Although the rest of the country may see Jason Aldean as a hero, UFC president Dana White is none too happy with the country singer who was on stage when the mass shooting in Las Vegas began that claimed 58 lives and injured nearly 500 people at the Route 91 Harvest Festival.
White sounded off on Aldean to TMZ Sports for choosing to perform on “Saturday Night Live” rather than sing the national anthem at UFC 216 in Las Vegas on Saturday. Both took place at roughly the same time.
“His image was more important than coming back to Vegas and playing for the people who are his fans and who got shot watching him play,” White said. “[Expletive] you Jason Aldean. Stay out of Vegas.”
According to TMZ, White reached out to Aldean’s camp to sing the national anthem at the UFC’s pay-per-view event that took place at T-Mobile Arena, which sits just a few blocks from where the shooting took place. White said that Aldean’s representatives turned down the offer and suggested that the country singer might not perform live again.
White mentioned that he had reached out to other country singers as well and all declined. Instead, Everlast sang “America, the Beautiful” during the opening of the PPV with both survivors and first responders in attendance.
On the other side of the country, Aldean opened “SNL” with a performance of the late Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down.” According to the Instagram of Aldean’s wife, Brittany, the singer did visit Las Vegas over the weekend to meet with survivors from the shooting at two hospitals.
This clearly drew the ire of White, who felt that the singer’s presence was needed more at UFC 216, and took the liberty of slamming Aldean and any other country singer who declined to perform
“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?” White said.
Although Aldean didn’t perform at UFC 216, the mixed martial arts promotion did well in handling the tribute. A somber opening with a emphatic message from White, the performance by Everlast, the survivors and first responders in attendance and a sea of “Vegas Strong” t-shirts in the crowd was pitch perfect as the city still mourns the tragedy a week later.