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Dana White to Gay UFC Fighters: It’s Safe to Come Out Now

(“…and one more for that dude who plays Spock.” Photo via Zimbio)

During yesterday’s UFC 137 press conference, UFC president Dana White made his stance known on a controversial subject in pro sports (via MMA Mania):

I’ll tell you right now, if there was a gay fighter in UFC, I wish he would come out. I could care less if there’s a gay fighter in the UFC. There probably is and there’s probably more than one. I mean, it’s 2012. Give me a break. But you’re going to have guys like Nogueira who come from Brazil, who’s got that macho, Latino — doesn’t want to roll with a gay guy. People are going to say stuff like this. But that’s the best answer I can give you is, give me a (freaking) break and be honest. Come on. We’re all human beings. We all make mistakes sometimes. It doesn’t mean that the UFC is bad and we’re unfit for children and all this other stuff. Tell you what: Out of the 375 guys, we’ve got a few lunatics, some guys that are nutty, and then we’ve got 300 and something that are incredible, awesome human beings who are inspirational to kids and adults and whoever else is a human being.”

Now, is this new support for gay fighters a reaction to the New York Culinary Workers Union trying to smear him as a homophobe? Obviously. Coming out as a supporter of gay athletes is the best public defense he could possibly make, now that the Local 226 is contacting the UFC’s sponsors and broadcast partners about the various slurs that White has used in the past, as well as the politically incorrect language used by Quinton Jackson, Michael Bisping, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, and Joe Rogan.

But I’m not taking the cynical view on this, because for one thing, I don’t believe that Dana White is a homophobe — he’s just one of those guys who grew up in an environment where “faggot” was a stand-in for “pussy,” “coward,” or any broader term of distaste. There are lots of guys like that, and while they could stand to clean up their vocabulary now that we’re deep into the 21st century, using “the other F word” isn’t the best gauge for what’s in a person’s heart. (Opposing gay marriage is a better one. Picketing soldiers’ funerals is another.)

I also think that Dana White understands the power of being associated with the first openly-gay star athlete in sports. MMA is already ahead of the pack on that front, as fighters Shad Smith and Liz Carmouche have discussed their sexual orientation in the past, receiving virtually no backlash from the MMA community at large. But Smith and Carmouche aren’t stars, and if one of the UFC’s well-known contenders or champions publicly came out as gay, it would represent a watershed moment for sports culture — maybe the first falling domino.

Other professional sports haven’t even had their Shad Smiths and Liz Carmouches yet. Will Leitch of New York Magazine wrote a recent column laying out the current cultural barometer regarding homosexuality in pro sports, pointing out that there’s never been a gay star actively playing in any of the four major sports leagues in this country, but the culture is shifting to the point where it now appears imminent. As Charles Barkley himself put it: “I’d rather have a gay guy who can play than a straight guy who can’t play…Every college player, every pro player in any sport has probably played with a gay person…I’ve been a big proponent of gay marriage for a long time, because as a black person, I can’t be in for any form of discrimination at all.”

So who wants to be that Gay Jackie Robinson? And what if it’s a big-name UFC fighter? My hope is that such a scenario would help redefine the meathead reputation of MMA, and establish MMA as more progressive and more accepting than other major sports — a great reputation to have as the UFC enters its network television phase. My fear is that fans in general still aren’t ready for it, especially in a sport that can make people uncomfortable enough as it is.


Cagepotato Comments

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jean-dell- March 28, 2013 at 4:19 pm
Dana White(IMO) is just doing what he needs to do to avoid the "gay community backlash"..

To whom it may concern--I don't think the Diaz Bros are gay. Those 2 are solid MMA fighters with attitude...problems..

HOMOSEXUALITY is not only a sexual orientation but also lifestyle/ that IMO SHOULDN'T BE SHOVED IN ANYONES FACE, kinda' like how a womanizer, or a druggie etc should keep his controversial lifestyle discreet and away from public scrutiny to prevent negative criticism and also to show respect to those who do not share/agree with your views..

MARRIAGE per the historical and religious definition is the union between a MAN and a WOMAN PERIOD...IMO-The union between the same sex shouldn't even be called a marriage but a civil union of some sort but definitely not marriage.. If this perversion, redefinition of marriage continues, who knows maybe the government will "look into" or worse "allow" the marriage between a man and a dog...All this has just opened a can of worms which can't and will not be stopped..So sad that some conservatives in the name of politics pretend to ride/side with the PRO GAY BAND WAGON..WE SHOULD ALL JUST KEEP IT REAL AND BE OURSELVES RESPECTFULLY AND POLITELY..

Re Gay MMA Fighters coming out?? IMO NO F---IN way will that be GOOD for those who don't support the "OPENLY GAY AND PROUD" cause...This IMO will just cause some fans of great MMA fighters to quit being fans of and worse "lose respect" on these fighters who "come out of the closet"..

iMO Let's not support or worse promote homosexuality, let's just respect it....PEACE!!!!!!

--JEAN :-)
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Dagnut- November 29, 2011 at 3:49 am
"we all make mistakes" brilliant PR work Mr white..fact is if someone was gay they would gain nothing by coming out ..why would they do it? So white can look like Mr Cosmopolitan?
fj1200- October 31, 2011 at 7:28 am
WOW! These homosexuals are going all out to convince us that it isn't a mental illness....
zhchff- October 29, 2011 at 7:47 am
top sex service ,top sex tool for sell…..
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Fedor Penn- October 28, 2011 at 11:41 pm
GSP be lovin some dick.
Todd M- October 28, 2011 at 10:05 pm
El Guapo and Jared B FTW, and I've always thought Hughes was gay and that he is just trying to pray that shit away.
PurplePancake- October 28, 2011 at 9:30 pm
I don't give a shit if fighters are gay. I'm watching them fight, not have sex.
Neggar Wants a Watermelon- October 28, 2011 at 5:59 pm
Nick Diaz and Nate Diaz. Totally Gay.

They even look and talk alike.
GistoftheFist- October 28, 2011 at 5:39 pm
It's COULDN'T care less dammit.
Gorgzilla- October 28, 2011 at 4:15 pm
Seth Petruzelli might not be all gay but he sure is hetero-fleksible! Also El Guapo and Skeletor has that hive-mind-thing going on. And we all know what that is a sure sign of.
JaredB- October 28, 2011 at 2:32 pm
Garcia and Cerrone's life is basically Brokeback Mountain.
smellypiratehooker- October 28, 2011 at 2:20 pm
*cough,Pat Berry, cough*
intercept440- October 28, 2011 at 2:06 pm
well we all know at least one MMA fighter who is gay. its obvious.\
Shinya aoki is most likely the culprit.
dresses as a jap school girl, wears makeup. always posing with a semi nude dude in promo pics all greased up and stuff. i mean its gotta shinya.
ben can i have a free cp shirt now?
RwilsonR- October 28, 2011 at 1:57 pm
I'm betting this is just cynical pandering to gain more support from all of the Canadian fans.
Stak40- October 28, 2011 at 1:41 pm
Warsaw-Please slap yourself. Thank You!
bescaredhomie- October 28, 2011 at 1:37 pm
what about nate quarry? remember the chris leben TUF season 1 episode?
TheWarsawExpress- October 28, 2011 at 1:36 pm
Getting mounted sexually gives the guy on bottom the dominant position anyway, dudes.
skeletor- October 28, 2011 at 1:33 pm
@bescaredhomie - There are no gays in the military.
bescaredhomie- October 28, 2011 at 1:28 pm
i wont say tim kennedy is gay....but he is very effeminate.
Rampages Conscience- October 28, 2011 at 1:27 pm
@Fried Taco, Good call on increasing the gay viewers. A 5-round fight between Jake Shields and Jon Fitch would probably be equivalent to a soft-core porn for gay dudes.
El Famous Burrito- October 28, 2011 at 1:17 pm
Was Dana saying this to GSP's face right in front of his friends?
Fried Taco- October 28, 2011 at 1:11 pm
I think DW is just trying to pull in the gay viewers to help boost UFC PPV numbers. If they had somebody to root for, then I bet the gays would love to watch two almost-naked men roll around on the ground.
El Guapo- October 28, 2011 at 1:10 pm
Wait a sec, it appears as tho I'm calling you silly. Which IS kinda funny, since you DO look pretty silly repeating what I just said. You're forgiven, Silly,
El Guapo- October 28, 2011 at 1:08 pm
Leave it to Skeletor to ruin a good thing. My posts back to back would have been money, now they're just gay. EDIT BUTTON! WHEREFOR ART THOU?