Originally posted on Larry Brown Sports  |  Last updated 4/18/12

The UFC is immensely popular and has a network TV deal with FOX, but Dana White continues to remind us with his petty behavior why the organization has a long way to go before becoming mainstream.

White went all Al Davis on Tuesday and had his organization issue a press release stating their demand that MMA website CagePotato.com publish a retraction for a wisecrack they published over the weekend.

The post that caught the UFC’s eye was one pointing out that light heavyweight champion Jon Jones will be officially sponsored by the UFC for his upcoming fight with Rashad Evans. That fact seems to indicate that the organization is more invested in Jones than Evans. Cage Potato turned that into a wisecrack as a caption for a photo on the post in question. Here’s a screenshot (via Bloody Elbow) of the caption that angered White:

White took offense to the suggestion that he was betting on his fights, completely ignoring that it was obviously a joke by a website based on humor, not news reporting.

Here’s the press release they sent in response:

[The UFC] today announced that it served a demand for retraction upon the parent entities and executives of the website CagePotato regarding certain false and defamatory statements attributed to UFC® President, Dana White, in an April 14th website posting.

As detailed in the formal demand for a retraction prepared by UFC® attorney, Donald J. Campbell of the Las Vegas law firm, Campbell & Williams:

“The claim that Mr. White would financially wager on the outcome of a UFC® event is outrageous in the extreme. Indeed, in the verified complaint we are presently preparing for Mr. White’s signature upon his return from Abu Dhabi, Mr. White expressly states under oath that at no time in the history of his association with the UFC® has he ever financially wagered on the outcome of a UFC® event.”

Mr. Campbell further explained that under Nevada law a demand for retraction is the first required step in the filing of a lawsuit seeking punitive damages against a party that has maliciously published defamatory statements about another.

I can’t even tell you how ridiculously Draconian of a response that is from the UFC. We’ve previously pointed out that their consummate desire to own and control everything — especially the press — is a major turnoff for news outlets. In their quest to control money, information, news and opinions, they’re limiting freedom of speech and sacrificing coverage.

There are some things the UFC should just let go. A wisecrack on a website many people haven’t heard of is not something they should be issuing a press release about. And if White is concerned with the perception of his relationship with Jon Jones, then he shouldn’t be appearing in commercials with him and no other fighters. What kind of message of favoritism does that send to the fans and all other fighters?

This article first appeared on Larry Brown Sports and was syndicated with permission.

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