Ultimate Fighting Championship President Dana White told FOX Business on Thursday that controversy over national anthem protests in the NFL is a “big deal” to him, and he believes athletes should stand for the patriotic song.
The UFC has refrained from playing the national anthem at events after going over on the pay-per-view time, forcing the organization to provide refunds.
“We actually don’t do the anthem before the fights,” White said in an interview on “Cavuto: Coast-to-Coast.”
UFC, which White acquired in 2002 and later sold to a group led by talent agency WME-IMG, is the largest mixed marital arts organization in the world and has garnered an unprecedented amount of interest leaving many to suggest it has surpassed boxing in popularity.
White said boxing will always exist, but the sport draws most of its attention ahead of major bouts.
“When a big fight happens, it’s huge and everybody is talking about,” he said. “When it’s not, people aren’t.”
White said the success behind mixed martial arts, or MMA, can be credited to the cage-bound sport’s fast-paced action as it continues to attract a crucial demographic of young males.
“The sport is very fast and exciting. There’s so many different ways to win or lose,” he said. “A guy can be winning a fight for three rounds and lose in the last minute.”
UFC’s 225 event brings a card stacked with two championship fights and a number of marquee stars taking place Saturday at the United Center Arena in Chicago.