Dana White has slammed Stephen Espinoza for claiming UFC fighters would be fined for talking negatively about his COVID-19 protocols.

Speaking to his Twitter followers Showtime executive Espinoza claimed UFC 249 fighters would lose their purse and bonuses for talking negatively about the coronavirus testing in place at the event, he wrote.

“It’s because they were required to sign a document which says that they can lose their whole purse and bonuses if they say anything negative about the COVID protocols.”

Yahoo Sports later confirmed Espinoza’s claim that a clause in fighters contracts could see them face financial penalties for speaking out against the UFC COVID-19 protocols, it reads. “The Company may revoke all or any part of any prize monies or awards won by the Participant in connection with the Activities, including, but not limited to, purses, win bonuses, other fight-related bonuses and event-based merchandise royalties.”

White says all his fighter contracts have disparagement clauses in them but this doesn’t prevent a fighter from talking bad about the COVID-19 procedure, only from lying about it, he explained.

“There’s a disparagement clause in there that’s in all of our contracts,” “Isn’t that creepy looking, little (expletive) a lawyer? Isn’t that creepy little (expletive) goofball a lawyer? Does he not know what disparagement means? (It’s) if you disparage the company. I’m not even a (expletive) lawyer and I know the answer to that question. It’s disparagement.”

“It’s like if you came out and said, ‘They never tested me. The UFC never tested me for the coronavirus,’” White said. “If you came out and had something critical to say about the testing that was true, that wouldn’t be disparagement. What (expletive) law school did he go to? I can’t stand that (expletive) creep if you couldn’t tell. … He’s just a (expletive) – look at him, that creepy, little dude. What the (expletive) does he know about our contracts?” (Transcribed by MMA Junkie)

Do you think Dana White is right to include disparagement clauses in all of his fighter contracts?

A lifelong fight fan from Liverpool, England who has been covering mixed martial arts (MMA) and boxing for several years. Follow @JordanEllisUK on Twitter for all the latest fight news, views, interviews and live event coverage.