MMA Good Dana White interview

Discussion in 'OT Bar' started by Optamix, Jul 10, 2007.

  1. Optamix

    Optamix New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2004
    Messages:
    7,880
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Alabama
  2. Friday, July 6, 2007
    Updated: July 10, 12:11 PM ET
    White not worried about the competition
    By Ryan Hockensmith
    ESPN The Magazine

    You wouldn't expect a wallflower to be in charge of the largest sanctioning body in mixed martial arts. And since Dana White, 36, has been UFC president since Jan. 15, 2001, you get the feeling he knows how to get things done. The former boxer and manager of UFC fighters Tito Ortiz and Chuck Liddell sat down for an interview with ESPN.com and -- surprise, surprise -- he didn't pull any punches.

    ESPN.com: You ran into an interesting dilemma this season with "The Ultimate Fighter." You had a brawl at the house between two fighters, and you reacted with a passionate speech about how too many people think that MMA is just a bunch of brawlers beating the crap out of each other. But there was also the urge to see those two in the octagon, and the UFC actually announced that that would be a fight. Take us through that decision-making process.

    Dana White: Spike really wanted that fight to happen, and we ended up booking the fight. Then I realized, 'How the f--- did we book that fight?' That fight will probably happen somewhere else, but it won't happen in the UFC. The thing that people have to realize is in "The Ultimate Fighter," those guys aren't UFC fighters. They want to be UFC fighters. We're looking at them through this microscope and looking at all their strengths and weaknesses. Not just in fighting, but in everyday life. Do they drink too much? Do they do this or that? We're looking for the next guy who can become a world champion. If you ask people out there, they'd love to see those two fight. But if you asked them if those two guys deserved to be in the UFC, everybody would tell you no.

    ESPN.com: At UFC 75, Dan Henderson will fight Rampage Jackson. Is this a unification bout or is this just for the UFC title?

    DW: It will absolutely be a unification bout. We have to respect Henderson's titles. He knocked out Wanderlei Silva and had the 185-pound championship. When he fights Rampage, they both have belts. Why should Dan Henderson get the UFC title if Rampage can't get the PRIDE titles? It makes one of them the undisputed guy.

    ESPN.com: Chuck Liddell vs. Wanderlei Silva. Is it going happen?

    DW: God, I hope so. So many people have wanted to see that fight for so many years, and PRIDE basically killed the fight. Now that Chuck has lost, the fight makes more sense and I'd love to make it happen. We're on the phone every day with fighters and fighters' managers. There's still work to be done.

    ESPN.com: Will this fight happen in the next six months?

    DW: "I'd say yes. I honestly believe that. But when you're dealing with me, I don't believe there is a fight we can't make, a TV deal we can't do. I'm a very positive guy.

    ESPN.com: What is Chuck up to these days?

    DW: He's texting me every day, telling me he's ready to go, when am I fighting, who am I fighting. He's already training again. He's ready.

    ESPN.com: What about the rumor that there will be a UFC event in November in New Jersey, at the new New Jersey Devils arena? True?

    DW: It's true, it's true. It's going to happen. We haven't announced it yet, but it will be a pay-per-view.

    ESPN.com: Where are you with the New York athletic control board?

    DW: We haven't even started working on them yet. We just got done in Illinois and Michigan. We'll start working on New York next.

    ESPN.com: What's that process like?

    DW: This thing is so big now. Everybody gets it. There's not a whole lot of explaining to do. There aren't a lot of stupid questions anymore. Rather than us going in to sell people, the control boards want it in their states.

    ESPN.com: How do you feel about the IFL, Bodog, EliteXC and other competition popping up?

    DW: It's good for us. I don't look at those guys as competition at all. They're nowhere near the league that we're in. I need shows like that. They're the feeder leagues. All the guys who fight in those shows aspire to be in the UFC someday. They're creating all the UFC talent of tomorrow.

    ESPN.com: Do you watch other shows?

    DW: I actually watched the IFL once, and it was f---ing painful. These guys are minor-league shows. They're necessary. I need them to exist, to continue to pay money to put on their shows. I need them to create more talent and get guys experience in fighting. But I don't worry about them. I'll give you an example. There are races going on all over the country, every weekend. But you know when NASCAR rolls in to town.

    ESPN.com: Did you watch Showtime EliteXC's Phil Baroni vs. Frank Shamrock two weeks ago?

    DW: I had dinner at the Palms, and I had them put it on in the room because I wanted to see Baroni knock his head off. It didn't work out that way.

    ESPN.com: What did you think of their skill levels?

    DW: They both looked bad. Phil's a good friend of me, so it's unfortunate. Frank Shamrock is not going to fight anybody near the top-10 level.

    ESPN.com: You wouldn't be tempted to bring back Frank for a big event?

    DW: Who knows? But Frank is such a moron. He's so hard to deal with. He really is a jackass. If I could get it done, maybe I would. Look at me and Tito. We don't get along at all. You won't ever find two people who work together talk more s--- about each other. Tito's an idiot. He's a complete, absolute moron. But we can do business.

    ESPN.com: So why not kill two birds with one stone. How about Tito vs. Frank Shamrock?

    DW: Frank Shamrock would never fight Tito Ortiz. Tito would crush him. Frank's not going to fight anybody serious. He's going to very carefully handpick his opponents, and continue to play the smoke and mirrors game.

    ESPN.com: When did you know that all the work was paying off and that the UFC was about to hit it big?

    DW: When we got the Spike deal. We knew when we first bought this, we knew we needed to get sanctioned. Once we did that, we knew that would help us get back on PPV. Once we got back on PPV, we knew it was going to be very hard to get on free TV. But once we got on TV, we knew we could do it.

    ESPN.com: But you also had to deliver a good TV series.

    DW: It really did work out. If you really knew the backstory, it's f---ing crazy. We financed the whole show ourselves; Spike wouldn't pay for it. It cost us $10 million the first season. We decided to take the shot because we believed it would work. We picked these fighters to come on, but we had no f---ing clue what we were doing. We had a basic premise on how this show was going to work. We went and found these guys. But everything else just unfolded. I was out one day trying to get sponsors, and Lorenzo Fertita stopped by the gym. "The Contender" had started a week before everybody moved into the house. On "The Contender," it was on NBC, they had sponsors out the a-- and they got paid good money for every fight. When the guys heard they weren't getting paid, Lorenzo called me and said, "They're all saying they won't fight." I said, "Really? I guarantee you they'll fight." I went down and gave them the "Do you want to be a fighter speech?" That speech was 20 minutes, but you didn't see that on TV. Season One was an incredible, lucky experience.

    ESPN.com: Let's run through some quick UFC questions. How many PPVs for the coming year?

    DW: We want 10.

    ESPN.com: When's the HBO deal going to get done?

    DW: It will be done very soon, in a matter of weeks. People don't realize this stuff isn't easy to get done.

    ESPN.com: Fedor Emialenenko--when will he be in the UFC?

    DW: We'll have him soon. We'll have him before the end of the year.

    ESPN.com: What's the process? Do you talk to his agent? To Bodog?

    DW: We don't talk to Bodog. We talk to his managers twice a day.

    ESPN.com: Twice a day?

    DW: It's not easy to get these contracts done. It takes time and a lot of work. There are a million sticking points. Every guy has his own set of issues, what is important to him. Plus, we have our set of standards. It takes time and a lot of negotiating. There are a lot of trust issues in this business. We want people to trust us. We're having fun. We love this business. You won't find people who love this sport who promote it as much as us. We really, truly love this thing. We bought this and were investing in this when we were losing millions of dollars and nobody cared about it. It never looked like we were going to make it on pay-per-view, let alone free TV. At the end of the day, we don't want guys who are unhappy fighting with us.

    ESPN.com: The original plan was to have mega PRIDE vs. UFC events. Is that still the plan?

    DW: I don't know what we're going to do yet because that thing is so messed up. We're still trying to figure it out. It's a complete disaster. They went out of business for a reason.

    Ryan Hockensmith is an associate editor at ESPN The Magazine.
     
  3. Humungus Hot Hint: "printer friendly" versions are always better to copy/paste.
     
  4. >DRIVEN<

    >DRIVEN< Hi

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2001
    Messages:
    25,312
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Michigan
    DW: Who knows? But Frank is such a moron. He's so hard to deal with. He really is a jackass. If I could get it done, maybe I would. Look at me and Tito. We don't get along at all. You won't ever find two people who work together talk more s--- about each other. Tito's an idiot. He's a complete, absolute moron. But we can do business.

    :rofl:
     
  5. Artyboy

    Artyboy Necessity is the excuse for every infringement of

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2004
    Messages:
    12,692
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Somewhere in CO
    The way that they're talking about Cung Le vs Frank Shamrock I can see what Dana is saying.
     
  6. Optamix

    Optamix New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2004
    Messages:
    7,880
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Alabama
    It was also asked why not have Tito fight Shamrock. Dana said something to the effect of "I hate Tito, but he would KILL Frank, Frank would never take the fight" I would pay to see that fight. First time I would ever be pulling for Tito.
     
  7. Artyboy

    Artyboy Necessity is the excuse for every infringement of

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2004
    Messages:
    12,692
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Somewhere in CO
    You could always just watch Frank/Tito 1 where Frank whooped Tito's ass back when he was in his prime :mamoru:
     
  8. FlyingNun

    FlyingNun Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2004
    Messages:
    7,592
    Likes Received:
    0
    what brawl happened at the TUF house this season?
     
  9. tonyk

    tonyk New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2004
    Messages:
    23,861
    Likes Received:
    0
    i want more details on this but im too lazy to look for articles :o
     
  10. tonyk

    tonyk New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2004
    Messages:
    23,861
    Likes Received:
    0
  11. FloppyCock

    FloppyCock New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2001
    Messages:
    5,630
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    California
    One of my favorite fights.
     
  12. CallSecurityNow

    CallSecurityNow OT Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2002
    Messages:
    4,687
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    South Florida
    actually a very good interview
     
  13. miek

    miek New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2005
    Messages:
    9,055
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Wpg, MB
    Good to see he's trying to sort out the Pride mess. I want to see a lot of those fighters again :/
     
  14. TQ

    TQ OT Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2002
    Messages:
    35,412
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    Kansas City, MO
    Good read, thanks :bigthumb:
     

Share This Page