One morning in April, bleary-eyed UFC employees arriving at work were surprised to discover that dozens of advance copies of a book by a new author had been strategically placed around the office. Each staff member’s desk had a copy, and there were backup copies scattered around in case someone was overlooked.
The book, sleek and thin, was clad in solid black heavy paper, lending it an air of mystery, and perhaps also a touch of Kinkos. The cover art consisted of four lines of bold and commanding white text. Underneath, in smaller italicized type, was the author’s name.
The book was titled Don’t Believe Anything You Read.
The author? Dana White.
Yes, Dana White wrote a book. This shouldn’t surprise anyone. After all, he’s been writing hilarious stuff about fat, ugly nerds on the internet for years. But this is a book, or at least a kind of a book, sort of. A book is a bound collection of pages filled with words or pictures, right, and Dana’s book has words and pictures, so.
The words and pictures are actually screenshots of webpages and tweets, none of which were written by Dana himself, but he definitely curated this book/pamphlet. It is like a book of fine photography, only dumber.
The first headline you see is WHY UFC IS DYING. The story was written in 2016 for a publication that nobody has ever heard of and which has not published anything new in three years. You might be thinking how weird it is that a column from 2016 was chosen as the first page of Dana’s first book. You are not wrong. It is weird. But Dana is trying to make a point with its inclusion. He wants the reader/employee to remember one thing as they peruse the rest of the book.
See? The media is full of shit.
The stories in the book/directive are culled from Variety, MMA Fighting, FloCombat, Bleacher Report, Sports Business Journal and Deadspin. There are also stories from Combat Docket and Viktre; I’ve never heard of these publications, but they are real and they do have at least one avid reader that we know of.
There are tweets from Darren Rovell and from Patrick Wyman, whom White seems to have a particular affinity for; Wyman has two stories here, and from two different outlets, no less.
Every story and tweet is related in some way to WME-IMG’s (now Endeavor) $4 billion+ purchase of the UFC in 2016. All are critical. White’s public stance that the media is useless is an act, for he is an avid consumer of anything written about him or his company.
The point of the book, it seems, is to tell UFC employees that these reports about financial trouble are lies, and to reassure them that they have nothing to worry about. There was a time when they believed such assurances. Most of them believed White three years ago when he told them that reports of the UFC’s impending sale were fiction and that they had nothing to worry about. But few believe anything he says now.
And that’s what makes this book such a ridiculous, brazen, arrogant thing. Despite a long and rich history of making things up, White thought it was a good idea to give his employees a thing called Don’t Believe Anything You Read. He didn’t even go with Don’t Believe Everything You Read, which is still dumb but at least offers some flexibility.
No. The man who has repeatedly brayed that accurate media reporting is fiction, and that nobody knows anything about the UFC’s business but him—the man who used to call meetings for the express purpose of ranting about Dave Meltzer’s latest correct pay per view number or another media story he hated—had the audacity to tell them not to believe anything they read.
They didn’t believe him, for obvious reasons, but they did laugh about it. Huddled in offices and behind closed doors, employees flipped through the pages and cackled at the sheer irony of a book titled Don’t Believe Anything You Read when a more accurate title would have been Don’t Believe Anything I Say.