Sunday, April 5, 2009

Anheuser-Busch's Response to Dana White's Rant

The story has been circulating the mma and sports world for the passed few days, so there is no need to rehash the original story about Dana White's rant. Many were and are still curious to see if there will be any repercussions for the UFC president's comments. He has gone on the record and apologized to the gay and lesbian community, but insists his tirade was solely intended for Sherdog writer, Loretta Hunt, who he has not apologized to. The apology seems to have satisfied the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Discrimination (GLAAD). The owners of the UFC, the Fertitta brothers most likely reprimanded him, but probably nothing more. Who else could possibly provide any repercussions to Dana White and the UFC?

You could argue some fans will be turned off by it, but Dana White has shown his brash and shoot from the hip commenting style to be welcomed amongst his young and boisterous fight fans. Another possible backlash can come from the media, which has definitely occured, but the most vocal criticisms coming from outside the mma community. That only leaves the very valuable sponsors of the events. The guys who help make the UFC's bottom line much more profitable. The main sponsors, having recently been partnered only last year, are Harley-Davidson and Anheuser-Busch.

If either reneged on their sponsorship deals due to Dana White's comments, it would have a huge impact on the organization. Not only would it add fuel to a fire the UFC want to extinguish and forget about, but it could have a deterring effect on any new potential sponsors, who may shy away from being associated with the organization. Either way, the comments have left an indelible mark, it's just a matter of how well the UFC does damage control in the public realm and behind closed doors with their sponsors and partners. Clinch or Die contacted Anheuser-Busch, as they are one of the biggest, if not the biggest, sponsors the UFC has had and probably the biggest sponsors in all of major sports. Their official response about Dana White and his comments...

Thanks for contacting Anheuser-Busch.

The comments by Dana White were inappropriate, insensitive and out-of-line. We have spoken to Dana about the gravity of this issue and communicated that our company maintains a corporate commitment to zero tolerance for discrimination. Anheuser-Busch is guided by the belief, ‘Making Friends Is Our Business,’ and that every consumer is important, regardless of race, sex, religion, color, sexual orientation, gender identity national origin, age, disability or veteran’s status.

It is our understanding that Dana has posted an apology for his inappropriate comments. We thank you for contacting Anheuser-Busch and allowing us an opportunity to respond. Please let us know if you have additional comments or questions.

Your Friends at Anheuser-Busch

1-800-DIAL-BUD (1-800-342-5283)

www.budlight.com

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We haven't gotten in contact with Harley-Davidson, but Anheuser-Busch's comments lead us to believe they find Dana White's apology sufficient. Even though they themselves state there is "zero tolerance for discrimination," it doesn't look like Dana White's rant will harm the affiliation between the UFC and Anheuser-Busch. I would say this is a big bullet dodged by the UFC and should be a lesson learned for the president of the UFC. If you want the UFC and mma in general to become main stream, the face and representative of said groups must be careful in what they say and how they say it.

This isn't the first time Dana White has made controversial comments and he will be watched closely by many due to this recent incident. I guess this is why the UFC have stated Dana White will be taking a less public role for the foreseeable future. It'll be interesting to see how the leaves settle after all of this or if they will be ruffled again. Time will tell.

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