Monday, July 8, 2013

Dana White is the UFC's big daddy, alright

One of the things I like the least about the UFC is how Dana White act the role of big daddy to all of the fighters.  Not only do I dislike that on a personal level and think it should be, well, illegal (and I think that many UFC fights have a real case to make for workplace harassment, which I believe is related), but it has hurt the career of fights I like, who have no interest in playing into Dana's daddy issues.  Fights like Jon Fitch and Roy Nelson have had their careers effected in large ways because of their unwillingness or inability to treat Dana White like their big daddy.

It can be hard to pin that down, though, that Dana sees himself as the patriarch to his fighter employees.  But, recently, he's showed his hand more than a little with Chris Leben.

Talking about Leben, Dana said, "His fight style isn't healthy for him, the way that he fights.  He's getting up there in age, and the big layoffs don't help him either.  I don't know. I've got to figure. I've got to figure out what I think will be best for him, which people hate when I say that and do that."

So, Dana has to figure out what's best for a 32 year old man, because White thinks that Leben's lifestyle isn't healthy for him?  Where does Dana White get the moral authority to make those kinds of decision for another adult?  Oh, he's the UFC's big daddy.

Look, Dana, I dig it that you love Chris Leben.  But you're not his father.  You're his boss.  And the right choice is easy.  Leben is shot.  He doesn't have what it takes to be in the UFC.  We all knew this day would come, and that it would come sooner rather than later because of his problems with substance abuse and his fighting style.  Yes, if you fire Leben, he'll have to cope with that, but he's an adult.  Yes, he has had problems with alcohol and drugs but there's nothing you can do to fix that.  Chris Leben has to fix it.  Like you, Dana, I wish him all the best, that he can find it inside of himself to stay away from booze and drugs.  I absolutely wish him the best and I recognize the road is long and hard.  But you're his boss. 

If you really want to be his friend and help him, fire him.  Then still be his friend, but don't expect it to be the same when you're not the guy signing his paychecks, when he's got no reason to think of you as an authority figure.  But it is cruel to keep him in the UFC to maintain your paternal hold over him.

Anyway, the idea that Dana White feels the moral authority to make decisions about Leben's health and well-being, rather than sticking to his fucking job as the president of the UFC, making decisions based on athletic and business criteria, is a pretty clear indication that Dana sees himself as more than his employee's boss - that he sees himself as a father figure to the fighters in his employee.

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