clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Dana White weighs in on Gina Carano controversy: ‘Leave Gina alone’

New, comments

Dana White is sticking up for Gina Carano.

The former MMA star turned actress made headlines this week when she was fired from Disney’s The Mandalorian as well as by Lucasfilm, the studio that produces the popular Star Wars spinoff. Carano’s axing came in the wake of the 38-year-old receiving public criticism for a series of Instagram story posts that included shots at mask-wearing as a COVID-19 safety precaution and anti-conservative sentiment.

Carano seemingly addressed the latter issue with a post that compared what she perceived to be the plight of persecuted conservatives with the vilification of Jews during the era of the Holocaust.

The since-deleted post read as follows:

“Jews were beaten in the streets, not by Nazi soldiers but by their neighbors…even by children. Because history is edited, most people today don’t realize that to get to the point where Nazi soldiers could easily round up thousands of Jews, the government first made their own neighbors hate them simply for being Jews. How is that any different from hating someone for their political views.”

This was not the first time Carano had taken an aggressive stance with her political views (she has also propagated baseless QAnon conspiracy theories), but this time the ensuing backlash led to her being removed from a starring role as Cara Dune on The Mandalorian.

A statement from Lucasilm decried Carano’s statements as “abhorrent” and “unacceptable.” Her representation at United Talent Agency have also parted ways with her.

Speaking to reporters on Friday after the UFC 258 official weigh-ins and staredowns, UFC President Dana White had a brief message of support for the former fighter when asked about the controversy.

“Leave Gina alone,” White said. “Listen, we make mistakes. We all make mistakes.”

The relationship between White and Carano has been frosty in the past, with White publicly expressing his frustration with trying to set up a UFC fight between then-bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey and Carano in 2014. White referred to Carano as “the hardest human being we’ve ever dealt with” in regards to negotiations.

In 2019, Carano revealed in an interview that profane texts from White and a lack of professionalism on his part were a major factor in her deciding not to sign with the UFC.

“Dana was out there talking about me and talking about my name and telling people that he was going to sign me and I don’t even have a team yet,” Carano said. “And I was like, that is not what we discussed. You were supposed to give me at least six months to find a team. Then he started trying to put on the pressure through the media. It was a bummer because I told him over a text message that it was not what we had talked about. I need time, and now I am going to walk into a gym and people know that’s what I’m doing and I needed to build trust and find people.

“So, then he kept on doing that and kept on doing that and I’m still searching for a team and feeling all that pressure. Then he sent me a text message that said, ‘This b*tch is effin’ us around,’ or something like that.

“So I sent a text message back and said, ‘I think that you sent that to the wrong person’ and he said, ‘I don’t think I did’ and that was the last conversation that we ever had over text message because I don’t think that was the kind of environment that I wanted to come back into. So I just cut all communication after that text.”

Carano is widely credited with being one of the pioneers of woman’s MMA. She competed from 2006-2009, a span that saw her compete in several high-profile bouts that aired on cable television, a rarity at the time. The final fight of her career, a loss to Cris Cyborg on Aug. 15, 2009, drew a reported 576,000 viewers on Showtime.

A day after the news of her ousting from Disney and Lucasfilm, Carano announced that she is working with conservative pundit Ben Shapiro to produce a film through his website The Daily Wire.

“I am sending out a direct message of hope to everyone living in fear of cancellation by the totalitarian mob,” Carano said. “I have only just begun using my voice which is now freer than ever before, and I hope it inspires others to do the same. They can’t cancel us if we don’t let them.”