It seemed like the perfect platform to explain why he was so upset with Frank Mir's "first death in the Octagon" comments. Dana White had a big audience at Radio City Music Hall and good representation from the New York/New Jersey media.
Those comments taken out of context or too literally could hurt MMA's chances to get legalized in states like New York and the Canadian province of Ontario. White hinted at the comments when he was talking about how heated things are between Mir and Lesnar saying, "Nobody likes each other. There's been a lot of wild and crazy talk going back and forth, sometimes a little too crazy."
So we'd figured let's tee it up for White, he'd probably come up with a good answer about why he thought the "death" comments could be damaging. Instead we found out just how steamed White was about the initial comments (1:25 mark - cleaner version at UFC.com). White gave us an icy glare and then emboldened by the booing crowd of a 1,000-plus at Radio City, smirked and said, "next question."
We followed that up by asking Frank Mir, how heated it got between himself and UFC management (2:45 mark). He had zero issues answering the question.
"It's a mistake I made. Hopefully it'll be just a really dumb side note in my life. Very poor terminology. Obviously I'm here today, I'm fighting. We're still up here on stage. Everything's just fine ... so far."
Update: White did answer the question when asked minutes later by Brett Okamoto:
Mir found himself in the national spotlight last month, when he described his feelings toward Lesnar as "legitimate hate" and that he wanted to "break his neck in the ring."
The comments didn't go over well with UFC brass, including White who said that, while it's obvious Mir wasn't speaking literally, those words had the potential to set the entire sport back.
"No one backs up their fighters more than I do when people make mistakes," White said. "But to say something like that — the problem is that there are people that really believe (Mir) could break his neck on Saturday. These are misconceptions I fight every day.
"Mir said, 'I want this to be the first death in MMA.' You can't say that. I understand you're emotional, but you can't say that."
White wasn't pleased with the question in such a celebratory environment. That's certainly understandable. He's hard to figure out sometimes.
By trying to hide his take on something or bury a story, he simply calls more attention to something that in the end is pretty stupid. Words should not be more impactful than actions. And the talk of "killing" or "destroying" an opponent has a long history in fighting. By shying away from talking out the issues and calming down the morons who would like to use Mir's comments as some anti-MMA crutch, White is only allowing their voice to be heard without a rebuttal.
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