Stephen A. Smith, Molly Qerim Address Dana White Situation on 'First Take'


After video emerged of Dana White slapping his wife on New Year's Eve, there were many questions about what kind of consequences might be handed out and when they would come. There is nobody above White within UFC so any punishment would have to be self-imposed. Dan Le Batard wondered if it all might just go away because ESPN has a prominent partnership with White and may not bring attention to it on-air as a result.

There has been no news on the discipline front but the topic was addressed on First Take on Wednesday. Stephen A. Smith and Molly Qerim talked about what kind of potential punishment White should undergo. Then the two discussed their personal relationships with White and told the audience he knows what he did was wrong.

Here is a transcription of their discussion:

"We have to maintain consistency in pointing out you do not put your hands on a woman if you are a man. You do not do it. Dana White knows that and all I can say is, again, he has spoken out against men who put their hands on women before and whatever punishment you would exact under these circumstances to somebody else is what he should apply to himself," Smith said.

"I could see him doing something even stricter just because he's the leader and he's the leader of men," said Qerim. "I just want to say a couple of things. They talked about drinking heavily. When you're under the influence, not shining moments, often people don't make their best decisions. So in that sense it's a cautionary tale. In terms of it being an isolated incident, I've known Dana since like 22, I have the upmost respect for him. And I don't judge people by their worst moment. I agree with you on that punishment part. And the other piece I just want to say, as a woman, it was also his wife's hands on him. No one should be putting their hands on anyone. Male, female, female, male."

"Well, like I said, you're absolutely right," Smith said. "I have nothing to add other than, I think it's important that if you're going to sit on this platform you owe it to your audience to be honest. To be honest and forthcoming. Dana White is not just somebody I know and support, nor you. He's a friend. I love him. I just wish the best for him and his family. He knows how wrong he was to do this. He knows that we're on this. He knew ahead of time because I reached out to him to let him know that I would be talking about this this morning. He knows that he crossed a line that he never crossed before and that he swears he will never cross again. He is incredibly ashamed of himself. That's where we are right now."

"I'm not a part of the whole cancel culture," said Qerim, "and I don't judge people by their worst moment. He has a beautiful family and I wish them the best."

White apologized after the video went viral but has not made any public comments since.