In light of recent controversies involving domestic violence and athletesincluding mixed martial artistsUFC president, Dana White, told the International Business Times earlier this week, that his promotion has always taken a morality first approach to these issues.

“We’ve been all over [the Anthony Johnson case], and when you move as fast as we move, and the things we’ve been doing, it’s hard to police thousands of guys and know what exactly is going on, but as soon as we’ve found information on guys, we’ve acted,” White said. “Of course, the way we always react is morally first, then the business second.”

This all sounds warm and fuzzy, but it’s utter public relations bullshit.

If the UFC really operated on a “morality first” system, then how do they explain the re-signing of Thiago Silva before his subsequent re-release once videos of him threatening his ex-wife surfaced?

Upon Silva’s initial re-signing, White attempted to justify bringing the Brazilian back.

“If you believe in the process, if you believe in the legal process, they came, [police] arrested him and he wasn’t brought up on any charges,” White said during an interview for Fox Sports Live. “Plus, I know a lot more of the story and what went on. If you take his side of the story, her side of the story, the truth lies somewhere in the middle, but he went through the process and he wasn’t charged with anything. The guy should have the ability to make a living.”

If the UFC really places ethics over business, then, regardless of what the “process” found, they would have still barred Silva from returning to the Octagon. But like the Ray Rice situation with the NFL, unless video proof of the crime goes viral, the promotion has no problem bringing an alleged domestic abuser back into the fold.

The promotion could care less about the “process,” they only care about perception.

When the public perceived Silva as a “bad guy”, due to SWAT teams storming his house, the promotion had no problem cutting the fighter saying he would “never fight in the UFC again,” even though he had yet to have his day in court.

Once people put away their pitchforks and the case against the Brazilian was thrown outwhich, by the way, happened due to his ex-wife leaving the country for fear of her lifethe UFC decided to go with this whole “believe in the system” gimmick.

While many fans expressed outrage over the re-signing, the promotion ignored the outcry, until video evidence was released.

So what is it?

Do you believe in due process? Do you really stand-up for morals? Or, is this all just one big PR play?

Unfortunately, it’s hard to perceive the UFC’s actions as being anything but a business first decision. Much similar to the Rice case, it shouldn’t have taken a viral video of the confrontation to have Silva expelled from the Octagon permanently.

This whole “morality first” claim is just another attempt at spinning the PR, so the world’s top promotion doesn’t fall into the same debacle Goodell and his cronies are currently facing.

Unfortunately, this just another example of a “business comes first” mindset for another billion-dollar sports organization.

About The Author

Staff Writer

Matt Juul is loving college life as he pursues a career in journalism and cinema. A writer and pop culture fanatic, his interests and expertise range from arts and entertainment to the rough and tough world of mixed martial arts. Matt’s work has appeared in The Boston Globe, Boston.com, Bleacher Report, Fox Sports, and the New Haven Register.

  • Jeremy

    In your suggestion that Silva’ wife left the country, “fearing for her life” , the story you link to says nothing about why she left, only that she did not cooperate with the police and was thought to have left the country.

    The problem I have with your story is that it suggests that the justice system should have had no bearing in how the UFC acted. If an athlete has all charges dropped, he should be allowed back. It is not a boss’s, or team owner’s, job to put their own judgment above that of our legal system.