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Dana White mad because people paid attention to something he said

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Dana White

Dana White
Photo: AP

Typical Dana White. He gets asked a question, or is reminded of something that he doesn’t like, and he throws an adult temper tantrum. He yells, curses a mile a minute, and defiantly points his finger like Rafael Palmeiro in front of Congress. All to convince you that he is right because he is the UFC President, and he knows more about the organization than you do.

Dana, every leader of an organization or business knows more about it than the people asking questions. You have to make major decisions on a regular basis on behalf of your business so if you want to stay in your position, you had better know more than someone asking you questions and/or writing about you.

That doesn’t make the questions that you’re being asked or anything published that you don’t agree with beneath you. You have something to protect, and naturally, you will do so. You can yell and scream all you want whenever the topic of fighter pay comes up while you’re talking, but there’s a reason it won’t go away: It’s newsworthy.

One of the UFC’s biggest stars is fighting Saturday. Kamaru Usman will be defending his Welterweight Championship against Leon Edwards. If Usman wins, he will tie UFC legend Anderson Silva’s record for most consecutive victories in a row at 16. Usman is 35 years old, and as great as he has been fighting recently, there are only so many more years he will be able to perform well enough to be regarded as one of the best mixed martial artists on the planet.

Naturally, he wants to maximize his earning potential. In the buildup to his 15th consecutive win in November, Usman volunteered to ESPN’s Max Kellerman that he wants to take on boxing superstar Canelo Álvarez. The results in the ring for high-profile UFC stars who have laced up the mitts in the squared circle have not gone well. The results for their bank accounts, however, were victory by unanimous decision. Tyron Woodley had never made $600,000 in a single fight in the UFC despite holding the welterweight championship for three years before he lost to Usman in 2019. The first time that Woodley fought Jake Paul he took home $2 million, not including the PPV split.

So when White does a “Replies to Fans on the Internet,” GQ video, his response to a question about fighter pay will be notable. The fan’s question was, “Why do you think people seem to talk about UFC fighter pay? FWIW I would like to get paid more at my job.”

White’s response was the UFC is so successful that people are looking for anything to criticize, also of course fighters want to make more money. He also claimed that money ruined boxing. It is so ruined that one of his former champions just received the two best paydays of his career by fighting a social media influencer.

If anything is wrong with boxing it’s that many legendary fighters went broke, because promoters didn’t give them their fair share of the profits that their bodies created. Who plays the Don King role in the UFC to help maximize fight interest? I do believe it’s the president of the organization who does press conferences after the PPV events — Dana White.

What White said that went viral was also spelled out in the reply box: “It’s never gonna happen while I’m here, believe me, these guys get paid what they’re supposed to get paid. They eat what they kill. They get a percentage of the pay-per-view buys that is spread out amongst all the fighters.”

He was upset when asked about the video during an interview with Yahoo Sports’ Kevin Iole, specifically when Iole referenced an article that was written by ESPN’s Marc Raimondi about the GQ video. White dropped f-bomb after f-bomb, and referred to the writer as “some piece of shit journalist,” because he was mad that someone took words seriously that he said in an interview in what he claims was supposed to be a “fun” video and wrote a story about them.

No matter how much “fun” White was having, the quotes were in line with what he always says about UFC fighter pay, and what the data shows about it. In Raimondi’s story, he stated UFC fighters receive about 20 percent of the revenue, as opposed to the other major American sports organizations — the NFL, MLB, and NBA — in which the athletes receive close to 50 percent.

That 20 percent number comes from an antitrust lawsuit that was filed by former UFC fighters in 2014, a case that is still being litigated. In 2020, The New York Post was informed by their sources that UFC fighters received 16 percent of the revenue in 2019. On a CNBC interview in 2021, David Faber said it was 18 percent and asked White about it. White replied that it’s been that way for 20 years and “it’s gonna stay that way for the next 20 years.”

White had more to say in the “fun” video.

“If you don’t like it, there’s a simple solution,” White said. “Go start your own MMA organization. No barrier to entry. Knock yourself out. Pay ’em whatever you want to pay ’em. It’s been done before. How’s it worked out for other guys? Not well. Mind your business.”

That sounds like a whole lot of fun. Water slides, ice cream, and roller coasters on a summer day type of fun — if you happen to be White, the UFC, and its investors. The UFC is no different than any other league, organization, or business. The main concern is not to be fair to its labor force. What is paramount is to maximize profit.

Decades ago, the MLB was brought kicking and screaming into a world without the reserve clause. Lawsuits were filed against both the NBA and NFL to get free agency. The Ali Act is a law passed by the United States government that requires boxing promoters to reveal how much money they are receiving from the fighters. There is a movement to apply that act to all combat sports, but, according to Raimondi, the UFC has “spent hundreds of thousands of dollars lobbying against it.”

White can be as dismissive as he wants and speak as loudly as he desires on the subject of fighter pay. Iole said during their interview that he disagreed with White’s argument that an article should not be written based on his statements in the GQ video.

Near the end of the interview as White rambles about how it shouldn’t have been taken seriously because he wasn’t fucking sitting down with 60 Minutes, he demands twice for Iole to “say you’re wrong.” Great work by White, attempting to bully a journalist on a video call.

A UFC fighter is going for a record Saturday night, and is also on the record that he wants a fight in a completely different sport that there is no way he can win. Francis Ngannou — the current UFC Heavyweight Champion — also wants to take on a boxing champion — Tyson Fury — and is always speaking out against the pay that UFC fighters receive.

He still hasn’t signed a new contract with the UFC, and tweeted out Thursday that he lost $1 million because of UFC’s control over individual fighter sponsorships. White did not come to the octagon to put the belt on Ngannou after his last title defense in January, and the champion reiterated his problems with the UFC during his post-fight press conference.

White can cherry-pick arguments, and Saturday he can attack a reporter with all of the bluster and machismo he can muster when he’s inevitably asked about fighter pay in his press conference following the conclusion of UFC 278. It’s all he’s got. There’s no argument that can be made that the fighters are compensated fairly. It’s also not his job to do so.

His job is to make sure he and the people with the highest financial commitments to the organization profit. It’s been the way of sports business for decades. He’s no different than any major sports league owner or commissioner that came before him.

White can try to convince us otherwise. He can say that people are going out of their way to criticize the UFC, journalists aren’t using his words in proper context, or that no one outside of the UFC office and the investors has any basis to question him about how much the fighters make.

You can say whatever you want, Dana, but we most certainly can hold your words against you, no matter what platform upon which you spoke. Especially, if your words line up with your previous statements, and your organization’s actions.





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Who’s to blame for Atlanta Hawks turmoil — Trae Young or Nate McMillan?

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Nate McMillan and Trae Young

Nate McMillan and Trae Young
Photo: Getty Images

Here’s a multiple choice essay question. You’ve got a blossoming superstar in Trae Young who has plateaued after some early career triumphs. Young is 24, played in a conference finals two seasons ago, but he’s also got a penchant for taking too many heat-check shots which are exhilarating to watch go in, but most observers shudder when he hits inevitable cold streaks.

However, Young has been working through soreness in his right shoulder, and during a shootaround Friday, was undergoing treatment on his shoulder according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania and Sam Amick, when an argument between McMillan and Young erupted.

According to The Athletic, McMillan did not approve of Young’s stance and presented him with an ultimatum: Play off the bench or don’t show up to the arena. As a result, Young was surprisingly scratched from Atlanta’s lineup before their home contest on Friday against the Denver Nuggets.

So how would you respond?

A) Nate McMillan was right to give Trae Young an ultimatum!

B) Trae Young beefs with every coach. No big deal.

C) This is about more than just one shootaround.

D) All of the above

Correct Answer: D

McMillan needed to ease up, but he and Young have never vibed on the same frequency, and it remains to be seen if McMillan’s coaching style even fits this franchise’s needs.

McMillan chalked his dispute with Young up to a misunderstanding, but leaders in a locker room shouldn’t have the communication standards of two strangers arguing in a nightclub. In a climate where organizations hand nights off to their star players at a dizzying pace, treating one of the NBA’s most high-usage stars like a problematic diva before a low-stakes early December matchup, while he receives treatment on a shoulder injury, hints at some turmoil bubbling beneath the surface.

To paraphrase the sage words of Allen Iverson, “we’re talkin’ about shootarounds. Not a game, not a game, not a game, but a shootaround.” To his credit, Young is surprisingly durable, despite being one of the league’s bantamweight guards. In five seasons, he’s missed only 23 games.

However, this is about more than just one failure to communicate. Young and McMillan are speaking different languages. Since Atlanta’s run to the Eastern Conference finals in 2021, McMillan’s connection with Young has deteriorated to the point that the Hawks have held several team meetings to address their issues. Lloyd Pierce’s record led to his firing, but discord with Young was also at the forefront of his departure.

McMillan and Young’s tenuous relationship wouldn’t be as much of a concern if the Hawks were producing wins at the pace expected of them. Their 13-10 record to start the season is strikingly similar to Atlanta’s sluggish 12-11 record through its first 23 games in 2021. To McMillan’s credit, the shorthanded Hawks are still fourth in the East and beat Denver on Friday, 117-109. However, Atlanta is also three games out of the Play-In Tournament, and the team’s ceiling has more leaks in it than when team president Travis Schlenk constructed his Dejounte Murray-Trae Young backcourt atrium.

The white-hot offense that torched opposing defenses and led the league in points per 100 possessions last season is no more. The Young-Murray Hawks have improved from the 26th-worst defense to the top-10, but at the expense of their halfcourt offense, which is now a bottom-10 unit. McMillan’s offense ranks last in 3-pointers made, is ranked 22nd in effective field-goal percentage, which weighs 3-pointers more heavily and they’re missing the je ne sais quoi that made them an All-League Pass team.

Atlanta’s Kevin Huerter trade illustrates how the Hawks front office and their coaching staff have mismanaged their roster. Soon after the offseason of Dejounte Murray, Atlanta shipped Huerter, 24, to Sacramento in exchange for 33-year-old Justin Holiday, 29-year-old Mo Harkless and a 2024 first-round pick. The Hawks envisioned Huerter evolving into Klay Thompson Lite, playing off of Young, but more importantly they seemed to be taking a chance on Sacramento stumbling so they could inherit a lottery pick.

Instead, Huerter has reached new heights playing in Sacramento’s more decentralized offensive system that ranks second in the NBA in assists and more closely resembles Golden State’s than Atlanta’s Trae Young central attack.

Back to Huerter. In Sacramento, Mike Brown has channeled Huerter’s brilliance into a battery powering the NBA’s second-highest scoring team. He’s the NBA’s most frequent scorer off of handoffs and his two-man game with Domantas Sabonis has allowed him to flex his entire range of skills. Starting alongside Fox, Huerter is averaging a career-high 15.5 points per game, shooting better than 42 percent behind the arc and taking nearly seven 3s per game. He wasn’t getting those looks in Atlanta.

After getting bagged up by the Miami Heat in a first-round sweep last season, Atlanta didn’t just need a personnel change, they needed a cleanse. Trae Young needs a shooting profile that is more similar to Steph’s than James Harden’s. Young’s struggles are a microcosm of what ails the Hawks. They aren’t putting their offensive stars in the best position to score. Atlanta is heavily reliant on predictable isolations and runs more pick-and-rolls than all but one team. Even with De’Aaron Fox at the point, Sacramento has gone the Golden State route by running fewer pick-and-rolls than any team after ranking fifth during their abysmal 2021-22 campaign.

Last season, 14.2 percent of Young’s 2-point field goals were assisted on and 22.3 percent of his 3-balls were. Young has improved slightly, but only to 15 percent assisted 2-pointers and 38 percent of his 3-point makes.

Curry, the most efficient off-the-dribble shooter in league history, is scoring 36.5 percent of his 2-point field goals off of assists, nearly three times Young’s rate. On triples? 58 percent of the time. Getting Young easier buckets so he’s not wearing himself out would be a path to assure McMillan’s future employment in Atlanta.

How Schlenk navigates their plans to trade John Collins will determine Atlanta’s short-term success, but the hands on McMillan’s clock are approaching midnight. Former Warriors assistant Mike Brown unlocked the peak-Red Velvet version of Huerter that Atlanta thought they were getting. Atlanta upgraded the roster, but not the staff that deploys it. If the tumult continues in Atlanta, they may want to consider taking a bite off the Golden State coaching tree.





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Japan vs Croatia LIVE! World Cup 2022 match stream, latest team news, lineups, TV, prediction

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Japan this afternoon will look to add another famous scalp to an already remarkable World Cup run when they face 2018 finalists Croatia. With Spain and Germany already put to the sword, a place in the quarter-finals is now up for grabs. The Samurai Blue have never made it to the last eight.

Croatia are the seasoned veterans, though, with a midfield of Luka Modric and Mateo Kovacic and the versatile Ivan Perisic patrolling the flank, meaning little with phase them at the Al Janoub Stadium today. Head coach Zlatko Dalic says his country continue to perform punch above their weight and a last-eight spot would be just their third in history.

The winner will face the victor between Brazil and South Korea, who play later today. Follow the game LIVE below with our dedicated match blog, featuring expert insight and analysis from Nizaar Kinsella at Al Janoub Stadium.

Live updates

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Croatia team news: Defenders taken ill

For Croatia, left-back Borna Sosa could be sidelined due to illness, while defender Josip Stanisic has a muscle issue. Otherwise manager Zlatko Dalic chould have a full squad to choose from.

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Japan team news: Tomiyasu looking to start

Hiroki Sakai and Takehiro Tomiyasu should both be fit for Japan today, although Ko Itakura is suspended and there is an injury doubt over Takefusa Kubo.

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How to watch

TV channel: In the UK, the match will be televised free-to-air and live on BBC One, with coverage beginning at 2.30pm.

Live stream: Fans can also catch the game live online via the BBC iPlayer and BBC Sport website.

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Welcome

Good afternoon and welcome to the Evening Standard’s LIVE coverage of the World Cup last-16 clash between Japan and Croatia.

Japan have never made it to the quarter-finals, while Croatia are looking to at least emulate their runners-up spot from four years ago.

Kick-off at the Al Janoub Stadium is at 3pm GMT. Stick with us.

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Pakistan vs England | Day five morning highlights

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Morning session highlights from day five of the first Test between Pakistan and England in Rawalpindi.



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