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UFC president to address fighter behavior at upcoming summit

Concerns recently voiced by UFC sponsor Anheuser-Busch over the behavior of fighters has prompted Dana White to address the issue at a fighter summit to take place in the next month.

"Same stuff that all the other organizations go through," White said following Thursday's pre-UFC on FOX 3 press conference. "NBA, NFL – they all go through the same thing."

At the heart of White's upcoming talk with fighters: Getting them to use common sense.

"There's only so many characters on Twitter, and you can't explain the context in which you sent the text," he said. "You just have to use common sense."

That skill has seemingly been lacking in several highly publicized incidents in which fighters have used sexist or homophobic language in public and over social media.

Anheuser-Busch, which owns the Bud Light and Bud Light Lime brands prominently advertised in the UFC, raised several of them in a warning issued this past week to the promoter. The brewer said it would take action if fighters continued to use offensive language in the public domain.

Major sports franchises such as the NBA and NFL have written guidelines on the use of Twitter, and both professional and college athletes have been suspended and/or fined for misbehaving on the social media site.

White downplayed the severity of Anheuser-Busch's warning, but said he took seriously the task of keeping fighters in check.

"It is absolutely something that needs to be addressed, so we're pulling together another fighter summit, bringing guys in and talking to them," he said.

At the same time, he said some comments made by fighters have been blown out of proportion. Told of UFC welterweight Josh Koscheck's repeated use of the word "retard" during an open workout on Wednesday – he used the term to describe those in the MMA media – White broke out in laughter.

"One thing you guys have got to understand: This is the fight business, and most of our guys are educated," White said. "These guys all went to college. Stuff is going to happen. Things are going to slip out. It happens, and I have to deal with it when it happens.

"I've done it. I'm not going to sit up here and act like Mr. Holier Than Thou. It's one of those things you have to handle after it happens."

Indeed, White has grappled with anti-UFC critics who've targeted his behavior as an example of why the promotion is unfit for children.

That, however, wasn't the problem with sponsors, he said.

"Listen, if you ever watched the sport, you knew what you were getting into with me," White said. "It's not like I all of a sudden lost my mind and started saying stupid [expletive]. I've been doing it for 11 years."

Despite several brushes with controversy, White remains a staunch advocate of the social media that's frequently been at the root of things, particularly when it comes to the language he uses.

"I like being open and honest," he said. "I love having a personal relationship with the fans. I love that our athletes do. I like it to be real.

"I tell people to [expletive] off on Twitter all the time, and some people think that's weird. But if a guy came over to me right now and said, 'Hey, I think you're a dickhead, and your organization sucks,' I'm going to go, '[Expletive] you.' What's the difference between that and Twitter? If you say stupid things to me on Twitter, I'm going to say stupid [expletive] back to you.

"If you have a problem with it, you know what the solution is? Don't follow me on Twitter."

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