01 Jan Cutman regrets wearing QAnon patches at UFC on ESPN 11, UFC promises investigation
Veteran UFC cutman Don House intended to promote a message of unity when he wore a QAnon patch during UFC on ESPN 11. But he regrets his choice after an uproar that’s led to blowback from the promoter.
“All the conspiracy, all the stuff they say about the group, I’ve got nothing to do with that,” House told MMA Fighting on Tuesday. “I just like the message: Where we go one, we go all.”
QAnon first made national headlines in 2016 with the “Pizzagate” scandal, driven by the conspiracy theory that several well-known politicians and actors are allegedly members of an international sex-trafficking ring. Online message boards devoted to its theories have built a massive following and spawned several virulent conspiracy theories, which in 2019 led the FBI to declare QAnon a domestic terrorist threat.
After being made aware of House’s patch on Monday by Bloody Elbow reporter Karim Zidan, who first reported on the patches, the UFC disavowed any link to QAnon and said its investigating the matter. The promotion ordered House not to wear the patch again.
“This was a violation of our staff event outfitting policy,” read a statement sent by a promotion official.
House said he was aware he needed to get permission to wear a patch on his uniform, but didn’t and wore it anyway. The “Q” symbol and “WWG1WGA” patches he sported are hallmarks of the group.
House said his engagement with QAnon is cursory and doesn’t involve any direct actions. He said he’s mostly read message boards over the past year and agrees with the messages he’s seen. He’s also worn small tokens to support other causes with which he agrees, such coronavirus relief and autism research.
Asked about QAnon’s reputation for promoting virulent conspiracy theories, he disavowed any link to any of those factions. Yet he also appeared to align himself with the group’s central tenet of exposing members of the alleged sex trafficking ring.
“I always read this stuff where they say this is a spiritual group,” House said. “Some say they’re a part of child trafficking. No. They’re the complete opposite of that. They’re trying to expose that.”
The cutman said he “hates” the possibility he’s embarrassed the UFC, where he’s worked for over 20 years, and UFC President Dana White, whom he calls a friend and has known before the promoter took over the reigns of the promotion in 2001.
“My message is simple,” House said. “It’s not about I signed up for a club that wants to overthrow the government. I’m not a part of that nonsense. But I do like the message where it talks about everyone being as one in the United States, and the planet, for that matter. That’s my message.
“If I’d known I’d get this much flack, I would have never worn the thing, to be honest with you. People’s belief is their personal belief. That was mine. I was just showing that I really love the message, especially in this day and time with all the crap that’s going on. Did you see the NASCAR guy’s locker room? You notice how everybody got together for that one person? Everybody got together for him, and I thought, that’s what America needs. To me, that’s the message, ‘Where We Go One, We Go All’ is to me, where we all have to stand up for everybody. We’re Americans. This country is built for everybody.
“That’s the message that I’ll always live with, and I thought it would look great on my sleeve. I didn’t know it would cause this much controversy. Do I regret it? Yeah, I do, the embarrassment for the UFC and to Dana, because he is a friend of mine. But do I believe that we as Americans should be one? I will until the day I die.”
Earlier this month, QAnon made another appearance when its flag was spotted atop the famed Jackson-Wink Academy in Albuquerque, N.M. The gym subsequently took it down and disavowed any link to the group.