By Zach Arnold | December 13, 2006
By Zach Arnold
The Orange County Register posted a news story discussing the results of the UFC Fight Night weigh-ins, along with a lot of multimedia audio clips with press writers interviewing UFC fighters and staff. The biggest interview posted on the site is one with Dana White. Here are some of the things he had to say in the audio interview…
- He aims for WEC to become the #2 MMA promotion. As far as a pending HBO deal, UFC will be the league that goes on that channel (not the WEC). White specifically says that he bought the WFA for the contracts, stressing on Quinton Jackson’s name the most. In regards to the Pro Elite deal on Showtime, “Showtime’s got nothing, I don’t see the Showtime thing lasting too long. … They can deal with WEC when their other deal doesn’t work.”
- When asked about picking up some of the fighters contracted to both the WFA & the IFL, he said of that problem, “I’ll take care of that, too.”
- When asked about UFC’s impact on the MMA market, Dana said, “We are the mark on the market.” When asked about how many PPV buys he thinks Chuck Liddell vs. Tito Ortiz will draw on 12/30, he estimated 1.2 million PPV buys.
- In regards to buying the WEC: “I liked it and I wanted it. The WEC isn’t going to be looked at a feeder show.” Also in regards to potential UFC/WEC crossover now, “No trading, no swapping, no nothing.” White said that the UFC and WEC will be rivals, competing with each other like the Viacom split. No UFC guys will initially be in the WEC. “Who knows if we do a Super Bowl type thing some day.” (Commentary: This sounds exactly like WWE having both RAW & Smackdown.)
- White said he would be meeting with Spike TV officials on Wednesday to fill out the 2007 TV programming calendar. He said that there would be more programming and more fights to come, including “a couple of TUF finales” (meaning at least two more seasons of The Ultimate Fighter in one year). He said that there would be 10-11 PPVs, including 4-5 fights from the UK. He noted the April 7th date in Montreal booked for GSP vs. Matt Hughes. White focused a lot on the Mexican market, talking about TV Azteca airing Ultimate Knockouts 1 & 2 on the network in a studio format and that the networkk will run Tito Ortiz vs. Chuck Liddell countdown shows all week before the NYE weekend fight. White said he was “getting goose bumps” talking about Mexico. In regards to UFC programming, he said that there is so much demand for this (MMA) and “we’re the only ones who know how to do it.”
- Dana said he aims to have a couple of shows a year in Canada, building a market in Mexico, and taking UFC on the road a lot by traveling to Texas, the East Coast, and Florida (including a Hollywood, Florida show on January 25th). He said he wants to bring a Fight Night show to Canada and Mexico. He concluded by saying that Southern California will always be a hotbed for UFC.