Monday, May 27, 2024
HomePersonal GrowthGlobal PerspectivesOpen Letter to Dana White: Reconsidering Igor Severino's UFC Disqualification for Biting

Open Letter to Dana White: Reconsidering Igor Severino’s UFC Disqualification for Biting

An impassioned plea for a second chance: Reconsidering Igor Severino's lifetime ban from the UFC

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Dear Dana,

Igor Severino’s UFC disqualification for biting has been on my mind for some time now. Firstly, I apologise for disturbing you with this request. But I am compelled to reach out as I’ve been hoping you would reconsider your decision. I wanted to send this message before UFC 300, but I knew you’d be preoccupied with the event.

Secondly, I hope you are okay with me referring to you as Dana. Calling you Mr. White feels a bit formal, especially since I spend nearly every weekend with you, watching UFC fights. I know you, even though we’ve never met in person.

Thirdly, I want to congratulate you on the incredible success of UFC 300. It was an unforgettable experience, and I’ve never been so dedicated to watching an event from start to finish. I woke up early, went for a 20km run, ate, slept, and then settled in to watch the early prelims at 11 pm GMT. I stayed glued to the screen throughout the preliminary and main cards, fuelled by coffee and excitement. I didn’t go to bed until nearly 7 am, exhausted but thoroughly entertained.

I understand the severity of Igor Severino’s actions and why you initially decided to ban him. As you said:

“Those were two up-and-coming undefeated fighters. If you get frustrated and want out of the fight, there are plenty of ways to do it, but the worst thing you can do is bite your opponent. Now, you get cut and lose the biggest opportunity of your life. Not to mention, he’s going to have real problems with the NSAC [Nevada State Athletic Commission].”

Your words resonate with me, and I can see why you took such a strong stance. However, it’s essential to consider what Lima, the recipient of Severino’s bite, had to say in the incident’s aftermath. Despite being on the receiving end of this unfortunate action, Lima displayed remarkable sportsmanship and compassion. He stated:

“I do not think he should be fired. It’s hard enough to make a living; it’s a tough market out there right now for jobs. This was a mistake, but he was punished; he was disqualified. This is a learning moment for everybody, and I’m very confident that he won’t do it again. I do not want him to be fired.”

Dana, I know you have already made a decision regarding Igor Severino’s UFC disqualification for biting. But Lima’s beautiful message of kindness and sportsmanship should not be ignored. After seeing his tattoo commemorating the incident, you have repeatedly described Lima as a “stud” in press conferences. You even demonstrated your appreciation for his character by initially awarding him a $25k bonus and doubling it to $50k. When a “stud” like Lima advocates for forgiveness, shouldn’t we listen?

Andre Lima displays his new tattoo, which depicts the dental imprint left by Igor Severino during their UFC fight. Igor Severino's UFC Disqualification for Biting
Andre Lima chose to memorialise the infamous bite he received from Igor Severino during their UFC bout by getting a tattoo of the dental imprint. This unexpected gesture sparked discussions about forgiveness and moving forward from controversial moments in sports.

Dana, as Lima eloquently stated, we all deserve second chances. We should consider giving Igor Severino another opportunity because we are not perfect; we all make mistakes. Before I continue my discussion, I want to acknowledge my own imperfections. Currently, I’m struggling with depression due to an unfaithful wife who has used international law to take my children away from me, leaving me unable to support them. Financial constraints make it difficult to navigate this challenging situation, and as Lima pointed out, the world is brutal financially, and everyone is trying to make a living.

I remember your incident, Dana, not to dwell on the past but to highlight how you handled the media’s response. The press conference following the New Year’s Eve incident in 2023 showcased your ability to take ownership of the situation. You and your wife both regretted what happened and apologised. When the media pressed you to step down, you stood your ground, asking who would take over if you did. I admired your approach because it exemplifies the realness of the UFC. You often remind us that we’re in the ‘fight game’ when the media or others try to dictate what fighters should say or do.

This situation with Igor Severino’s UFC disqualification for biting is similar. He made a mistake, and he was punished for it. You took appropriate action, just as you did in your own situation. It’s worth noting that one of your close friends, Mike Tyson, famously bit Evander Holyfield’s ear during a fight. The Nevada State Athletic Commission suspended Tyson, mandated rehab and treatment, and eventually reinstated his license. Despite this incident, you still see Tyson as a good person who made a mistake and took ownership of it. We all love him for his honesty and growth.

Similarly, your friendship with Donald Trump has remained steadfast, even when he faced criticism. You’ve acknowledged how Trump supported the UFC when Congress and the Senate tried to shut down the organisation, deeming it too barbaric. Trump opened his doors to you, and you’ve never turned your back on him, even when he may have turned on you, as you mentioned on Piers Morgan’s show. This loyalty and understanding are what make you a remarkable person.

We all walk this earth, making mistakes and trying our best. The key is taking ownership of our actions, just as you did and as Igor Severino appears to have done. The distress on his face when the announcement was made shows that he understands the gravity of his actions.

Igor Severino and Andre Lima stand in the UFC octagon with the referee between them, awaiting the official decision following their controversial fight.
The moments following the controversial fight between Igor Severino and Andre Lima were tense as both fighters awaited the official decision. Severino’s expression conveys the weight of his actions and the realisation of the potential consequences for his career and personal growth. This snapshot encapsulates the emotional complexity of the situation and the lessons that can be learnt from such incidents in professional sports.

Dana, your leadership and the UFC’s values, which emphasise the potential for growth and redemption, are truly impressive. I believe in building an impression of a person based on what those around them say rather than solely on their own words. Watching you, Hunter Campbell and Sean Selby work together is remarkable because these individuals never crave the limelight or attention. Even more striking is how the fighters relate to them, whether during the ceremonial weigh-ins or after fights when they speak about them with such admiration. You and your team clearly have immense respect for your fighters, always putting them and your staff front and centre.

A prime example of this dedication was evident during the coronavirus pandemic when you remained steadfast in your commitment to not laying off any of your staff. Despite the challenges, you ensured that the show went on with the creation of Fight Island, even though Disney and Discovery held you back a bit. The emphasis on not bailing out when people needed you most, especially when they had bills to pay, was commendable. The UFC dug into its pockets to ensure people went with it, even though it cost the company a lot of money.

In the UK, we had a scheme called the Furlough Scheme (a government program that provided grants to cover a portion of employees’ wages during the pandemic). Many companies and businesses making millions and billions took advantage of this scheme when the government offered it, putting their employees on furlough. Top football clubs in the UK faced criticism for using the scheme to save money by not paying wages that the government would partially fund. However, the UFC chose a different path, demonstrating the organisation’s values for all to see.

Your genuine interest in the fighters’ well-being is evident. In Igor Severino’s case, offering him treatment and care is the best route. When depression and mental health issues set in, it’s incredibly tough, especially for these up-and-coming, unbeaten fighters from parts of the world where this opportunity means everything. As Bobby Green eloquently stated at UFC 300, the fight game gives him, a poor little black boy, the chance to build something for his family and create generational wealth. The UFC is doing amazing things for people who would otherwise struggle.

Dana, I urge you to please reconsider Igor Severino’s UFC disqualification for biting. Even Uncle Chael Sonnen mentioned in a post that Severino should not be cut from the organisation. This sport offers unparalleled opportunities for those who might otherwise struggle to escape their circumstances and build something meaningful for themselves and their families.

In conclusion, giving Igor Severino a second chance aligns with the UFC’s values of growth, redemption, and support for its fighters. By offering him treatment, care, and a path to redemption, you would demonstrate the same loyalty and understanding you have shown to your friends and colleagues in the past. It’s an opportunity to help a young, talented fighter overcome a mistake and prove that he can positively represent the sport and the UFC.

I understand that the decision ultimately rests in your hands. Still, I hope you will consider the perspectives of those like Andre Lima, who believe in forgiveness and second chances. The UFC has always been a platform for fighters to showcase their skills, overcome adversity, and inspire others. By reconsidering Igor Severino’s lifetime ban, you would send a powerful message about the importance of compassion, growth, and the belief that people can change for the better.

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter, Dana. I have the utmost respect for you and everything you have built with the UFC. I hope my words have resonated with you and that you will allow Igor Severino to redeem himself and continue chasing his dreams in the UFC.

I appreciate your time and consideration.

All the best,

Paul

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