Dana White on the Wussification of America
Dana White addressed the “the wussification of America”—only dropping the “w” for a “p”—at a press event on Thursday promoting UFC 169.
“We’re all going to get hurt,” the UFC’s blunt-spoken president relayed. “We’re all going to die someday. It just gets so crazy and so overplayed that this is dangerous and that’s dangerous.”
White fondly recalled a time in America when kids lived a freer and less bubble-wrapped existence. “I used to not wear seat belts in the car,” the fight promoter relayed. “I used to sleep in the back window on long trips. I rode my bike without a helmet. I made it. I’m alive. This is ridiculous.”
The jovial White held court in a marathon session with journalists on Thursday afternoon after fighters in his promotion had spoken to the press for about an hour. White’s conversation stemmed in part from New York’s decision to block the UFC and other mixed-martial arts promotions from staging sanctioned contests and the legislation supported by five New York assemblymen to ban youth football for children under fourteen. With a couple of kids playing the sport, and his enjoyment watching their games despite freezing in the cold like every other parent, the skilled pitchman takes such assaults on a sport that he never played a bit personally.
“But to get rid of youth football?” White asked. “It’s ridiculous. It’s insane. My kids do everything. They skateboard. They surf. They do MMA. They play football. They’re playing basketball now. My kids love football. I never played football. I never played football—it’s not like I’m some big football junkie hanging around the house so my kids get into it. My kids love playing football. So, because they do, I fund a team in Las Vegas and these kids play.”
“Everybody keeps talking about the numbers on Little League football or Pop Warner or whatever you want to call it are down," White continued. "It’s down because it’s expensive and times are still tough and people don’t have the money to support these teams. I do. I support a team. Lorenzo [Fertitta] does. Ishe Smith, the boxer—I know he has two football teams in Las Vegas. Snoop Dogg has a team. All these guys are funding teams. When we put together one of these teams, you should see how many kids show up.”
White’s UFC organization scheduled its Newark, New Jersey fight card to coincide with the Super Bowl being played the next day in nearby East Rutherford, New Jersey. Several of the card’s fighters, including Frank Mir and Uriah Faber, promoted the fight on radio row at the NFL’s Super Bowl headquarters at the Sheraton Times Square on Wednesday. To further capitalize on the publicity for the big game, fighters on the main card posed together in Broncos and Seahawks jerseys at the promotional event at Madison Square Garden on Thursday. Bantamweight champion Jose Aldo, wearing a Russell Wilson Seahawks jersey, joked in broken English of impending doom to those who wore “orange” and predicted a defeat for Peyton Manning despite his opponent wearing Wes Welker gear.
“To take football away from kids is ridiculous,” White concluded. “It’s good to keep kids in sports. If your kid says he wants to play and he’s as passionate about football as my kids are, why would you not do it?