Watching Dana White drop the hammer on Jesse Taylor during last night’s super-shocking episode of “The Ultimate Fighter”, I have to say I was filled with mixed emotions.
On one hand, everything White said to him seemed justified. He can’t have someone representing the UFC who is incapable of controlling himself after downing a few drinks. Not only does it create a bad image, but as White pointed out, this is what Jesse is like after merely fighting his way into the finals. If he’s out of control without really even winning anything yet, what’s he going to be like in six months?
Aside from Dana’s assertion that Las Vegas is “his town”, his admonition of Jesse and the punishment he handed down seemed completely appropriate.
But then I had a flashback to earlier episodes. I recalled images of Jesse drinking and breaking things, peeing his pants, and generally acting up. That’s when I had to wonder, what’s the fundamental difference between destroying a house that doesn’t belong to you and kicking out a limousine window? Hadn’t they been content to show Jesse’s antics — which you could also argue reflect poorly on the UFC and its fighters — for weeks?
This is what’s difficult for me to grasp. What, exactly, is so unforgivable about Jesse’s Las Vegas rampage that differentiates it from what he did in the house? Is it because he did it in public? Was it the fact that he “terrorized the female guests”? My point is there seems to be a very hazy line being drawn here. No one knows exactly where it is until they cross it.
I’m not saying that Jesse should be given a free pass just because the UFC allowed him to do plenty of other dumb things before this. But this is a good opportunity for the UFC to reflect on what they expect out of their fighters all the time.
There’s something hypocritical about encouraging this type of behavior when you think it makes for good TV, and then suddenly taking the high ground when it happens after the show. After we all watched Jesse Taylor piss his pants for the second time, how surprised can we be that he went crazy out on the town in Las Vegas? Where I come from, urinating on yourself is a pretty clear warning sign that maybe you have trouble controlling yourself when you drink. After that, property damage and the terrorization of female guests is right around the corner.
I understand why they want the guys to drink and get crazy in the house. It alleviates some of the monotony of the show, and it’s entertaining in a cathartic/idiotic way. I also understand why they don’t want their fighters acting like that once they’re off the show. But those are two incongruent goals, and the UFC knows it. Sooner or later, they’re going to have choose between them.