In January at the UFC on FOX 6 pre-fight press conference, UFC COO Lawrence Epstein announced the company had initiated a written code of conduct. The UFC’s Conduct Policy does not represent a new policy, so much as it is a codifying existing standards.
“This stuff’s already frankly been in place for many, many years and we’ve always sort of had an unwritten code of conduct that we expected our athletes to live up to," explained Epstein at the time. "Now we put it in writing, that’s really the only change. There are some teeth in the program, penalties associated with violations, but as far as we’re concerned this policy is going into effect immediately.”
The teeth have sunk in, three times so far:
•UFC heavyweight Matt Mitrione was fined enough money to "make him call me three times," and suspended for harsh comments directed at transgender fighter Fallon Fox.
•UFC Middleweight champion Anderson Silva was fined $50,000, for missing a media obligation.
•UFC lightweight Nate Diaz was fined $20,000 and suspended 90 days for calling Bryan Caraway "the biggest Fag in the world."
At the UFC 160 media day, UFC president Dana White said he thought the fines were effective.
"I am fed up with the bulls—-," said White. "Money makes people f---ing react real quick. Sorry's great, I love a sorry here and there, sorrys are always good. But when you've got to start forking out some cash, you start remembering a lot more."
White also responded to fans who say fining Diaz $20,000 for use of the bigoted term "fag" is unfair, as White himself infamously used the word to refer to female reporter Loretta Hunt back in 2009.
"Do you think that I didn't pay in a million different ways for saying that word?" retorted White. "The difference is I'm really sorry for saying it. I am not a homophobe whatsoever. When I said it, I have people that work for us that are gay, I have friends that are gay. It is a word that bothers them and it's a word that shouldn't have been said. I had the same argument that Nate had, and I don't disagree with that argument."
Nate Diaz's manager Mike Kogan argued emphtically that the term as used by Diaz was not homophobic.
"The word faggot, at least in Northern California, and where Nate is from, means bitch," said Kogan. "It means you're a little punk. It has nothing to do with homosexuals at all. So when Nate made the comment that he made, he didn't make it in reference to homosexuals or calling Caraway a homosexual. He just said it was a bitch move."
White agreed that Diaz did not intend to use the term in a homophobic context, but he said that doesn't matter, because it is offensive, regardless of intended meaning.
"I grew up in the 80's and that was a word you used," said White. "If you go back and watch Sixteen Candles, that word is in Sixteen Candles. Molly Ringwald says it to Anthony Michael Hall. I was watching another 80's movie the other day where these little kids are saying it. That's the way it was.
"It's not that way anymore. It's an offensive word that they don't like and people want to call it oh we're bowing down to political correctness. No we're not, we're being civil human beings."
White was asked if an apology from Diaz is expected.
"I'm not going to tell grown men to apologize if they're really not sorry," said White.
White was then asked if Kogan's defense cause his client more harm than good.
"Managers are scared s—-less of their clients. No manager wants to come out and say 'he was stupid for saying that.' You're one phone call away from not working for that guy anymore. Managers don't matter. Let me put that one out there. I don't give a s—- what they have to say or what they think or whatever. They're puppets."
As White's entree to MMA was as a manager for Chuck Liddell and TIto Ortiz back in 1997, and he avered nothing had changed since then.
"I was a puppet, too," said White.
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