UFC president Dana White believes “justice was served” to a fighter who called his opponent a “terrorist” and ended up losing the bout the following night.
During Monday night’s Contender Series weigh-ins, Israel’s Oron Kahlon called Afghanistan’s Javid Basharat a “terrorist” during the ceremonial faceoff after Basharat had declined his handshake, per MMA Fighting. White said the following day he didn’t believe the remarks were too far and instead said it was decided in the cage.
Basharat (11-0) dominated Kahlon for three rounds, submitting him with a guillotine choke with 48 seconds to go. He earned a UFC contract with the victory.
Dana White: Punishment for comments decided in fight
White was asked if he thought about doing anything after the terrorist comment was made Monday night.
“You know what my answer is to that,” White said in the post-fight news conference. “Are we going to do anything? It got done tonight. You know what I mean? It’s the beautiful thing about the sport. I say it all the time: This is not a nice sport. This is a very rough sport. We say a lot of mean things to each other and justice gets served at the end of the day.
“When you have a situation like that, the best way to solve the problem is you fight. And you fight legally and you get paid to do it. And that’s what happened tonight.”
White was then asked if he felt there was a line that could be crossed in trash talking that would make it a “little too far.”
“No. Not in this business I don’t,” White said. “If you look, you can add that to the pile of some pretty nasty things that have been said in this sport. And not just this sport — boxing, I’m sure Muay Thai, kickboxing, you name it. Mean things are said. In this insanely politically correct world we’re living in this is one place that is not.”
White added that security was aware of the situation and the staff at any MMA fight he holds make sure everything is “as safe as possible no matter what’s said.” He made sure to note the competitors shook hands and hugged at the end of the fight, with Kahlon complimenting Basharat as a fighter.
UFC code of conduct
As MMA Fighting noted, the remarks seem to fly in the face of the UFC’s code of conduct policy and though the Contender Series does not technically operate underneath it, fighters are competing for a UFC contract that would require them to abide by it.
The policy states that “fighters shall conduct themselves in accordance with commonly accepted standards of decency, social convention, and morals.”
It specifically prohibits the use of “derogatory or offensive conduct, including without limitation insulting language, symbols, or actions about a person’s ethnic background, heritage, color, race, national origin, age, religion, disability, gender or sexual orientation.”
Trash talking often crosses people’s lines in UFC
The application of the code has been touch-and-go in recent years, creating controversy that most often revolves around Conor McGregor. The fighter targeted an opponent’s religion and his family members.
In July he posted a message he later deleted that was directed at Khabib Nurmagomedov’s late father, who died of COVID-19 complications a year prior.
Two years ago, McGregor completely stepped over the line when he tweeted that Nurmagomedov’s wife, who is Muslim, is a towel. The Islamophobic tweet was later deleted from his account.
And after McGregor’s reported run-in with Machine Gun Kelly at the MTV Video Music Awards, White put it fairly simply, via MMA Fighting:
“I’ve got 700 f***in’ lunatics under contract here. What do you guys think? These are the things that happen sometimes. This isn’t Microsoft. We’re in a crazy f***ing business here.