Pretty soon the world is going to have to talk about Dana White whenever they talk about the best commissioners in sports.
Laughing and scoffing at the UFC was nearly a spectator sport in and of itself, as White and the UFC clawed to get respect with its brash f-bomb-dropping (bald) head. As the UFC draws more and more fans to MMA, White is slowly changing his image from CEO bad boy into a decisive, principled ship captain, albeit without losing his penchant for cursing.
This weekend the UFC had a successful pay-per-view. The UFC's premier weight class of light-heavyweight saw the championship belt change hands as Shogun Rua defeated Lyoto Machida in a rematch of a close match a year ago. The whole even could have been remembered for falling off the rails, though.
In the co-main event of the night, American Josh Koscheck faced Brit Paul Daley. The two fighters talked a lot of trash heading into the event and seemingly throughout their three round fight. Josh Koscheck pretty handily won all three rounds. He also specifically talked a lot of trash in the final 30 seconds of the fight as he held Daley down with top position.
That, apparently, was too much for Daley to take. Both fighters got to their feet after the final horn signifying the end of the third round and the fight. Daley stalked past the referee, approached Koscheck and hit him with a left hook. Luckily for Koscheck, he got his right hand up and seemed to block most of the impact. The damage was already done, though, to Paul Daley's career.
After the fight, Dana White wasted no time in telling the media that Daley's career in the UFC was finished. People who don't regularly watch the UFC might not realize that these types of things don't really happen very often even though the sport can be brutal sometimes. The UFC is good about securing their ring before, during and after fights. They set strict limits on a fighter's entourage. And when fighters do get out of line, Dana White makes sure it doesn't happen again, as Paul Daley can attest.
If that wasn't enough, Dana also wasted no time in cutting Kimbo Slice due to ineffectiveness after Slice lost to Matt Mitrione. Dana went on record saying how much he liked Kimbo and how happy he was to have met him, but that he just couldn't justify keeping him in the UFC without an ability to be competitive. That goes to show what kind of standard Dana White sets for the UFC as Kimbo Slice was an immensely popular figure. White easily could have ridden his personality to additional profits.
It all seems so simple, right? It isn't. Some are arguing that White is guilty of having double standards. UFC fighter Nate Diaz was involved in a situation where a brawl broke out in the ring in Nashville following a Strikeforce main event. Strikeforce is a competing MMA brand to the UFC. That night, Jake Shields defeated Dan Henderson. During Jake Shields' post-fight interview, another fighter, Jason Miller, made his way into the ring and interrupted the interview. He asked Shields when he was going to get a rematch and then all hell broke loose. Shields' entourage (including Nate Diaz from the UFC) jumped Jason Miller and punched and kicked him. The event was on CBS and certainly damaged the reputation of the sport of MMA in some people's eyes. That, in turn affects the reputation of the UFC even though it wasn't their event.
The question is, is Dana White showing a double standard by cutting Paul Daley and not cutting Diaz?
While I think Dana White would be able to make the case if he wanted to suspend or cut Diaz for tarnishing the image of the sport in general, I can't possibly hold him accountable for what happens at someone else's show. Obviously Strikeforce could learn a few lessons from the UFC on how to maintain control of their events, including securing the ring and limiting the number of people in fighters' ringside teams.
Ultimately though, I don't think this shows Dana White has a double standard for different fighters. It goes to show that he sets a higher standard for his UFC shows. When one of his fighters got out of hand in an environment that he set up, he wasted no time in cutting the fighter loose to set an example. If Strikeforce wants to improve their events, they should do so within their own powers. I could argue that if Dana White suspends Diaz, it is almost like he is helping Strikeforce by being their disciplinarian. It is a difficult line to walk, and I don't blame Dana White for choosing to sidestep it.