WARNING: Some Language
The President of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, or UFC, is furious with the Jason Aldean camp for allegedly turning down the UFC’s offer to sing the National Anthem before UFC 216 Saturday night in Las Vegas, citing that he was still to shaken up to perform, and may never to perform again, only to show up to unexpectedly do the cold open for Saturday Night Live instead. Jason Aldean addressed the Las Vegas tragedy, and sang Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” in tribute during the SNL taping.
“Fuck you Jason Aldean. Stay out of Vegas,” TMZ Sports quotes Dana Armstrong as saying. “His image was more important then coming back to Vegas and playing for the people who are his fans and who got shot watching him play.”
Dana White says that the UFC had organized to have 15 survivors of the shooting massacre at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in attendance, as well as “hundreds” of first responders who worked the incident. However Aldean and numerous other country music performers turned down the UFC to perform at the event, according to White.
“Country music was attacked. Those were country music fans,” White says. “Those are people who buy your albums and none of you country music people could sing the anthem in front of survivors and 1st responders? This isn’t about money. This is about the bad ass people who fought through this shit that this coward did.”
After all of the UFC’s requests for a country artist to play the event were denied, Everlast eventually stepped up to play the anthem.
Jason Aldean’s brief statement on Saturday Night Live followed by his performance of “I Won’t Back Down” was well received by the public, with the video on YouTube posted shortly thereafter receiving nearly 2 million views so far.
Jason Aldean’s camp has not responded to Dana White’s accusations.