A Las Vegas man was charged today by federal authorities with running a multi-million dollar human-fighting ring that stretched across multiple states and even into other countries.
Dana White is accused of being the mastermind of an organization called Ultimate Fighting Championship, or UFC, which pitted humans against each other in brutal, blood-spattered encounters. Federal officials say White and his associates became rich from the circuit and callously watched the bouts, laughing and egging the fighters on.
"In all my years as an agent, I've never seen brutality on this large a scale," said FBI agent Owen Cartwright, who led the initial raid of White's office. "It is truly inhumane."
At the UFC's Las Vegas headquarters, officials discovered disgusting evidence. Buckets used to catch the combatants' spit and blood. Towels to wipe their blood away so they could continue fighting despite their wounds. Crude gloves designed to cushion fighters' hands so they could continue doling out punishment without breaking their knuckles. And shiny, bejeweled belts used by White to motivate his competitors to fight harder.
While White diverted some money to his fighters, the majority of the fight revenue was kept by White and the UFC itself.
"This guy was filling arenas with people and selling broadcasts of his human fights for $50 to people all over the country," said agent Cartwright. "Sure, he diverted a small portion of that to the fighters themselves. But it was only enough to keep them hungry for more and coming back for more. His fighters were not free. No one would put themselves through that sort of punishment if they had other options."
White says he will fight the charges.
"There is nothing wrong with human-fighting," he said. "I grew up in a tough neighborhood. I grew up around boxing. It's a cultural thing."
Cartwright of the FBI says the bureau is open to a deal.
"Just saying, if Dana White can hook me and some of the guys in my office up with octagon-side seats for the next UFC main event, this can go away," he said. "It's his call."
Brock Lesnar unified the heavyweight crown at UFC 100 on Saturday, delighting fans by battering Frank Mir’s face to a bloody pulp. But it was his post-fight actions that shocked and horrified ultimate fighting fans throughout the country.
“I came here to see men fight until they were covered in blood. I came here to see broken noses, broken arms, broken legs,” said Jack Rigman, a fan who sat ringside. “I did NOT come tonight to be subjected to naughty words and offensive gestures. A middle finger?! Why, I never!”
In the moments after his victory, a pumped up Lesnar used several profanities and gave the finger to the fans. Then he spoke ill of an event sponsor and said he was planning to have intercourse with his wife.
“The sex thing is what really angered me,” said Jeff Ogland, who sat ringside with his 8-year-old son. “My boy doesn’t need to hear about sex yet. He’s too young. Thankfully, I think he didn’t hear all of Lesnar’s comments because he was wiping the blood spatter off of his face.”
UFC commissioner Dana White was disappointed in Lesnar’s post-fight actions.
“We expect a certain amount of decorum from our fighters,” said White. “After you physically destroy and humiliate another man and have his blood all over your fists, feet and forehead, don’t curse. Don’t bluster. Give us poetry. This is ultimate fighting, not barbarianism.”
Lesnar says he just wants a second chance.
“I won’t make this mistake again,” he said. “I need to get in a more polite state of mind when I enter the fighting ring. I just hope my opponents will grant me their permission to kick them in the neck.”