Dana White’s Childish Approach to Tim Kennedy Criticism Makes UFC Look Cheap

Tim Kennedy UFC 162 Weigh In

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The latest target of Dana White‘s most recent angry tirades over fighter pay is Tim Kennedy, a Strikeforce convert who is about to make his UFC debut Saturday against Roger Gracie. Kennedy made comments in a recent interview denouncing the pay scale in the UFC to the point where he claimed he could make more money as a garbage man.

The 33-year-old U.S. Army Ranger obviously didn’t think his comments would make such a huge impact, and he promptly apologized and backtracked on those critical statements.

“…Zuffa has taken better care of me than any other organization, even giving me a bonus for being amusing on Twitter. My choice of words was poor, not properly informed and did not match my intent. Additionally, my comments were taken out of context,” Kennedy said in an apology letter distributed to the media. He also went on to say sorry to White, Lorenzo FertittaJoe Silva and “anyone I might have offended with my comments.”

That didn’t stop White from blasting Kennedy for his non-superstar status in an interview with the Las Vegas Review Journal:

“No disrespect, but who gives a s—- about Tim Kennedy? Is he selling out venues? Are people buying f—– tickets for Tim Kennedy? OK, there you go.”

White went on to suggest that if Kennedy doesn’t like his UFC paychecks he should go ahead and leave the UFC to be a garbage man.

The entire incident illustrates the extent of the disdainful treatment UFC fighters can face for speaking out against the league’s shortchanging of some of their most important employees. Any critical commentary earns the wrath of the man made famous for a speech to the cast of the first season of The Ultimate Fighter where he went on a rant focused around the main question: “Do you want to be a f—ing fighter?”

For someone who never personally fought a professional bout in his life, White’s abrasive attitude on this front displays a complete lack of respect and perspective.

During an interview a few years ago with Ryan Couture, the son of Former UFC Heavyweight Champ Randy Couture, the young Strikeforce prospect told me he wanted to stay in Strikeforce for his whole career because “the UFC likes to keep you under their thumb.” He ended up in the UFC anyway thanks to their buyout of Strikeforce, and as a result, he’s been forced to accept a mandate from the league forbidding his own father from cornering him in his bouts. He’s had to choose his fighting career over his own family, and that seems to be just the way White likes it.

This is a guy who somehow still has no clue what it really does take to be a pro mixed martial arts fighter even after all these years he’s been the president of the most successful MMA league on the planet and a manager of MMA fighters before that. Fans and media experts are getting sick of the same old four-letter-word-filled tirades that don’t ever give any concrete reasons or solid explanations for why the UFC can’t step up the payments for lower-level fighters. There’s no excuse for the league to avoid making life a little more comfortable for these prospects who sometimes end up actually paying out of their own pockets to participate in the UFC after taxes, training camp and travel expenses are deducted from their final fight pay.

All the while, White continues to rake in the cash for simply picking up a microphone and spouting complete BS. He’s a millionaire mouthpiece who claimed back in 2010 that the UFC was worth up to $2.5 billion, and he just can’t seem to comprehend the fact that some of his fighters have to face serious financial struggles to pursue one of the most brutal and painful career choices a person could possibly make. Other than deciding to become an elite soldier like Kennedy, that is.

White needs to stop making excuses and start realizing that it’s the prospects in the league today who will help him make his own hefty paycheck tomorrow, so he better take care of them and stop pretending that they “don’t matter.”  It’s time for him to start listening to these concerns and really addressing them in a constructive manner instead of just lashing out at those who raise them.

Around the Web

  • Ray Smith

    I knew this article would be written by the same dumbass who wrote that other idiotic article. What is your agenda, asshole? If Tim Kennedy can make more money collecting trash, then stop whining & go be a fucking garbage man. Simple as that. Whoever wrote this article is one of those “think of the children!” idiots who ruined society by giving every single kid trophies & medals “for participating”. What a joke!!!

    • SportsGenius705

      Sounds like someone is throwing a temper tantrum.

  • Rich Bergeron

    Obviously you subscribe to the same thought process as Dana White. You don’t have any actual argument to contradict me with any real facts or evidence, so you resort to insults. Real classy. I have no agenda. I would just like up and coming MMA fighters to get a little more than what they’re earning right now. “Simple as that.” You can’t even come up with your own genuine thought to support what you’re saying. You just toe the same line Dana White does with the trophy comment. If you’re so smart, why can’t you form an educated thought instead of going straight to cursing and name calling?

  • Michael Johnston

    Any article shining the light on the absolute thievery that is going on in the UFC regarding fighters salaries is a good article to me. Not perfect, not completely insightful and well thought out, but does it matter? The article points out just how much of a bully Dana White and the UFC are. The UFC seems to have the mentality that either you are happy with whatever crumbs they give you, or you’d better shut the fuck up if you aren’t. Coming after Kennedy who was fighting a man with huge reach and height advantage, not to mention a BJJ expert who was trying to grapple and avoid contact at all costs is a joke. By the way, those fans doing the wave in the crowd, those were Brazilian fans Dana, you fucking twit.

  • DT33

    I’m definitely sick of Dana’s “fuck you!” attitude towards anyone who dares to question him about fighter pay. I could see a strike happening in the future if he doesn’t treat them with more respect. These fighters continue to make him a multimillionaire (probably a billionaire), yet he acts like they should be grateful for whatever he feels like throwing at their feet.

    • SportsGenius705

      He’s the owner. He runs it his way. If you don’t like, don’t watch. If fighters don’t like it- don’t fight. Not tough.

      • DT33

        Doesn’t mean he needs to be a defiant asshole towards the fighters who’ve made him rich. He’s nothing without them.