UFC’s Dana White defends free speech amidst Sean Strickland’s controversy

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By Carina

UFC president Dana White has vigorously defended the right of UFC fighters to express themselves freely, responding to queries about middleweight fighter Sean Strickland’s recent controversial comments. 

During a media interaction, when a reporter referenced White’s leniency towards fighters’ public statements, White emphasized his commitment to free speech. 

Dana White’s firm stance on UFC fighters’ free speech

“First of all, I don’t give anybody a leash. A leash? Free speech,” he stated. 

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White asserted that he does not impose restrictions on what fighters can say or believe, emphasizing, “It’s ridiculous to say I give somebody a leash. Free speech, brother. People can say whatever they want, and they can believe whatever they want.”

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Strickland’s controversial remarks and backlash

Sean Strickland, known for his unfiltered comments, faced backlash for his statements about the LGBT community.

Credit: DepositPhotos

During an exchange with a reporter, Strickland questioned the reporter’s sexuality and the LGBTQ community.

His response, “Well then, you’re a weak [expletive] man,” and criticisms of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau highlighted his contentious stance. Strickland’s rant included derogatory remarks about the reporter and Trudeau’s policies, telling the reporter to “Go [expletive] yourself. Move the [expletive] on man.”

Strickland’s critique of Bud Light’s trans marketing campaign

The discussion further delved into Bud Light’s recent marketing campaign featuring trans activist Dylan Mulvaney, which Strickland criticized harshly. 

Strickland accused people supporting transgender rights of being an “infection” and a sign of “weakness,” blaming them for societal problems. 

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UFC’s partnership with Bud Light and Strickland’s defeat

Despite the controversy surrounding Bud Light’s campaign, the UFC decided to renew its partnership with the beer brand, a relationship that dates back over 15 years. 

White explained that Anheuser-Busch and Bud Light have been the organization’s original beer sponsors. Meanwhile, Strickland’s outspokenness continued to stir debate, but his words did not translate into victory in the ring, as he lost his middleweight championship bout against Dricus Du Plessis on Saturday. 

This outcome adds another dimension to the ongoing discussion about the role of athletes’ voices in public discourse and the boundaries of free speech in professional sports.

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