(Dana White’s “I’m not the president of a massive company” pose, typically used by presidents of massive companies. / Photo via Getty.)
A few years ago, Matt Brown’s recent, sexist comments about women’s MMA wouldn’t have rocked the boat much. Some people would’ve complained, citing such infractions of decency as the reason why the UFC wasn’t where the NFL was in terms of mainstream appeal. Dana White would’ve simply responded “Fuck you, dummy” or some other dismissive, useless remark. The UFC is cool, and it’s cool because the fighters aren’t corporate, generic, and anodyne. They’re as real as it gets, as opposed to the walking-press releases that are athletes in other major sports.
For proof, look no further than motorboat-gate. Rampage Jackson acted lecherously towards a female reporter (and this wasn’t the first time he’d done such a thing). Nothing happened. When Yahoo’s Maggie Hendricks lambasted Rampage and the MMA media, Joe Rogan called her “cunty” and MMA fans thought it was the cleverest comeback since Lord Palmerston verbally thrashed his enemies in parliament.
CagePotato’s own Ben Goldstein got to the crux of the issue:
Nine out of ten UFC fans will side with Quinton Jackson and Joe Rogan every time, because Rampage and Joe are awesome, and motorboating is hilarious, and who the fuck is Maggie Hendricks anyway? Seriously, here’s another representative comment from the UG thread from member ‘Bat21?:
“shitty cunty?!?!? BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAA!!!
Fuck, I’m still laughing after 5 minutes. You’re the man, Joe.”
Jesus. If this is the mindset of the average UFC fan, then good luck being taken seriously, guys.
A high-profile commentator for the NFL or NBA couldn’t get away with throwing around slurs like this in public forums. I know that the fast-and-loose quality of the UFC’s frontmen and fighters has been part of the brand’s great success to this point. But there will come a time (we hope) when MMA is so popular that guys like Rampage and Rogan will have to behave like gentlemen — so they may as well start practicing for it now.
Has this time finally come? Do UFC employees finally have to behave, as Ben Goldstein put it, like gentlemen?