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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
A joking, fake "quote" attributed to UFC President Dana White has gotten MMA website CagePotato.com into some hot water with the UFC. The organization sent out a press release on Tuesday demanding a retraction from the website for said "quote."
The issue in question is that there was no explicit statement made that it was a joke, and quotes were wrapped around the following statement and attributed to White:
"Not only am I paying Bones to wear UFC logos on his walkout gear next weekend, I also placed a $500,000 bet that he'd beat Rashad. Oh s***. I guess I shouldn't have said that out loud."
White took exception to the idea that he placed a bet on any fight, and his reaction has come quickly. Here's the full text of the press release sent out this afternoon:
UFC® AND DANA WHITE DEMAND RETRACTION FROM CAGEPOTATO WEBSITE
Las Vegas, Nevada – Zuffa, LLC, dba the Ultimate Fighting Championship® (UFC®), today announced that it served a demand for retraction upon the parent entities and executives of the website CagePotato regarding certain false and defamatory statements attributed to UFC® President, Dana White, in an April 14th website posting.
As detailed in the formal demand for a retraction prepared by UFC® attorney, Donald J. Campbell of the Las Vegas law firm, Campbell & Williams:
"The claim that Mr. White would financially wager on the outcome of a UFC® event is outrageous in the extreme. Indeed, in the verified complaint we are presently preparing for Mr. White's signature upon his return from Abu Dhabi, Mr. White expressly states under oath that at no time in the history of his association with the UFC® has he ever financially wagered on the outcome of a UFC® event."
Mr. Campbell further explained that under Nevada law a demand for retraction is the first required step in the filing of a lawsuit seeking punitive damages against a party that has maliciously published defamatory statements about another.
Penick's Analysis: The problem is that the quote wasn't explicitly labeled as satire or a joke, and White's not having any sense of humor about the idea of him betting on a fight that he's promoting. I'd imagine CagePotato will release some type of comment soon about this, but I don't know what grounds there would actually be for any legal action regarding a clearly fake quote. Still, all they have to do to avoid it going any further is say, "Dana White did not actually make that statement, it was posted for entertainment purposes" and end it there.
"On Saturday, we published a post about the UFC's sponsorship of Jon Jones for his upcoming fight against Rashad Evans, which included a satirical caption about UFC president Dana White betting money on the fight. The caption was intended to be a joke, and we were confident that it would interpreted that way by our readers. Earlier today, we received a press release announcing that the UFC and Dana White are demanding a retraction “regarding certain false and defamatory statements attributed to UFC® President, Dana White.” ...
CagePotato doesn't contest any part of this request; we hereby retract the line in question, which has since been removed from our site. Again, the caption wasn't published with any malicious intent whatsoever, but we understand that Dana White's reputation would be harmed if our readers actually believed that he bets on the UFC's matches. Once again, Dana White does not bet on his own fights, and he never has. We apologize for any misunderstanding the caption may have caused.
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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