As of late, domestic violence incidents in sports have taken a prominent position in public debate on news websites and forums. Over the past three months, there has been significant mainstream coverage on the Ray Rice situation in the NFL, and MMA cases such as War Machine’s vicious beating of Christy Mack, Thiago Silva’s armed multiple threats towards his wife, Josh Grispi’s inhuman assault on his wife with his dog, and Anthony Johnson’s alleged beating and choking of his children’s mother. This media attention has helped push the previously unspeakable subject into the forefront of the public sphere.
Amongst those who have been forced to react to several of the incidents and the changing times is Dana White, who recently indefinitely suspended Anthony Johnson after BloodyElbow.com revealed that he had allegedly knocked out two of his ex-wife’s teeth back in 2009.
“Obviously the (Rice) video, and what happened was horrifying but I think a lot of positives are happening now,” White told the International Business Times. “It’s brought a lot of attention and awareness and I think from here on out it should all be positive. We always were proactive. Since we started ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ we’ve done full background checks on all the guys coming in. If they ever had anything, any violence against women, they didn’t get on.
The UFC allowed Thiago Silva back into the UFC once the charges levelled against him were dropped (after his wife unexpectedly left the country), but were then forced to let him go once again when harrowing videos surfaced showing him apparently cocking a gun and threatening his wife. Although that particular incident shone an unflattering light on the promotion, White insists that his company is “morally first” when it comes to the handling of domestic violence incidents.
“We’ve been all over [the Anthony Johnson case] and when you move as fast as we move, and the things we’ve been doing, it’s hard to police thousands of guys and know what exactly is going on but as soon as we’ve found information on guys, we’ve acted. Of course, the way we always react is morally first then the business second.”
While White may believe that his approach is “morally first,” his handling of the Thiago Silva situation speaks volumes about how misunderstood domestic violence truly is in our society.
Transcription taken from MMAMania.com.
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