Dana White, the Ultimate Fighting Championship president whose comments referring to homosexuals, women and people with mental disabilities set off a firestorm of blog activity Thursday, is apologizing for his anti-gay comments.
He is not, however, apologizing to the reporter who wrote a story that set him out on a three-plus-minute tirade on his UFC video blog posted on YouTube.
"I hurt people that I didn't intend to hurt and when you do something like that, yes, I believe that you should say you're sorry," White told ESPN.com Page 2 columnist Mary Buckheit in a telephone interview. "I never intended to hurt anybody in the gay community, or be malicious, or look like a hateful guy. I never meant to hurt anyone in the gay or lesbian community at all, in any way, shape or form. I would never do that. I was speaking to [Sherdog.com reporter] Loretta Hunt. I didn't mean to bring those people into this, it had nothing to do with them and for that, I'm sorry."
White used an anti-gay slur in the video blog. He also called Hunt, who writes for Sherdog.com (a partner of ESPN.com which covers mixed martial arts), a "[expletive] bitch" and called her story on backstage credentialing issues "absolutely [expletive] retarded."
The story drew intense interest in mixed martial arts blogs, and the video clip was removed from YouTube. White declined most interview requests, but did tell a spokesman for the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) that he would apologize. He spoke with ESPN.com's Buckheit late Thursday night.
"I'm not defending myself to people who don't know me and are all of a sudden all over me," White said in the interview. "I'm not homophobic and I'm not anti-gay. I used a word that I shouldn't have used and I hurt people."
White did not apologize to Hunt, a longtime MMA reporter. In Hunt's story that infuriated White, she wrote that Zuffa, the company that owns and operates promotions for the UFC and WEC, notified some fighter representatives that they will no longer receive credentials to sit with their clients backstage on fight night. White denied any changes.
"I went on the attack and I ended up attacking someone I didn't mean to," White said. "I absolutely, positively meant to attack the reporter, Loretta Hunt from Sherdog. Absolutely."
Hunt, in an e-mail to ESPN.com on Thursday night, wrote: "I stand by the story. It's accurate."
White told ESPN.com's Buckheit that he didn't want to "write some canned statement from the company -- there's no [expletive] way I was going to do that." Instead, he said he would issue another video response, and then quit talking about the incident.
"You know what? The thing that sucks is that video rant, the feedback I got was not negative," White said. "It was overwhelmingly positive from our fans. It was, 'Yeah, you go, Dana. You're the man.'
"At the end of the day, the worst thing for me is that I don't want anybody thinking that it's cool to say that word especially now that I know the word 'faggot' is as powerful as the n-word. I don't want these kids out there watching me and thinking it's cool. I don't want that."