism

I get a kick out of Dana's stand up. He's a great insult comedian with his "For me to poop on!" and humping jokes. I just always wonder who's hand is in his ass pulling the strings behind the podium.
failingev0lution- June 19, 2010 at 2:15 pm
Good article, smart, funny, and well written. +1
TheArtof8Limbs- June 19, 2010 at 2:13 pm
Shatski- June 19, 2010 at 1:46 pm
Heh. I like that, badmarthafocker.

Maybe Dana saw how fast the more recent Irish mob shows crumbled and decided the market for them sucked. The Black Donnellys folded pretty fast on NBC and Brotherhood had a three season run, not spectacular, on Showtime. Seems like there was a small flood of those to cash in on the success of The Departed, but they never caught on for too long if at all. Maybe if it was more in the vein of cult favorite The Boondock Saints, it would do better.