Dana White Defends Decision to Fire Miguel Torres

December 11, 2011
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Miguel Torres UFC 126

Miguel Torres

UFC president Dana White defends his decision to fire Miguel Torres, but still hasn’t personally spoken to the former bantamweight titleholder. White has the same opinion today as he did on Thursday when he chose to cut the 30-year old athlete from the roster.

Torres was released by the Ultimate Fighting Championship on Dec. 8 after posting an ill-advised joke about a “rape van” on Twitter.

“Miguel and I haven’t talked, but I talked to his management and nothing has changed,” said White following the UFC 140 post-fight press conference on Saturday.

The Las Vegas-based fight promotion has made social media a priority of its marketing since social media sites popped up on the worldwide web. In the past, fighters have been “guest tweeters” from the UFC’s official Twitter account during live events to give social commentary on the fights and provide insights that only a fighter can, within 140 characters of course. Torres has been one of them.

He’s a popular fighter among mixed martial arts fans, and the UFC president has heard the backlash and criticisms about his decision to give Torres the axe. An overwhelming percentage of MMAWeekly.com readers polled felt Torres didn’t deserve to lose his job.

“You can agree with me or disagree with me. Go to my Twitter, I’ve been getting my head kicked in for two days on Twitter. But the bottom line is nobody has any business making jokes about rape,” said White. “We’re in the fight business. If you think you’re funny, keep your jokes to yourself and your close friends, because not everybody is going to think what you say is funny.”

White is happy Torres is receiving support from the fans, but that doesn’t change his opinion.

“It’s unfortunate,” White said. “I like Miguel, but he made some bad choices. That wasn’t the only one he’s done. He’s done some others.

“You didn’t see him come out with an explanation on why he said it. There is no explanation for it. And tweets like, ‘Your mouth says no, but my roofie says yes.’ I don’t think that’s funny either, at all,” added White.

The critics of White’s decision have called for consistency, and White says there will be because of Torres’ firing.

“Let me tell you what, you want to see consistency? Let’s see if anybody does that again. I double-dare you to send another tweet like that again,” he said. “It is what it is. It’s unfortunate. He’s a good guy, but it made no sense. It came out of left field.”

While hearing the critics and fans voice their displeasure, White isn’t losing any sleep over it.

“People can agree with me or disagree with me, I don’t care what anybody thinks. I don’t care. It is what it is. It won’t happen again. Let common sense prevail,” said White.

“I’m a pretty fair guy if you look at the history of the UFC with our guys, “ continued the fight promoter. “I mean, Tito [Ortiz] still works here. I’ve been a pretty fair guy through all kinds of crazy stuff. If you can’t explain yourself, if you can’t give me an explanation on why you did something. There’s no explanation for that.”

Torres took a step in the right direction on Friday by issuing a prepared statement apologizing for the tweet.

“I’m happy with the statement that he wrote yesterday,” said White on Saturday.

But he is the UFC president. When it comes to who stays or who goes, the buck stops with Dana White.

“Agree with me or disagree me, it is what it is. I make those decisions, and that’s what I chose to do.”

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  • imageoverload

    Dana White is right, rape isn’t funny unless you’re raping a clown.

  • MMA_EE

    If they want the pay of professional athletes they need to act professional. Let’s hope others learn and we don’t loose other great fighters because of similar nonsense. The sport will never get the recognition it deserves if he allowed people to represent MMA that way.

  • bjjsmith

    Dana only likes steroid users not jokers!

  • pooby

    Steroids are cool. Going on a Red Bull bender and aborting a woman’s baby is cool. Just don’t be unfunny…..

  • voltaire64

    Lol, Dana called MMA Journalist Lorretta Hunt a f’in b**ch and an f’n c**t on the much more public and permanent Youtube and never apologized. Hypocritical of him to become so morally righteous all of a sudden.

  • MikeMc1983

    I think he’s defended him self on the hunt issue by argueing that he was accurate.

  • KBEsq

    I think in the last year, I went from really liking Dana White to just absolutely hating him. Not that he gives a s*#$ what the fans think of him or his decisions. He flat out says he doesn’t care. In general, I don’t get how someone in his position can say the things he says about the fans’ opinions.

    With regard to this story, his explanations still don’t make logical sense. Sure, he doesn’t care what we think, but we can still comment. The same logic of inconsistency applies to his argument in this story: namely that he feels his decision will have the effect of deterrence. That still does not respond to the inconsistency of the Forrest and Rashad comments going unpunished (yes, I read the story about White’s explanation about the seeming inconsistency, and it wasn’t compelling in any way). Let’s face it, a good fighter lost his livelihood so White could make an example. Couldn’t he have waited for a fighter on the downslope to make an example, or at least a fighter who shows no remorse.

    White is playing a dangerous game here, and I am seeing a shift here. For years, as a fan, I have heard many fighters go off on White for his authoritative ways. I think the fans always dismissed this and were generally on White’s side. With White’s recent comments to the fans and his utter disregard for what they think, I think many of the fans are starting to turn against him as well.

    I almost wonder if he is seeing the shift from PPV to network as a license to release his pent up rage against the fans because he doesn’t need to worry about people not shelling out 50 dollars per fight anymore.

    As a fan who has literally spent thousands of dollars on UFC fights over the years, it’s really offensive to me to hear White talk about the fans the way he does.

  • WOW really Dana?I’m not backing miguels comments but it was a joke right? Coming from a guy who has hired joe rogan to commentate fights. i have seen rogans stand up, filthy but f#@*ing halarious. and i remember on air Joe saying that a fighters eye looked “like a swollen goats vagina!” come on man Torres is a legit fighter who brings it.

  • Earny

    Like Dana White sets a good example for the fighters with the foul mouth he has. He does more to disgrace the UFC and MMA than any fighter. Maybe when/if he ever gets any class himself he can have some credibility to expect more from the fighters.

    White is on an ego trip, always has been, and just likes to show his power and keep his employees scared because they don’t have many other options to do their trade. Hopefully one day the fighters can get a union.

    And now White is even attacking the fans as if they are his employees. Sorry buddy, we don’t work for you and don’t have to put up with your attitude.

  • MikeMc1983

    The only defense to how Dana is referring to fans is that there’s always opposite views on the same issues. Reguardless of him saying it, it’s not logical that he doesn’t care what fans think. The entire buissness is modeled around them. For every fan that likes something he does, there’s seems to always be one that does not. It’s constant. It’s not possiable to make all the fans happy. I believe they try to make the majority happy. Judging by the responses on this issue he missed the mark. However, from my experiance in life the advocates always seem larger in numbers because their voice is always the loudest.

  • RubeKegal

    Dana White is an embarrassment. Forrest Griffin can tweet “Rape is the new missionary position” and Dana thinks thats funny, but Miguel gets fired? Dana White is the ultimate hypocrite and it’s an embarrassment. Miguel did deserve to get fired, but SO DID Forrest. Have some consistency you Boston scumbag!!!

  • MikeMc1983

    I missed where anyone, including Dana, said that Forrest comment was funny. I did hear them refer to it as a joke, but that seemed to be because the had a lack of vocabulary.

    • Get rid of Forrest cause most of the stuff he says is as bad if not worse. O yeah at least Miguel still brings it

      • TKD

        Not to mention that Forrest will NEVER be champ again!

  • I was pretty impressed with the lack of professionalism. The UFC seriously needs some sort of arbitration like the other professional sports have. Obviously that won’t happen since they aren’t unionized and have not collective bargaining power. (Note: i’m not making a particular judgement on the merits of that situation, but it is why the fighters have no recourse to arbitrary punishment. Its not like they can appeal something.) If Dana wants to promote Tweeting, he needs to outline in writing, what constitutes unacceptable behavior. Making judgement calls about what is and isn’t makes Dana White look really unprofessional. Most fans don’t seem to empathize with fighters all too much so he knows that he can do this. Its always impressive the uproar that occurs when people suggest the fighters are underpaid.

    It is really too bad that fighters haven’t really banded together to ask for a more standardized process. This is just silly, and demonstrates management making an example of a fighter because he is disposable i.e. he is a bantam weight and his name is not Dominic Cruz or Urijah Faber. If the UFC really wanted to be like other sports leagues they would streamline this process by having real rules and by have an arbitration body to hear the case of Torres. Instead there is an executive with a million different things to do who makes knee jerk management decisions. Lets just say this won’t be a case study in a management course. Well it might be, but certainly for the negative aspects of this case.

    Hopefully torres will go to Bellator and get a fight with Eduardo Dantas. That would be a fantastic bout. I wish him the best. Lord knows, I put my foot in my mouth all the time. I think someone in Bloody Elbow pointed out the hypocrisy of the firing by noting that Dana didn’t force anyone of these athletes to undergo sensitivity training (you want them not to say insensitive things about ANYTHING, not just rape. War Machine slipped up talking about a recently deceased person and Obama. There are many ways to be offensive.) I’m sure that election season is going to bring some ridiculous comments. That is, unless this has scarred all athletes from commenting on anything that outside the bounds of, “i will break their face…..”

  • MikeMc1983

    Nice post. I don’t know that I would agree with all that you said, but understand the view point.
    I wish companies, or society in general would punishing people for saying things simply based upon how someone else felt while hearing it. Seems that we are way to willing to not hear someone’s true thoughts because of the risk that it will make someone unhappy hearing it.

  • Digity

    Maybe if some of the other professional sports administrations held there athletes accountable they would’t have gone to complete sh!t.

  • macgrubber

    I think Dana had recently got into a “suprise van” and this joke just brought up some bad memories. Thats why hes so p.o.

  • Santz

    From Dana’s reaction to this whole mess, it is quite possible he’s had some involvement in this topic…maybe a friend, family member, or as Macgrubber stated earlier, maybe Dana himself got into a “surprise van”. I don’t joke about this subject nor do I find it funny to joke about it. I’m sure you all have mothers, sister, girlfriends, wives, and good friends you would not want this to happen to and would pull a Dana if it did and some idiot joked about it right in front of you. F**k Miguel Torres! It’s not something to joke about, and he was overrated anyway with a terrible, just terrible haircut!

  • Ok so the double standard lives. Torres gets fired for re-hashing a joke from TV on Twitter while Rashad Evans during a live press conference makes light of a Penn State football coach raping little boys by insinuating he’s going to do the same to another fighter and there’s apparently nothing wrong with that? Dana White…low class as Rashad.

  • ryanstewart

    I really recpect dana’s descision to let Miguel go. I too like Miguel as a fighter, he’s from my area in Indiana. It’s hard not to support a local fighter, but in this case the UFC has a reputation to build. If you are going to beat boxing or Kill it like they have said, there’s a long way to go.. And comments of this nature don’t build the right fan base. My family and I watch about every UFC/ Strikeforce event possible,but I don’t want my kids exposed to a guy that expresses this kind of humor. Best of luck to Miguel where ever he goes. But I’m sticking by Dana on this one.

    • Earny

      I am not justifying what Miguel said, but I am pointing out that White is no better with the way he acts.

      So you don’t want your family to exposed to someone like Miguel but you will let them be exposed to a man who drops the F bomb every other sentence. I mean he gets more blimps when he speaks than a Jerry Springer show.

      If the UFC is trying to build a reputation the first thing they need to do is buy White out and send him packing.

  • I’m from the same area as well. My issue has less to do with supporting Torres and more to do with NOT supporting Dana’s decision making. The fighters really have no other lucrative option. Zuffa owns both UFC and Strikeforce. It may not be a “monopoly” but other promotions have a hard time making it because it’s difficult to secure enough talent to keep it interesting to the fans which Dana seems to care so little about. I truly believe that his decisions aren’t based on the fighters or fans… with a catch. He doesn’t care what the fans think at this point because he KNOWS people will continue to watch. Nothing right now will deter that so Dana can pretty much do whatever he wants. He’s only concerned about making money. He’s not concerned about MMA or the integrity of the sport. He’s concerned about the UFC and who brings in the money. Fighters like who are contenders with big mouths like Rashad and fan favorites like Forrest (whom I believe Dana said will always have a job due to the TUF 1 fight) are PPV draws. Fighters like Torres are less of a draw due to weight class and contender status don’t sell a lot of tickets so… Well, we saw what happens. With money as the sole basis for decisions along with a temper and “who’s gonna stop me” attitude, Dana will soon tarnish MMA and make it comparable to the to the corruption and reputation of boxing. If he REALLY wanted to set a precedent and ensure other fighters didn’t make the same mistake, wouldn’t giving a name like Rashad or Forrest the boot be a MUCH bigger deterrent? All this decision says is “If you make me money, I’ll make excuses for you. If you DON’T make me money, you’re gone.”

  • Astro Zombie

    Ive read all the comments and they all make good points but the problem with what things are said is no what you say and a person hears it, it’s all about impact Over results. Wrong person was on his tweet and the rape joke impacted someone the wrong way although the results of the tweet was a joke. That same person didn’t visit Forrest twitter but say I told you to wear a condom while forcing someone to have sex. I only told you that Because I wanted you to be protected while having sex but the impact of it from you or someone else hearing it was me condoning you to rape although that was not my intentions what so ever. I’m a firm believer when it comes to do something to one than it’s good to do for the other. I like Forrest and think he’s still a good fighter although it seems like he lost the love of the game but they should of booted him to. But because everyone is soooooooooo in love with Forrest, again his comment didn’t impact someone the wrong way.