Is UFC President Dana White too powerful?
I never thought so, and I would argue with MMA fans and friends about this all the time. I would back Dana in pretty much everything he did. How could I not? The guy pretty much brought a sport from nothing into the juggernaut you see before you. And he did it his way. It’s hard not to get behind someone like that. You might even say I admire him.
But with his recent tirade on the Nate Marquardt situation, I’m going to have to draw a line.
If you’ve been living under a rock, you might not know that former King of Pancrase and UFC mainstay Nate “The Great” Marquardt was removed from his main event bout with Rick Story and promptly released from his UFC contract. Not only that, Marquardt was also banished from the UFC for life.
“I’m pretty disgusted with Nate Marquardt. He’s been cut from the UFC, he won’t fight in the UFC ever again…He’s cut from the UFC, I’m disgusted with him, he has no business fighting in the UFC…We all make mistakes, people make mistakes, it’s how you handle it.”
While Dana said that before the public knew what happened, he knew why he released him. So on Tuesday, Marquardt broke his silence and said that he had been on a testosterone replacement therapy program (TRT), and has been on it for a little under a year. He was prescribed this treatment by a legit doctor last August after he complained about not having energy and going through mood swings. His doctor tested him and found out his testosterone levels were abnormally low. So the treatment began. He also revealed that the UFC knew about it and has known about it.
That that threw me for a loop. Isn’t this is the same guy who backed Chael Sonnen when Sonnen said he was doing the same thing? Only thing is, Sonnen didn’t tell anyone he was on TRT and even lied about it when he was found out.
That seems to fall into the “it’s how you handle it” part of Dana’s banishment quote. Sonnen mishandled his situation very badly, yet is about to make his return. As far as I can tell, Marquardt was straight forward from the get-go, and is out of a job.
Maybe that’s not the reason Marquardt was released. Maybe it’s because Dana views him as a cheater, and he doesn’t have time for cheaters putting black marks on the UFC’s meteoric rise. In essence, Marquardt was “doing steroids.” So if that’s the reason, then fine. You won’t find a bigger advocate against steroid and PED use than me. I can’t stand cheaters and I don’t understand why anyone would do it. So if that’s the stance, I’m on board. Send them all packing.
But that can’t be the reason either. For one, this is Marquardt’s first offense. And two, Sonnen cheated in the same exact way and will be back, no doubt louder than ever. Light-Heavyweight Thiago Silva took horse steroids, will serve his suspension, and most likely return to the Octagon after his year suspension has been fulfilled.
So that can’t be it.
The only reason I can think of is that Dana let his fiery attitude get the best of him. He overreacted, fired and banished a very good fighter, all because he was upset at the fact that the fans were expecting a main event brawl between Rick Story and Nate Marquardt. He had spent all this money and all this time promoting this fight, and it fell through the cracks a day before it was to happen. Thiago Silva fought Brandon Vera, then got caught. Chael Sonnen fought Anderson Silva, then got caught. So that’s okay. But Marquardt didn’t make it to the fight. That made Dana angry and now Marquardt is without a job.
You can’t do that. You can’t fire people “just because.” And being angry is a “just because” reason. Dana and the UFC knew about Marquardt’s TRT and they didn’t care. So to fire and banish him is crossing the line. It’s crossing the line because, where’s he going to go? DREAM and Sengoku are folding, if they haven’t already, so the overseas bid is out of the question. Strikeforce was just bought up by the UFC, and Bellator has no where near the exposure the UFC does. Dana is taking Marquardt’s right to make a living. He’s taking sponsorship and contract money away from someone who made one mistake. A mistake he knew about. A mistake that he’s letting others skate by with. Doesn’t quite seem right.
Promoting fights that fall through will happen. This is the fight game. If anyone knows that, Dana should. The fans forgive and forget. Imagine if Roger Goodell or David Stern (NFL and NBA commissioners respectively) pulled something like this? Everyone would look at them cross-eyed and the media would tear them down. Dana White needs to get his anger in check and stop making rash decisions, because if he continues to flex his muscle, he’ll draw the wrong kind of attention. And the UFC can’t have that.