The best time of the week leading up to any big UFC Pay-Per-View event, in this humble handsome man’s opinion, is Dana White’s pre-fight media scrum, because it’s an unfiltered, unapologetic mess of answers on every question that we could ask the UFC’s President. For the UFC’s big 20th anniversary event, UFC 167, White spent an entire hour answering questions yesterday dealing with everything from Ben Askren’s status to when Jon Jones and Glover Teixeira are going to fight.
You can watch the whole scrum here, or if you’re busy and just want the highlights, that’s why I’m here for you, too.
- First up, that Ben Askren elephant in the room. “Doesn’t change anything. There’s no interest.” White reiterated that Bellator didn’t want to keep their own undefeated champion, and he “feels sorry for the kids that fight there” and “are stuck in that shithole.” But he’s sure that the World Series of Fighting will pick Askren up.
- Why does GSP keep winning? Because he has “the hunger and drive.” White says that even with as much money as St-Pierre has, his desire to keep winning is “what sets him apart from the rest.”
- On Rory MacDonald saying that he wouldn’t fight his friend and training partner, GSP: “He’ll fight him. I know it, you know it.”
- On the possibility of a superfight: “This whole superfight thing has been destroyed. It’s dead. It was fun for a little while, but I think it’s over.”
- Why is GSP so successful and been able to avoid controversy like other fighters? “Because nobody has been easier and more professional to deal with.” White says that GSP’s greatest attribute is his lack of ego and the fact that he has no “cling-ons.”
- Which era of the UFC is his favorite? The politician’s answer: “They were all great in their own way.” He added that he “had a blast” with Brock Lesnar and that they’ve been talking and texting lately as the 20th anniversary is being celebrated.
- Does he feel that he saved the sport? “I don’t feel that way, but I’ll be a little arrogant here – I don’t think anybody could have done it the way that me and the Fertittas did it.” He’s probably right.
- The two hottest prospects that are on the verge of becoming stars? Renan Barao and Anthony Pettis. Of course, the latter is having surgery and will be out for a while, so White is upset about that.
- “The stuff that we’re doing over the next five years will continue to take this thing to new levels.” No clue what he’s talking about, but he was really excited about it, and he added that nobody should bet against the UFC.
- What was the only “bad fight card” that White recognized this year? UFC 161: Evans Vs. Henderson, which had just one TKO and one submission, and then five unanimous decisions and three split decisions. That was a pretty lousy card.
- What does Chael Sonnen’s future hold for him when he’s done as a fighter? He’ll probably be an ambassador for the sport and continue covering the UFC, whether for the UFC or perhaps even a big network.
- So is Chael going to fight Wanderlei or what? “We’re still working on that.” Although, I think he was referring to figuring out where it’s going to happen, but he said that “it has to happen.”
- Back to MacDonald again, “Nostra-Dana” predicts that he’ll defeat Robbie Lawler and move out of GSP’s house so he can focus on fighting him for the Welterweight Title. (You know, if GSP retains his title.) “You fucking know that Rory wants it.”
- When was the last time someone tried to buy the UFC? 2008. “We’re at a level now that there are probably 1 or 2 or 3 or 4 people in the world who could afford to buy the UFC.”
- How did White feel about Miesha Tate beating Ronda Rousey in the UFC tournament? He was surprised, but he definitely thinks that The Ultimate Fighter has helped people get to know them both, and Tate has just been more popular. (Or people just don’t like Rousey as much anymore, because she’s been overexposed.) White also admitted that he thinks Rousey was overworked and that affected how she has come across, and being able to get away and work on Fast & Furious 7 has been very good for her.
- Does he think that Jon Jones can actually retire at age 30 like he wants? White said that it’s hard for any of these guys to walk away when the money keeps piling up.
- The UFC could go back and re-edit the first season of The Ultimate Fighter and give us a brand new version of it with a completely different storyline, because so much stuff happened in the eight weeks they were in the house. He told the story about how he was going to kick Stephan Bonnar off the show because he snuck out the bathroom window to go find booze to bring back to the house.
- Is Josh Koscheck on the hot seat having lost his last few fights? Probably not because White admits that he’s “always had a soft spot” for the guys from the first season of TUF.
- Having been to Toronto a lot, has White ever met or hung out with Rob Ford? “No, but I bet I would have had a fun time.”
- His thoughts on UFC fighters expressing support for Richie Incognito: “That whole thing makes me sick, and I think it’s embarrassing. I haven’t watched it all, but when an NFL lineman is being bullied, come on. I think it you take the N-word out of this, it’s a nonstory. But he should be slapped around for using the N-word.” White thinks that the new generation of kids could make the N-word go away, but rappers are keeping it alive by using it “every other word.”
- Is the UFC ever going to Hawaii? “There’s nowhere I’d love to go more than Hawaii.” But he has no good news for anyone asking that question.
- On anyone whose contract might be up, “It’s being worked on.” That’s not verbatim about anyone in particular, but that’s basically what he said about several guys, including Dan Henderson.
- Is Vitor Belfort getting a title shot? “Yes, he’s getting a title shot.” White defended Belfort on his history of PED use, and said that he’s better than he has ever looked.
- Jon Jones will not be fighting on February 22. He’s not injured, but he might not be fighting until March now.
- There wasn’t a single question asked about Johny Hendricks in one hour of Q&A. And if there was and I missed it, it was a completely meaningless question.
And there’s plenty more in between and after, but I’ve got new live discussion badges to make.
(Banner via Getty)
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