In the wake of the controversy surrounding former UFC star Gina Carano, UFC president Dana White has rushed to her defense. And he's going after an ESPN reporter to do so.
Following UFC 258, White called out ESPN MMA insider Ariel Helwani for criticizing Carano for extremely controversial social media posts made last week that many deem anti-Semitic.
Helwani, who is Jewish, lambasted Carano for the posts in a video on Instagram.
“Obviously I am very disappointed in what she posted. To be honest I haven’t agreed with a lot of the things she has posted over the past year. This last post, essentially comparing being a Republican in America, or having a certain political view, to being a Jew in Nazi Germany during World War 2 is asinine. It is an absolutely crazy comparison to make and is completely insensitive to think that Jewish people and other minorities as well, not just Jews, but in this particular post Jews were the ones discussed, had to hide in attics and in gutters and had to be separated from their families and murdered six million of them. Umm.. to compare that to what is going on in this country is just a very tone deaf analogy to make, to put it mildly. Now I am not one, I am not into the whole cancel culture and all of that. I am not here to talk about someone’s employment or something like that. I am hear to talk about the comment. The statement. The analogy.”
“As a Jewish person, and as a human being, it just doesn’t sit well. And I wish she would have never posted that. And quite frankly I wish someone would have talked to her about her social media posts over the past year. Some of them not even political. Just in general, they felt off to me. I am sorry she has gone down this path.”
But White made it very clear that he doesn't believe Helwani's objection to Carano is genuine. White called Helwani "a douche" and accused him of making the situation "all about him."
“We all make mistakes," White said. "For everyone to go in on her… I love how Ariel Helwani made it all about him. It’s all about him. Such a douche.”
This isn't the first time there's been bad blood between White and Helwani though. Back when Helwani was with FOX, White had his credentials taken away.
Whether Gina Carano is anti-Semitic in her heart of hearts or not, she engaged in very clear anti-Semitic dog-whistling.
Disney decided not to associate with someone who engaged in that kind of behavior, and dropped her as a talent. Given some of the other controversial figures they do business with, that may appear hypocritical to many. But it's still their decision to make.
Gina Carano may land on her feet, but she's going to be a polarizing figure from here on out. And Dana White will be in her corner.