UFC president Dana White won’t force fighters to apologize for their words, even if they use homophobic slurs during their post-fight interviews.
At UFC 293, winning fighters Charlie Radtke and Manel Kape issued fiery in-cage post-fight interviews, but both ruined their moments with usage of derogatory anti-gay terms. Both instances prompted interviewer Daniel Cormier to pull the mic and cut their interviews short.
“That was flying around a bit tonight,” White told MMA Junkie and other reporters when asked about Kape’s comments during a post-event news conference. “I think these guys get a little excited and they make bad mistakes. Radtke did the same thing, and you know me: We didn’t run over to him and say you better apologize. He did that on his own.
“When he got backstage he was embarrassed and got caught up in the moment. … He felt like he was treated like sh*t and all that stuff, and got emotional and whatever reason.”
Shortly after exiting the octagon, Radtke issued an apology on social media. Kape was also apologetic, confirming White’s statements by saying he regretted the word use and apologized to anyone he may have offended.
White says he won’t make fighters apologize for their words, which should not come as a surprise. The promotion has taken a hands-off approach when it comes to policing the words and opinions of its fighters, but it hasn’t always been that way.
In 2013, Nate Diaz wrote a tweet using homophobic language, which violated the UFC’s code of conduct. The promotion suspended him, and at the time, White even said Diaz would possibly be released. Ten years later, White and the promotion have taken a step back from public accountability when it comes to things fighters say or write, even if the words or statements are acknowledged as “bad mistakes.”
In any other major sport, the overwhelming expectation would have been immediate fines and/or suspensions for Radtke and Kape. Then again, it’s tough to hold fighters accountable when the White himself faced no repercussions for slapping his wife on New Year’s Eve.
“We make mistakes,” White said. “I am not holier than thou either, so we’ve all been in positions where we’ve made mistakes. Like I always say, it’s how you recover from it and how you carry yourself after you make the mistake.
“He came out and apologized on his own free will. We didn’t tell him to do anything, and the fact that he did that means he means it. I don’t make anybody apologize for anything. You do what you want. You’re grown men and women. You’re able to say what you want. He did it. He was embarrassed and he apologized. I’m sure some people will accept his apology and some people won’t.”
For better or worse, the rules are different in the fight business.