Here’s everything Dana White said during news conference about slapping his wife

For the second time, Dana White publicly addressed the domestic violence incident he had with his wife. And the big takeaway? Don’t expect anything in the way of punishment for the UFC president.

Making an unexpected appearance at UFC Fight Night 217 media day Wednesday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, White spent almost 14 minutes answering questions about what happened with his wife, Anne, at a Mexican nightclub on New Year’s Eve. Video shows White and his wife in an argument, during which White grabs her by the wrist, causing her to slap him in the face. White then retaliates with two slaps and shoves her to the ground.

White said “plenty of discussions internally” have taken place with Ari Emanuel, the CEO of UFC parent company Endeavor, as well as executives from UFC broadcast partner ESPN. The indication from White, though, is that no repercussions will come down from either Endeavor, ESPN or self-imposed.


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The disturbing footage has sparked a group of female senators from California to call on Endeavor to remove White as UFC president. Nine days later, Emanuel remains silent.

To his credit, White hasn’t – and you can watch his full news conference in the video above or read a complete transcript below as he took questions from reporters on the incident itself and the fallout.

Opening comments

“I just wanted to come out today and talk to you guys on this media day with the athletes that, you know, the focus is on them. These guys have trained hard and got ready for this fight. What happened on New Year’s Eve is mine, my mistake, not theirs. And obviously nobody’s more about free speech than me. If one of the fighters wants to come out and voice their opinion on it, whatever it might be, then by all means. I’m sure you guys have seen the TMZ video and seen my interview. It was obviously a horrible personal experience. And, you know, there’s no excuses for it. It’s something that I’m gonna have to deal with and live with for the rest of my life. And one thing that I do want to clarify in this thing that I didn’t talk about on TMZ – because I didn’t expect it and I didn’t see it coming – is the people that are defending me. There’s never an excuse. I’m sure you guys have read some of the same stuff that I’ve seen. There’s no defense for this, and people should not be defending me over this thing no matter what. All the criticism that I have received this week is a hundred percent warranted – and will receive in the future. And you know me, better than anybody, especially the people that I don’t like start coming after me, nobody fires back more than I do. Whatever anybody has to say – everybody has an opinion on this, and they’re right to have their own opinions. I was very opinionated on this, too, and I still am. It’s crazy that I’m sitting here even having this conversation with you guys. My reason for being here today is I just wanted you guys to focus on (the fighters) and not me.”

On possible repercussions from Endeavor or self-imposed

What should the repercussions be? You tell me. I take 30 days off? How does that hurt me? I told you guys when we were going through COVID, COVID could last 10 years. I could sit it out. What would be — it’s much like COVID actually. Me leaving hurts the company, hurts my employees, hurts the fighters. It doesn’t hurt me. I could’ve left in 2016. You know what I mean? I don’t know. Do I need to reflect? No, I don’t need to reflect. The next morning when I woke up (I reflected). I’ve been against this. I’ve owned this. I’m telling you that I’m wrong. But listen, we’ve had plenty of discussions internally, with Ari (Emanuel), ESPN – nobody is happy. Nobody’s happy about this. Neither am I, but it happened, and I have to deal with it. What is my punishment? Here’s my punishment: I have to walk around for however long I live – Is it 10.4 10.4 years or another 25 years? – and this is how I’m labeled now. My other punishment is 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. There are a lot of things that I’m going to have to deal with for the rest of my life that are way more of a punishment than what, I take a 30-day, 60-day absence? That’s not a punishment to me. The punishment is that I did it, and now I have to deal with it. More importantly, you guys know how I feel about other people’s opinions of me. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: I know a lot of you. I don’t know what you do when you go home. I don’t know what you’re into. Nobody knows you better than your kids do. My oldest is almost 22. For 22 years, he’s grown up in a house with me and my wife and the rest of our family. They hear and say everything. They know everything. Whatever perceptions people might have, nobody knows better than your kids. My kids know exactly who I am. They know exactly who their mother is. That’s what’s important to us. This is a personal family matter that played out in public, and our biggest focus was our kids. You want to talk about being disappointed? Who’s going to be more disappointed than your kids are? That’s what we’ve really been focusing on. As far as her and I go, we both apologized. We apologized to our kids, and we’re trying to move forward.”

On using this for good to support domestic violence victims

“Yeah, I mean, we’ve created a lot of awareness. I’ve been married to this woman for 27 years. We’ve known each other 40. We’ve been friends for 40. We’ve been married for 27 years. And like I said, anybody who’s married knows being married is, it’s a job, something you have to work at every day. Her and I have been through some sh*t, but we’re still together. We have three great kids. The biggest focus for us is our family. Yeah, I guess, it’s like – I don’t know. I’m trying to think about what it’s like. There’s been a lot of awareness. I haven’t hid from this thing, I haven’t ran from it, and I’ve taken it head on from Day 1. I don’t know what else I could do. Sure, I mean, if I can help anybody else in this situation – I mean, I said it before, and now I’m saying it after I’ve done it. You don’t ever do it. Don’t defend me. Don’t anybody defend me. There’s no reason to even try to defend me, and I don’t want our fighters in this position where they feel like they have to – unless they want to come out and say, ‘He’s an a**hole.’ Whatever their feelings are about this, I’m all about free speech.”

On how this could impact Power Slap given timing of TBS premiere

“There is no good or bad timing for what I did. You know what I mean? There’s … irony. It’s very ironic. But there’s no good or bad timing for what I did on New Year’s Eve.”

On if he could've done anything differently, what that would be

“I would’ve stayed home New Year’s Eve. If I could go back and change anything, I would stay home New Year’s Eve. But no. I don’t know. Do you think so?”

“I did an interview on TMZ. What else was there to say? You could literally write an official statement from my TMZ interview.”

On how things are with his family

“That’s the thing nobody’s asking about. ‘Hey, are you guys OK?’ We finished our family vacation, and we came home, and, yes, we’re good. Obviously, we’re still dealing with the kids. My oldest isn’t happy with us, you know what I mean. I’m sure it’s embarrassing for the kids. And, again, I can tell you this and a lot of people will take it however they want, will believe or won’t believe, but it’s never happened before. It’s never ever happened before, so obviously for my kids, it’s a big deal.”

On how tough the conversation was with his three kids

“Before the TMZ interview happened, we sent them the video, and we got them on the phone. [shrugs] We did the best we could.”

On if he's reached out to any female UFC fighters directly

“No, I haven’t reached out to any of the fighters. This is my thing. This is my thing between me and my family. Whether you’re a media member, a fighter, whatever you are, you saw my interview (with TMZ). And that’s my position on it, and you’re hearing my position on it today.”

On people who blame his wife for what happened

“There’s only one side of this. It’s my side. There’s never a reason or an excuse for what happened on New Year’s Eve to ever happen – period. Like I said, I’m 53. I’ll be 54 this summer. I’ve never done it, 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. You know what I mean? Other than that, this is the first time that it’s ever happened, and I guarantee you it will never happen again. Nobody should be defending me. There aren’t two sides to the story. There’s only my side.”

On how he bounces back from this as a leader, husband and father

“You don’t. 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. Do you know what I mean? I did it. I did it. You don’t bounce back from it. You wake up every day and try to be better than you were yesterday and make sure that never happens again. Whatever steps you have to take to make sure you’re not in that situation and that it never happens again, that’s what I need to do. It’s a fact. There are a couple things in life that you don’t bounce back from, and this is one of them. That’s a fact.”

On if there will be changes for fighters involved in domestic violence

“Well, I don’t have a different take on it. It all depends on different situations. But hopefully, everybody has seen what’s going on with me, and hopefully, this never happens. But at the end of the day, we’re all human beings, we all make mistakes, and all you can do is try to recover from the mistakes that you make in life. Yeah, I don’t know. I’m sure it’ll be on a case-by-case basis. We got a lot of people around here that make a lot of mistakes. And I’m one of them.”

On if the UFC has taken a financial hit by his actions

“No, I don’t think so. But it’s still early, too. We’ll see.”

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie