UFC president Dana White ensnared his own company in the Gina Carano cancel controversy.
White was asked about Carano, the MMA fighter-turned-actress, on Saturday night after UFC 258.
“Leave her alone. We make mistakes, we all make mistakes,” White said. “For everybody to go in on her … I love how Ariel Helwani made it all about him, such a douche.”
Carano was recently fired from “The Mandalorian” by Disney after a series of bizarre social media posts, including one in which she compared today’s political climate to the Nazi era.
“Jews were beaten in the streets, not by Nazi soldiers but by their neighbors…. even by children,” she wrote on Instagram with an image of Nazi Germany.
“Because history is edited, most people today don’t realize that to get to the point where Nazi soldiers could easily round up thousands of Jews, the government first made their own neighbors hate them simply for being Jews.”
Helwani is a top UFC reporter and is Jewish. He posted a video over the weekend in which he shared his thoughts on Carano.
“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,” Helwani, who heads ESPN’s MMA coverage, said in part. “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.”
Carano fought for Strikeforce and EliteXC, earning a 7-1 record between 2006 and 2009 before turning her attention to acting.
White and Helwani have a tumultuous history. White suspended the reporter briefly in 2016 for breaking news that Brock Lesnar was returning to the sport. White had Helwani escorted out of UFC 199 for reporting on that information and then claimed he was banned for life before rescinding that after two days.
“Ariel is a valued colleague and an exceptional MMA reporter. His record speaks for itself,” ESPN said in a statement.
Helwani’s colleagues, both within ESPN and the UFC community, have also voiced their support for him.
ESPN and UFC are in the middle of a five-year, $1.5 billion rights partnership that began in 2019.
Carano has vowed to resume her career, apparently with controversial website the Daily Wire.
“They can’t cancel us if we don’t let them,” Carano told that outlet. “The Daily Wire is helping make one of my dreams — to develop and produce my own film — come true. I cried out and my prayer was answered. I am sending out a direct message of hope to everyone living in fear of cancellation by the totalitarian mob.”