Dana White during his bizarre appearance on 'Howie Mandel Does Stuff' Screen grab: Howie Mandel Does Stuff

When Dana White first walked out of an appearance on Howie Mandel Does Stuff mere moments after the start of the interview, something didn’t seem right.

Now we know why.

Appearing on the Flagrant podcast last week, the UFC president revealed that his walkout of the interview was, in fact, staged. While White insisted at the time that he was simply sick of appearing on podcasts, he’s now admitting that the viral moment was planned at the urging of Mandel, who he met while recording a podcast with Sage Steele.

“She was signed to Bill Maher’s podcast company and they’re all done there in Howie Mandel’s studio,” White said. “So we get done with the podcast and Howie Mandel walks in and he’s like, ‘100 podcasts a week happen here. I’ve never watched any of them. I watched the whole podcast. Love who you are, what you stand for’ and all this stuff. And we hit it off, started talking. Great dude.

“He’s like, ‘Let me show you around the studio.’ He’s involved in all kinds of s***. He owns social media companies and all this other stuff. Howie Mandel owns a lot of s*** that people don’t realize. Smart guy, great guy. So we’re walking through and stuff and he goes, ‘Would you do me a favor?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, what’s up?’ He’s like, ‘Would you come in and get up and walk off my podcast?’ I go, ‘I would be f***ing honored to walk off your podcast because I’m so f***ing sick of doing podcasts, it’s not even funny.’

“So we go in there and do it, right? He’s like, ‘Take this to the grave.’ I said, ‘Done, I’ll take it to the grave.”

As it turns out, White was only able to keep it a secret for three months.

Why did he decide to reveal the truth? He said it came as the result of an appearance with YouTubers, the Nelk Boys, in which fans began chanting “f**k Howie Mandel!’”

“I go, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa, timeout, I can’t do this,'” White recalled. “Howie Mandel’s the greatest f***ing dude ever. Sorry, Howie. It’s just when I go out and people just start f***ing s***ting on the guy. And I’m sure he could give a flying f*** — I couldn’t do it. So Howie Mandel’s f***ing awesome.”

Coincidentally — or perhaps not — White’s aforementioned podcast interview with Steele also went viral, as the ex-ESPNer seemingly confused the 54-year-old with his UFC colleague (and fellow bald guy) Joe Rogan. Like the Mandel interaction, the podcast appearance with Steele raised some red flags in terms of authenticity, although if the latter was staged, White is doing a better job of keeping it a secret.


About Ben Axelrod

Ben Axelrod is a veteran of the sports media landscape, having most recently worked for NBC's Cleveland affiliate, WKYC. Prior to his time in Cleveland, he covered Ohio State football and the Big Ten for outlets including Cox Media Group, Bleacher Report, Scout and Rivals.