By Zach Arnold | December 29, 2011
Now, this… this turned out to be quite the interview for a lot of reasons if you study the psychology of this man. He declined to comment on the Alistair Overeem/NSAC steroid test situation. He claims that Brock Lesnar is ‘nearly a 2-to-1 underdog’ to Alistair Overeem (Overeem is only a -140 favorite, 7 to 5).
That wasn’t the only whopper. Sergio Non (@usatmma) recounted this quip from Dana yesterday:
“When I lie to you — I’m honest when I have to lie to you.”
The real meat of this interview is at the beginning when he’s asked to address why he fired-and-rehired Miguel Torres for his ‘rape tweet’ when Forrest Griffin got a pass for his Twitter antics (on the night Joe Paterno got the axe from Penn State) and Rashad Evans, despite getting eviscerated by Jim Rome on ESPN for his Jerry Sandusky crack towards Phil Davis (UFC Fox 2 Chicago presser), didn’t get the hammer dropped on him.
In short: Vince McMahon logic applies here. “Screw you, I’ll do whatever I want.” OK, here’s the long version:
ARIEL HELWANI: “We talked in Toronto. You said pretty definitively he’s not coming back. No way, no how. Why did you change your mind?”
DANA WHITE: “Well… I don’t know if I said he’s not coming back no way, no how. What I said, yeah, he’s been cut from the UFC. You know, he went out… and talked about something that you shouldn’t talk about on Twitter, it makes absolutely no sense whether you’re joking, whether it’s from a TV show, whatever it is… It makes no sense. So, when I was away on vacation, his manager texted me and said, ‘can we come in next week and meet with you?’ And I said yes and I set it up through my secretary. So, they did. They came in here (yesterday) and Miguel Torres sat on that court right there (yesterday) and, first of all, I haven’t talked to Miguel Torres since this whole incident, I haven’t talked to him at all. Umm… on his own, he went out and met with five rape crisis centers in Chicago, he donated money to all of them, he’s been taking rape sensitivity classes, and this whole thing has been a pretty traumatic experience for him and the things that he’s gone through the last, umm, the last several weeks.
“I am one of those people that ‘everybody f***s up, everybody makes mistakes.’ I do, you do, believe it or not, everyone who’s watching does. We all make mistakes and we will make more. What I judge a person on is how they handle themselves after they make those mistakes. You know… never once did Miguel Torres flip out and say, ‘oh, this or that’ or point the fingers at anybody else. He went out and handled his business like a man. There’s so many guys that I’ve seen in this sport that get busted for something and deny it and say that it’s not true and, you know, think that there’s conspiracies against them and all kinds of bull****. The way that Miguel Torres went out and handled this, I have nothing but respect for him and I truly and honestly know that he learned something from this situation and hopefully everybody else did, too. Because I’ll be honest with you — when I sat with him here today, it’s not like I haven’t through this. I’ve been through this same [expletive]. I know what it’s like, I know what happens. And everything that he said to me (yesterday) was from the heart, he means it, and I get it and I have nothing but respect for Miguel.”
ARIEL HELWANI: “Are you at all concerned that now people will say, all right, Dana says something…”
DANA WHITE: “People say all kinds of [expletive]. I was criticized for cutting him. Now I’m going to be criticized for bringing him back. I don’t give a [expletive] what anybody thinks. I don’t care what the fans have to say about it. I don’t care what the reporters are going to say or write about it. You know, you can all have your opinions. Your opinions don’t mean [expletive] to me. I’m going to run this thing the way that I want to and I’m going to do things the way that I think it should be done. I know when I cut Miguel Torres that I did the right thing and I know I did the right thing (yesterday) by bringing him back.”
ARIEL HELWANI: “Does he return to the UFC in the same spot that he was in before this incident or does he have to sort of work his way back up?”
DANA WHITE: “No, he’s the same guy, the same fighter. He’s in the same position he was. I mean, him coming back has nothing to do with where he sits in this company or, you know, as far as a fighter or whatever. You know, I’ve had a little bit of interaction with Miguel Torres over the last several years. Nothing big, nothing great. My interaction with Miguel Torres (yesterday morning)… I really, really respect and like this guy a lot. First of all, like I said, nobody told him to do this. It wasn’t ‘go do this and maybe we’ll bring you back in the UFC.’ Never. We didn’t talk to him at all. … That’s the way I handle things. Everything is on a case-by-case basis and we’ll deal with, you know, stuff as it comes.”
Later on in the interview, Dana was asked to comment about Jon Fitch’s concerns that MMA is devolving into pro-wrestling. The reply was exactly what you would expect from Dana White in return.
“Heh heh. I would say that… First of all, I’m sure if he’s saying that guys who talk a lot a stuff, talking about a Chael Sonnen… Chael came back… Say what you want about Chael Sonnen, he backs that [expletive] up. Nobody’s ever in the history of the UFC fought Anderson Silva the way that Chael Sonnen did. Nobody. You know, he goes out, he puts on exciting fights, and he backs up everything that he says. Is the guy nutty? He’s nutty as hell, but he backs up everything that he says.
(Ed. — And he did it while admittedly using testosterone. Don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story.)
“People can think pro-wrestling or whatever… The problem with Jon Fitch is, you know, you hear this same thing from everybody about Jon Fitch. ‘If I want to fall asleep and I can’t get to sleep at night, I’ll put in a Jon Fitch fight.’ You know, and… whatever you think, Jon Fitch is one of the best 170 pounders in the world and, yes, he’s in the hunt for the title again. But everybody, I mean, find one person that will tell you that they love a Jon Fitch fight, it’s the most exciting thing they’ve ever seen and they just get so excited for it. So, when you say that you have a fight like (Donald) Cerrone and (Nate) Diaz on the card and a guy with a record like [Fitch's] is on and people aren’t jumping out of their seats for that fight, you know, I think Jon needs to have a little bit of a, you know, he’s got to be a little honest with himself and have a little bit of a reality check when he talks about stuff like that.”