DANA WHITE says he’ll never “bounce back” from slapping his wife – but he’s ruled out stepping away from the UFC.
The president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship was seen striking his wife, Anne, at a Mexican nightclub on New Year’s Eve moments after being struck by her.
And he admitted his own stance to the issue of domestic violence in a 2014 interview – in which he strongly condemned it – will forever ring true.
The veteran promoter said: “You don’t bounce back from this. You don’t ever bounce back from this.
“For the rest of my life, like I said – however long that is – people are going to label me that.”
The UFC, along with parent company Endeavour, have faced strong calls to relieve White of his duties following the incident.
White believes those calls are completely warranted but is adamant removing him from the helm of the UFC ship will do more harm than good.
He asked: “What should the repercussions be? I take 30 days off?
“I told you guys when we were going through Covid that Covid could last ten years and I could sit it out.
“It’s much like Covid, actually. Me leaving hurts the company, hurts my employees, hurts the fighters. It doesn’t hurt me.
“I could have left in 2016, know what I mean. Do I need to reflect? No, I don’t need to reflect.
“The morning when I woke up, [I reflected]. I’ve been against this, I’ve owned this. I’m telling you that I’m wrong.”
White admits the stigma of slapping his wife will follow him for the rest of his life, adding: “I’ve got to walk around for however long I live – is it 10.4 years or is it another 25 years – and this is how I’m labelled now.
“My other punishment is that I’m sure a lot of people, whether it be media, fighters, friends, acquaintances, who had respect for me might not have respect for me now.”
The bigwigs at Endeavour and ESPN have conveyed their disgust at White’s actions that night in Mexico to the Bostonians.
White revealed: “We’ve had plenty of discussions internally. With Ari [Emannuel], ESPN.
“Nobody is happy, nobody is happy about this. Neither am I. But it happened and I have to deal with it.”
A slew of fighters and fans have attempted to justify White’s actions, which he himself said there was “no excuse” for.
And he sent a firm message to those attempting to absolve him of any wrongdoing, saying: “There’s never an excuse.
Me leaving hurts the company, hurts my employees, hurts the fighters.
UFC president Dana White
“I’m sure you guys have read some of the same stuff I’ve seen.
“There’s never an excuse. There’s no defence for this and people should not be defending me over these things.”
He added: “There’s only one side of this and that’s my side.
“There’s never an excuse for what happened on New Year’s Eve to happen – period.
“I’m 53, I’ll be 54 this summer. I’ve never put my hands on a woman in my life, other than my sister when we used to try to kill each other when we were little.
“But other than that, this is the first time it’s ever happened.
“And I guarantee you it will never happen again and nobody should be defending me.
“There aren’t two sides to this story, there’s only my side.”