In the eyes of many, Zuffa, LLC, the parent company of the UFC and Strikeforce, is currently a public relations nightmare. Despite the recent barrage of controversies surrounding its stars, UFC president Dana White (Pictured) is not quite prepared to enforce a code of conduct that most other professional sports organizations live by.
“I’m gonna take it as it comes,” White said of the everyday issues that slide across his desk. “I hear this stuff all the time, and it seems like a lot lately. This isn’t the NFL. This isn’t the NBA. This is a completely different business. This is a completely different business model.
“We deal with these guys, we care about these guys. I don’t want our fighters at the end of their careers to be broke and not have paid their taxes.”
Since the curtain was drawn on 2012, Zuffa has seen Strikeforce women’s featherweight champ Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos, UFC top contenders Alistair Overeem and Nick Diaz get handed drug suspensions (Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal would be the fourth fighter on their roster to be banned had he not been fired), UFC light heavyweight champ Jon Jones and Ross Pearson get popped for DUIs and had Octagon girl Arianny Celeste get arrested for domestic violence.
While that rap sheet would cause Roger Goodell to layeth the smacketh down, White is thankful those are the only incidences that have hit the newswire because those cases are just the tip of the iceberg in his world.
“You guys look at the whole PED side of this and what’s going on, and then you look at guys getting in trouble, and there’s just so much that goes on,” White admitted. “The stuff that we’re talking about is the stuff that’s public, the stuff you see. Do you know how much [expletive] goes on that you have no idea that goes on?
“We’re dealing with human beings. I don’t even know how you could [enforce a code of conduct]. How you could have a code of … if you say this, this happens, if you do this, that happens. You take it case by case and you deal with it as it should be dealt with.”
The bright side is White recently claimed the UFC would start to administer their own out-of-competition drug tests, which would go a long way in cleaning up the sport. At least that’s a start, but hopefully it’s just the beginning.