After Bryce Mitchell’s prayers in the Octagon were awkwardly rejected by Michael Bisping, an old video of UFC President Dana White talking about religion has come forth. White is an atheist and wishes that the fighters kept religion out of the Octagon.
Mitchell fought and won against Dan Ige during UFC Vegas 79. He joined Ige for a joint post-match interview with Bisping. Mitchell claimed he would donate money from his purse toward the fire-stricken area of Hawaii. He hoped he could say a prayer at the end of the interview on the mic, however, Bisping, without saying it directly, rejected the request.
It is likely that Bisping, who is also an atheist, has similar views as White. In an old video of White going viral on Instagram, the American businessman says, “I don’t like religion. I think religion is dangerous. All religion is dangerous. I think it’s scary and it is dangerous and I think it’s all bad and should probably all go away. You can believe in whatever you want to believe in life and the afterlife but religion is dangerous.”
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White used to go to a Catholic school while growing up. However, it did not have a great effect on him. During an interview with Piers Morgan, he said he does not believe in religion much anymore. He was not guided by religion since he was in his 20s. Although he claimed he believed in karma for some reason.
Dana White asked his fighters to keep religion out of the Octagon
At UFC Fight Night 70 in 2015, Yoel Romero defeated Lyoto Machida in their Middleweight battle. Romero triumphed after a TKO in Round 3. During his post-match interview, he made a religious proclamation, “What happened to you, USA? Wake up, USA! Go! Go back for you, go! Go for Jesus. No forget Jesus, people.”
— The MMA Bible (@TheMMABible) April 19, 2019
Following this, White spoke to Ariel Helwani and claimed that fighters shouldn’t talk about God.
“You just won the biggest fight of your career, America doesn’t want to hear your thoughts on Jesus. Keep that stuff at home; religion, politics, all that stuff. When you’re out there fighting and you’re being interviewed, they want to hear about the fight,” White said.
“It’s awesome you love Jesus; love Jesus all you want. You just don’t have to do it publicly.”
Culture wars have eaten everything, but when the UFC unveiled their Reebok kits for the first time, they did so on the heels of Yoel Romero’s ‘don’t forget Jesus’ moment.
White told Ariel Helwani no one wants to hear religion or political talk in sports.
How times change. pic.twitter.com/eRopEr1OHS
— Luke Thomas🏋️♀️ (@lthomasnews) July 14, 2023
It is a norm that fighters thank God after a fight as combat sports have multiple risks of injuries. Fighters who believe in God thank Him for their well-being. However, White admitted that he is an atheist in a 2008 interview with PlayBoy. Although his ‘keep Jesus at home’ policy is not a written rule, after the Bryce Mitchell incident it seems like it is an unsaid rule.