The President of the United States had the good sense to issue an apology less than 24 hours after making a joking, but offensive, reference to the Special Olympics while discussing his bowling skills with Jay Leno during an appearance on "The Tonight Show."
But apparently, what's good enough for the President of the U.S. isn't good enough for the president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
At the end of a video blog the UFC posted on YouTube on Wednesday, Dana White launched into an expletive-filled diatribe against Loretta Hunt, a mixed martial arts reporter for Sherdog.com.
It isn't the fact that White used a profanity that is a euphemism for a sex act more than 30 times in the rant, which was slightly longer than two minutes, that is so offensive.
Hunt isn't the first reporter who has felt White's wrath when he has been angry, and she won't be the last.
White's outrageous tirade is unacceptable and needs to be addressed quickly by White and UFC owners Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta.
White was wrong when he snidely referred to Hunt's story as "[expletive] retarded."
He later referred to a manager who had commented anonymously in her story by using an expletive and a slang word for homosexuals. And then he referred to Hunt as an "[expletive] bitch."
In one two-plus minute rant, White undid much of the good he's done while building the UFC into a billion-dollar business and, perhaps, saving mixed martial arts from extinction, by offending gays, women and mentally handicapped people.
Assume, for a moment, that Hunt's story, which dealt with backstage credentials, was completely inaccurate. Clearly, she should never have written a story such as she did without having one source on the record. And her single attempt to reach a UFC spokesperson is clearly feeble.
In the video, White said the UFC's policy is, has been and will continue to be to give the fighters a set number of credentials and allow them to give those credentials to whomever they choose. White said the fighters can and occasionally do give one of their credentials to their managers or agents, and said they'll continue to be allowed to do so.
The validity, or lack thereof, of Hunt's story is immaterial, however.
What is material is White's lack of regard for the collateral damage he caused. He's long had a feud with Hunt – she has not been credentialed to UFC events since shortly after UFC 74 in August 2007, when she was working for The Fight Network.
But White has been more annoyed about comments Hunt made in an upcoming documentary about former UFC middleweight contender Matt Lindland. In striking at Hunt, White showed Stone Age thinking and little compassion.
And this comes from a guy who does nearly as much charitable work as he does work to promote the sport that's made him rich and famous beyond measure.
A manager whom I shall choose to allow to remain nameless – he emailed me his comments and didn't ask for his words to be kept off-the-record – spent much of his time in a 1,719-word email defending White and the Fertittas.
In it, he wrote:
"They pay their superstars. Most of the time. They take care of their injured fighters. They take care of their troubled fighters.
"If there is injustice in the cage, they don't hide it. I saw both Dana and Lorenzo going absolutely berserk for the safety of Pete Sell on March 7 in Columbus when he was getting peppered by Matt Brown. That wasn't an act.
"If you run into hard times, they extend a hand. They take care of so many families that we don't even know about. I have seen a few first-hand.
"They put on the best show in the world. They are the NFL of MMA.
"They invest like hell in the business, which will only help out the present and future stars of MMA and those that are or will always be support (sic) cast."
That's one man's opinion, and there are undoubtedly those who would say White is the devil incarnate.
He's not. He cares passionately about the sport and the people in it, though his temper and vitriolic outbursts often obscure that.
It's telling that neither White nor Fertitta has issued an apology, though the offending video has been removed by the UFC. That, in and of itself, says plenty.
I called White seeking a response, but he didn't answer his phone. I sent him a text message asking for comment and he replied, "That was my side. No secrets."
When I then asked specifically if White would apologize for offending homosexuals and mentally handicapped people, he quit responding via text message.
About 30 minutes after that text message exchange ended, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation posted a message on its blog, noting that White planned to apologize and would film a new video.
Words are important. White should have realized the mistake he'd made much sooner and not have been forced into an apology after seeing the reaction.
At least he apologized.
And given that the UFC has held fight cards in the past to support charitable endeavors – in December, it held a fundraising card for military members who had been injured in combat – there is a simple solution.
The UFC should host another card and donate the proceeds to a gay and lesbian charity, the Special Olympics and an abused women's charity.
If that happens, White's disgusting rant won't be forgotten, but at least some good will have come of it.