JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Dana White is not a fan of Stephen Espinoza – and he’s especially not fond of the Showtime Sports executive’s recent comments.
In a tweet issued prior to UFC 249 on Sunday, Espionza claimed the UFC “required (athletes) to sign a document which says that they can lose their whole purse and bonuses if they say anything negative about the COVID protocols.”
Espinoza’s claims came in light of the UFC’s return to event operations in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Seemingly, Espinoza’s implication was the UFC was not allowing its athletes to criticize the company’s newly-implemented coronavirus testing policing. Yahoo! Sports later confirmed the accuracy of Espinoza’s claim.
At the UFC 249 post-fight press conference, White was asked about Espinoza’s claims and unloaded on the Showtime Sports executive.
“There’s a disparagement clause in there that’s in all of our contracts,” White said. “Isn’t that creepy looking, little (expletive) a lawyer? Isn’t that creepy little (expletive) goofball a lawyer? Does he not know what disparagement means? (It’s) if you disparage the company. I’m not even a (expletive) lawyer and I know the answer to that question. It’s disparagement.”
So what exactly does the disparagement clause consist of? White implied the clause is put into place so that athletes don’t say untrue things about the company afterward.
“It’s like if you came out and said, ‘They never tested me. The UFC never tested me for the coronavirus,’” White said. “If you came out and had something critical to say about the testing that was true, that wouldn’t be disparagement. What (expletive) law school did he go to? I can’t stand that (expletive) creep if you couldn’t tell. … He’s just a (expletive) – look at him, that creepy, little dude. What the (expletive) does he know about our contracts?”
White and Espinoza have worked together in the past. For the infamous Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor boxing match, White represented Zuffa on McGregor’s side, while Espinoza headed up things for Showtime, which co-promoted the bout.
UFC 249 takes place Saturday at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Fla. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN and ESPN+.