In a surprising turn of events, UFC CEO Dana White has announced a significant policy reversal regarding competitors’ display of national flags inside the octagon.
Just last year, the UFC implemented a ban prohibiting athletes from showcasing their respective countries’ flags during their entrances and celebrations after victory. This move left many in the MMA community bewildered and disheartened.
Dana White remained tight-lipped about the rationale behind this ban. He simply stated during a press conference, “You guys know why.”
This prohibition even extended to backstage photoshoots, which disappointed competitors like UFC welterweight Li Jingliang when his Chinese flag was taken down after a victory.
In the absence of concrete explanations, speculations arose. Some combatants and analysts speculated that the UFC’s prior stance on free speech might have influenced this decision.
A pivotal moment occurred during Noche UFC when the vibrant display of Mexican pride and celebration caught Dana White’s attention. Witnessing Mexican competitors and fans proudly waving flags convinced White to reevaluate his position.
At the UFC Vegas 80 press conference, White shed light on the initial ban’s motivations.
He said: “There’s a lot of things that go on in a company this big and you can’t micromanage everything and sometimes things are done for the intentions of the right reasons. Everybody in this room knows the way that I feel about a lot of things, basically, I don’t give a f*** is the answer to most things.”
White went on to express his candid perspective: “Everybody’s too soft, everybody’s too sensitive about everything. When the decision was made to do this, I was kind of like ‘meh, you know, what’s the big deal if they don’t have flags’, Mexican Independence Day flipped the switch for me and I was like ‘that’s enough, I’m done with the no flags.’ If any flags hurt your feelings, too f***in bad.”
In addition to the flag policy reversal, Dana White provided a crucial update on Conor McGregor’s status with regards to re-entering the USADA testing pool. While McGregor has not yet officially re-entered, he has submitted the required paperwork. It is anticipated that his enrollment will be confirmed soon, possibly by Monday.
Regarding McGregor’s comeback timeline, White disclosed that no concrete plans had been set.
Speaking at the UFC Vegas 80 press conference after the match, White clarified: “He’s not officially in the USADA pool. He has submitted the paperwork. Probably by Monday, he will be submitted.”
“Again, don’t hold me to that but the paperwork is submitted… I literally have nothing planned with Conor McGregor right now. The paperwork is being submitted, we’ll play it by ear, and see how things work out.”