While this isn't directly related to the Bay Area, we've stepped up our MMA coverage when it comes to fighters based here and in California plenty over the last year - so when something pertinent related to the UFC outside of usual fight announcements and things like that, we'll take a look at it. The literal explanation of what I just said is "whenever UFC president Dana White says some really crazy things, we need to write about it."
And say some crazy things he did. A HT to Bloody Elbow for pointing out a transcript from a recent Q&A session with White on the Calgary Sun. In this Q&A session, White is asked about fighting in hockey, and mentions it for about two seconds before going into a full-on paragraph assault on the sport of football - or soccer. Eventually, he gets back to hockey, but it's what he says about soccer that is pretty darn ... out there. As someone who is ultimately bored by the sport, I gotta disagree pretty vehemently. Make the jump for the full quote.
Q: As you know, we love our hockey here. And it remains the only other pro sport that allows fighting. Curious as to your thoughts on fighting in hockey?
A: I'm not a big hockey fan. But I respect how talented you have to be to play hockey. Soccer? That's a whole other ball. Can't stand soccer. It's the least-talented sport on Earth. There's a reason three-year-olds can play soccer. When you're playing a game when the net is that big and the score is 3-1 (and that's a blowout) are you kidding me? You know how untalented you have to be to score three times when the net is that big?
While it's plenty alright to dislike soccer, as it is to dislike any sport, what White is showing here is a complete lack of understanding about the sport. I don't think I need to explain to you why his quote is seeping ignorance, mostly because it's at that point where it's now pretty humorous to read. What's bad about it is that a lot of people probably feel the same way, which is one reason soccer hasn't been widely accepted in the Unites States. Now, for the rest of the quote:
Now back to hockey. You have guys on skates with crooked sticks and you have to hit a puck into a net that's the same size as the goalie. And at any time someone could take your head right off your shoulders and it's perfectly legal. That's a real sport that takes real talent, speed and all the things you need to be a real athlete. Now fighting is a part of hockey and has been since Day 1. It's part of the game. It is what it is. I think we live in a world now where everything has been so pussy-fied. When I grew up we didn't wear helmets when we rode our bikes. We didn't have car seats. We didn't have all this stuff. Now things are safer and we should be safer but let's not go overboard. Fighting's a part of hockey. Period.
In short, White is more upset about the lack of contact than anything else. He likes hockey because you can get the piss knocked out of you. On top of that, White also apparently thinks wearing helmet and putting your infants in car seats is "pussy-fied." Unfortunately, this does nothing to help his image or the image of the UFC - not that it's likely going to hurt it or anything like that. No, the phrase "bad for MMA" is too widely used because we've been here before, but it still sucks to see.
As a huge MMA fan, it sucks that the "just bleed" mentality is so prominent in the figurehead of the sport. Yes, that's the sport - not just the UFC. I spent about an hour two days ago arguing with someone who'd only seen clips of MMA about the sport, it's dangers, and just how barbaric it is. Misconceptions hurt, and can keep a sport in the niche.
And really, are these quotes from Dana White any different from your average person uneducated about MMA? Are they any different from when MMA was described as "human cockfighting"? Are they any different from 99 percent of the things Bob Reilly has said in the past? To the last one - yes - but not by much.