(Nope. Not even gonna go there. / Photo via Zimbio.)
After all the unexpected drama on Tuesday, I was really hoping we could put “caption-gate” behind us. Oh, if only. Following up their first report on the UFC’s demand for retraction, USA Today did a second piece with UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta which further explains why the promotion was so furious with this website. Here are some choice quotes from Fertitta:
“These fighters are already paranoid enough. Dana had to talk to Rashad on the phone for 30 minutes to calm him down, to tell him, ‘Are you crazy? There’s no way I would ever bet on a fight or bet against you.’…You’ve got to understand, Rashad’s entire team — his entire camp — was in his ear telling him they read this online and that Dana bet half a million dollars against him.”
“[CagePotato] flatout lied. They just made up a story and lied. Somebody who doesn’t know what our policies are and what we do, they could look at it in a very negative light…These guys go out and do this reckless reporting — it’s not even reporting — make these reckless statements and they end up causing us fallout and having to deal with issues. Why should we even have to deal with this stuff? They made this up and lied and put it online.”
“It didn’t read like a joke at all. If you look at the article, when you first read that, it sounds like that they were in a room with Dana, talking to him, and he says, ‘Oh,’ and he kind of made a mistake and said something, and said ‘Don’t print that.’…if I read an article like that, I would seriously believe that that actually happened and that went down.”
“We’re currently evaluating whether [the retraction was] sufficient or not. Like I said, there’s been a massive amount of fallout in the wake of them putting out something that is completely reckless in the way that they did. I don’t understand how anybody could defend what they did. It’s a very serious allegation. For them to even joke that Dana made a wager of that magnitude on one fighter versus another fighter is something that could have tremendous negative implications for the industry, for our company and a lot of different things…What if on Saturday night there’s a controversial decision that goes to Jon Jones? Which obviously is completely out of our hands. What if that happens? Can you imagine the fervor and the fallout that there would be? It would be a complete disaster.”
I feel genuinely awful that Rashad Evans had to deal with this bullshit leading up to his title fight this weekend. Still, none of this would have happened if a group of lame-brained idiots (like this one, for example) didn’t misunderstand a joke, then spread it to the UFC and Rashad’s team as if it was fact. Isn’t that reckless reporting?
Look, this wasn’t a “story we made up,” or a “lie,” or “reporting,” or even a “statement.” It was a joke in a caption that flew over the heads of a select group of morons. And we weren’t the ones responsible for spreading it as the truth. Yes, there will always be people who literally believe everything they read on the Internet, but that’s no reason to abolish satire.
And one more thing: Of all the thousands of jokes and satirical captions we’ve posted on CagePotato over the years, why did this one get interpreted and disseminated as fact? We’ve been cracking wise since 2007, and this situation has never, ever happened to us before. So why did some UFC fans — and Rashad’s entire camp, apparently — want to believe that Dana White was betting money on Jon Jones?
Part of me thinks that Rashad’s team seized on this story to fire Rashad up for his fight with Jones. As for the rest of you jackasses: What’s your excuse?