Joe Pyfer – Real Deal or Dana White Privilege?
The iconic term “Dana White Privilege” was first uttered by Tony Ferguson in the build-up to his fight with Michael Chandler at the UFC 274 press conference. Since then, the term has gone on to become widely popular with the fan base and has come to mean a fighter who is undeserving of the perceived “push” that they are receiving from the UFC. Often this fighter may be let get away with behaviour that otherwise would face severe consequences. An example of this can be seen with Khamzat Chimaev facing very little repercussions for missing weight by a huge margin at UFC 279, causing the event to go for a complete overhaul.
The newest fighter that many fans claim benefits from “Dana White Privilege” is fighting this weekend. Joe “Bodybagz” Pyfer has slowly been working his way up the ladder in the UFC and is being handed his first main event slot this weekend, alongside a shot at breaking into the rankings when he takes on Jack “Joker” Hermansson.
Now the question remains as to whether Pyfer is deserving of the fight against Hermansson. It is clear that Dana White is a massive fan of Pyfer in general as can be seen from his time on the Contender Series back in 2020. Famously, White lauded the performance put on by Pyfer, a second-round knockout which would result in him joining the UFC and gave a speech afterwards which would lead to the popularised saying, “Be Joe Pyfer”.
“If you want to get into the UFC, and this is where you want to be, act like Joe Pyfer. Okay? Be Joe Pyfer. Be excited to be here. Be fired up to fight. Try to finish the fight. Try to win. Be Joe Pyfer, and you will get into the UFC.”
White was a big fan of Pyfer from the get-go and it is easy to see why fans may think that the American fighter is still benefiting from this sense of favouritism. After all, an unranked fighter fighting to break into the top 15 would not be a bout that normally would result in them headlining a card, yet here we are with Joe Pyfer headlining a card and finding himself above UFC veterans Michael Johnson, Brad Tavares and Andre Fili in the pecking order. This has led to many fans and reporters alike label Pyfer as the next man to be the beneficiary of the “Dana White Privilege”.
Joe Pyfer will have headline his first UFC event this weekend.
No question he’s another of Dana White’s handchosen fighters they’re looking to rapidly push.
— Andy Hickey MMA (@AndyHickeyMMA) February 5, 2024
Other aspects of Pyfer make him extremely marketable which adds further reason as to why the UFC would want to push him as hard as possible. His tragic backstory involves abuse and neglect as a child and overcoming monumental struggles to get where he is now. Everyone loves an underdog story and Pyfer’s childhood is reminiscent of the likes of fellow UFC fighter Sean Strickland, another man whose story has resonated with the MMA masses giving him massive popularity.
Alongside the inspiring backstory and promising work ethic, Pyfer has shown that he is an extremely entertaining fighter to watch and possesses a real talent with the possibility to reach among the highest levels. After winning his Contender Series fight, Pyfer has since fought three times in the UFC with three victories to his name. These include wins over the likes of Gerald Meerschaert and Abdul Razak Alhassan, he has also competed in grappling tournaments emerging victorious over Meerschaert once again and then Eryk Anders. Clearly, he possesses an impressive level of talent.
Ultimately, while Pyfer is a favourite of Dana White and likely will receive more promotion and higher profile fights than other fighters at a similar standing this does not necessarily mean that he is undeserving of a ranked matchup. White has made no secret of having favourite fighters and fighters that he dislikes in the past, yet Pyfer differs from a fighter such as Paddy Pimblett in his performances. While Pimblett has had a somewhat shaky time inside the octagon, Pyfer has dominated all of his opposition.
Continued dominance inside the octagon will only result in moving higher up the card and while his marketability may make this happen sooner rather than later it would simply discredit Pyfer to state his current status is purely down to a privilege he is benefitting from. Time after time he has continued to deliver impressive performances and ultimately while he does have these other advantages, the responsibility is on him to keep delivering and to live up to the hype. So far he has managed this flawlessly.