The president of martial arts body the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) almost ‘did an HB Gary' last week when he called Anonymous "cowards".

Initially, president Dana White wrote a tweet to the Anonymous news feed ‘YourAnonNews' that accused the group of hiding "behind a screen name".

The hacktivists responded by breaching the UFC's official website and defacing it; White responded in turn by telling reporters at USA Today that the group should "keep hacking our site" and encouraged them to "do it again. Do it tonight".

He said: “You know what's happening? These guys look like terrorists now, and a bill that was about to die is about to come back. I'm not afraid of the internet. I love the Internet. It's fun to get on there and cruise around and stuff. I'm not afraid of you. You want to keep hacking our site, go for it. Watch what happens. You're hurting yourself.”

UFC parent Zuffa is a supporter of the US's proposed Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA)

According to USA Today, the attack redirected the UFC.com domain to other sites multiple times, although servers that hold the company's data were not penetrated.

In a statement, the UFC said: “The UFC.com website was redirected by a criminal hacker to another website. The UFC website was quickly restored to the control of the UFC and there is no evidence suggesting that any confidential information belonging to the company or its customers was compromised.

“UFC representatives are continuing to investigate the matter and are working with law enforcement agents to prosecute those involved.”

Anonymous has also released personal information on White, including his social security number. Softpedia reported that S3rver.exe, who breached Sony Pictures, was one of those responsible for the defacement of UFC.com and UFC.tv.

The hacktivists told Softpedia that one of the two sites had at least 60 vulnerabilities, and that UFC.tv had XSS, BlindSQL Injection and other vulnerabilities. When asked about the reasons for hacking UFC, S3rver.exe cited Zuffa's president calling them terrorists. He said: "Standing up to those you deem to be weak may be at UFC's heart, and I am sure that there is little that scares their fighting machines. However in a cyber war, it is the keyboard, rather than the fist, that strikes the hardest blow and UFC can count themselves lucky for the moment, that no worse has been done."