Dana White reflects on ugly moment striking his wife, changes he made

Dana White doesn’t live with many regrets, but he almost assuredly puts the ugly incident caught on tape on New Year’s Eve in 2022 at the top of the list.

Video captured by patrons at a bar in Mexico showed the UFC CEO slapping his wife during a heated argument. White addressed the altercation afterward and stated there were no excuses for his behavior. He added, “You don’t put your hands on a woman ever.”

More than a year later, White reflected on the incident and doubled down on past statements, saying he will have to live with that moment for the rest of his life but his biggest concern back then was always his family and not the way he was perceived publicly for his actions.

“Me and my wife went through a situation last year that we both had to face, and the only thing that mattered to us was our kids,” White told former ESPN anchor Sage Steele on her podcast. “I’m going to be judged for the rest of my life for that and I should be. It happened. I did it.

“When something like that happens, you’ve got to get up the next day and look at yourself in the mirror and say, first, how did that happen? How do I make sure that never happens again? When I say judged, there was a lot of people who are like, ‘If it happened there, that isn’t the first rodeo, that’s happened before.’ I would say the same exact thing. I would say the same thing. But at the end of the day, here’s the truth … your kids know exactly who you are.”

White has three children — two boys and a girl — and they were his central focus in the fallout from the altercation.

As much as he took responsibility for his actions and understands that incident will haunt him for the rest of his days, White says he didn’t really care what anybody else thought about him. He just had to reconcile those actions with his children.

“If you’re a racist, your kids know you’re a racist,” White explained. “If you do things like that to your wife, your kids know. The list goes on and on, nobody knows you better than your kids do. They lived it. They live in the house for 18 to 20 years and they see what they see. My kids know who I am. My kids know what I’m about. That’s the only f****** thing that matters to me. When that situation happened, we had to deal with our kids. F****** media, you think I give a s*** what they f****** think? They can all kiss my ass. My kids were the focus and the priority during that situation. Dana, my oldest, didn’t talk to us for like four days. We got through it with them, but at the end of the day, your kids know who you are.

“That was the most important part of it. That was the only thing that mattered to me and my wife. Nobody wants to see their dumb, drunk parents slapping each other on TMZ, you know what I mean? It is what it is. It was bad, but it happened and it needed to be dealt with. When I was going out and talking about it publicly and you’ve got the media asking you about apologies, we apologized. We apologized to the people that we needed to apologize to — to our kids. That’s what we did.”

White says he doesn’t shy away from addressing his actions because he can’t expect that he’ll ever live down that moment, no matter what else happens for the rest of his life.

As much as he bemoans cancel culture and backlash celebrities face for social or political views, White fully understands and accepts the criticism he took for his actions.

“When I had to talk about that stuff publicly and I’m comfortable talking about it publicly, it’s a part of my life and it’s something that happened and it’s something that I had to deal with at home,” White said. “The rest of the world, they’re always going to say what they’re going to say about it, but at the end of the day, it’s your kids.

“You’re going to get attacked, but deservedly so for me when that happened. I’m one of these people that every day, when I wake up — and I told you how much I love waking up — I want to be better tomorrow than I am today. When that’s your mentality and you wake up after a night like that, you have to have a serious sit down with yourself and say how did that happen and how do I make sure that never happens again? I handled it.”

In the aftermath of White’s actions, the UFC CEO admits he had to not only reflect on his behavior, but he had to ensure something like that will never happen again. Beyond making things right with his children, White says that was the only other thing that mattered moving forward.

“I made some decisions in my life that I could guarantee that would never happen again,” White said. “I made some decisions in my life and things I needed to fix with myself to make sure that never happens again. That will never happen again, no matter what. Me and my wife have known each other since eighth grade, we’ve been friends since eighth grade and we’ve been married for almost 30 years. It’s weird and I think about it all the time, that that situation would play out on New Year’s Eve, basically on stage, in front of however many people all with phones aimed right at me, and boom, here we are.

“It was crystal clear how and why it happened. I had to take a look at myself and say we need to fix this and this can never happen again.”

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