UFC President Dana White did a victory lap Monday to celebrate a banner year for his company despite negative coverage by media focused on the coronavirus pandemic.
The “fight business” icon released a video taking media naysayers to task for claiming he couldn’t host safe events.
“I’m not afraid of the media,” Mr. White says during the video’s narration. “Why should anyone listen to the media? Who are these people? What makes them experts? What have they ever accomplished? They criticized me for even trying to find a way forward because it’s easy to criticize from the sidelines when you risk nothing and do nothing. But we need to fight this thing. Instead of panicking, let’s find solutions.”
Mr. White spotlighted UFC’s $1.3 billion in earned media value for 2020 before also taking reporters to task for portraying him as a greedy businessman looking for “sacrificial lambs.”
“The media said I was risking people’s health to line my own pockets,” he continued. “I didn’t do this so I could make more money. I have plenty of money. I did this so my fighters could make money and my employees could continue to make a living and feed their families. Our events were successful in every way, shape and form that an event can be successful. … The media are not in the news business. They’re in the click-bait business. They think negativity sells and gets clicks, so that’s what they deliver. Negativity is their product but I’m not going to let that stuff us.”
Various MMA reporters throughout the year predicted a public-relations nightmare for the company due to its refusal to completely shut down during the pandemic.
Reporters wanted a “100% guarantee” that no fighters would catch the virus and said it was “irresponsible” to host events when the company couldn’t “completely eliminate the risk.”
“As we roll into 2021, I just wanted to remind everyone there’s ALWAYS a solution to every problem,” Mr. White tweeted. “So, cut through all the bull—, and don’t let these people that don’t matter tell you how to live your life.”