Dana White, The 'Smiley' and The UFC Empire.

Dana White’s recent ‘smiley’ tweet is the kind of obnoxious behaviour that has come to make most long term MMA fans blood boil. It is an emoticon that is all so familiar, appearing after Ortiz’s withdrawal from his bout with new (allegedly) UFC recruit Quinton Jackson at Bellator 106. Set to launch their inaugural PPV, Tito’s injury led the fight to be scrapped, and the show moved to spike. A change of plan that likely and ironically, given White’s recent courting, cost Rampage a bag of money through PPV points. Bellator’s first move in the PPV sphere failed, and the UFC president was delighted, and he had every reason to be but deference goes a long way. (One would only have to take a glance at the popularity of Scott Coker). Instead Dana has always reinforced the narrative that it is the UFC against the world, and for those who think I lie, take a look at the photographs in the recent lawsuit document.

The UFC president has, however, not thought about the implication of his actions. I, like many of you, have grown up watching multiple organisations. Besides excitedly counting down the clock as Couture defeated Sylvia at UFC 68, I was enthralled by the San Jose scraps in Strikeforce, Sakuraba’s entrances in Pride were electrifying, and I was captivated by Arlovski’s bout with Fedor in Affliction. Hence, each time Dana laughed at a failing organisation, he mocked those fighters trying to make a living, and by doing so insulted us the fans, those who are concerned for the livelihoods of the athletes and who believe that competition is healthy for the sport.

In a time where journalists cannot fully report their feelings due to the fear of losing their UFC press credentials, I have become increasingly disillusioned with the MMA landscape. Lawsuit or not, something has to change.

Protect the fighters, protect the journalists and we protect the sport.