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« | Home | »

TJ Dillashaw shows he’s a true professional while his UFC bosses melt down in California

By Zach Arnold | August 30, 2014

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On episode 4 of UFC 177 Embedded, the cursed fight card becomes a Cinderella story as the main event changes on weigh-in day. Title challenger and former champ Renan Barao bows out for medical reasons, creating a once-in-a-lifetime chance for Joe Soto, a former belt-holder in other organizations about to make his UFC debut on the prelim card, until he got the call that would change his life. TJ Dillashaw proves he’s a company man and true champion willing to fight anyone, anytime by accepting a new challenger on one day’s notice. UFC President Dana White lambastes the negative media and implores his fighters to seize the opportunity to prove all the doubters wrong. UFC Embedded is an all-access, behind-the-scenes video blog series focusing on the days leading up to the UFC 177 bantamweight title fight, Saturday, August 30th on Pay-Per-View.

The polish is off the turd.

There was Dana White trying to pump up the fighters on one of the company’s most horrific fight cards ever by using a pedantic “blame the media” strategy. The media says the show sucks. The media is dumping all over you. You mean nothing. It was classic coach spin. It came off pathetic from a guy who was trying to tell the press earlier this week that he wasn’t bothered by the negative mention in GQ Magazine in regards to how (little) he pays his fighters.

And then came Saturday night during the preliminary fights on Fox Sports 1. An all-time meltdown from Dana White with Ariel Helwani under the tag line “Is UFC 177 cursed?” Dana ripped into the GQ mention days after claiming it never bothered him. He ripped into Dave Meltzer for claiming that the Sacramento gate would be $500,000. That turned out to be an old report. Dana ripped “journalists” for telling fans not to buy UFC 177 and for dumping on the fighters. The fact that this even aired on Fox Sports 1 to promote a PPV was amazing. The funny and predictable part is that the anti-Meltzer backlash amongst hardcore UFC fans started right away on Twitter after the “War Dana!” moment on cable television.

The ticket sales for Sacramento? The UFC was slashing $90 tickets at $65 on Groupon. This wasn’t a state secret. Dana White trumpeting the fact that only a 100 fans asked for a refund after the canceled main event was something you had to see to believe.

“We always deliver. We always deliver in Sacramento. What a killer fight town…”

The announced attendance was 11,100 for a $700,000 gate.

Rather than taking responsibility for everything they have done to burn California MMA fans over the last two months, the UFC decided to make Renan Barao their whipping boy on Saturday night.

There was Joe Rogan telling Barao that him pulling out of the main event was embarrassing not only for Barao but for the UFC. A public shaming. Little concern shown about the guy’s health but a lot of anger at his lack of professionalism. It was done under the cover of the dangers of weight cutting. If UFC wants that public debate, let’s have it. Weight cutting has been dangerous in the modern UFC era and it turns out that adding the extra Featherweight, Bantamweight, and Flyweight classes has only contributed to exacerbating the health & safety problems. But that’s another debate for another day.

Capping off the absurdity of UFC 177 was UFC giving away Harley Davidson bikes to fighters who contractually aren’t allowed to ride them while fighting under the Zuffa banner. There was Anthony Pettis mentioning Bellator on TV, too.

As the UFC goes head-to-head next Friday against Bellator in Connecticut, it’s important to reassess the carnage that Zuffa has left behind in California. It’s a dramatic picture of the needless damage being done right now.

Go back to last April. Andy Foster, a guy the UFC thinks of highly, suddenly interviews for the Executive Director job opening in Nevada. He bombed the interview. The UFC gifts Andy three Summer events in a time span of 60 days — a Fox broadcast show at San Jose Arena, a Staples Center PPV fight, and a PPV fight at Arco Arena in Sacramento. Theoretically, three TV tax checks amounting to anywhere from $75,000 to $105,000 in CSAC’s coffers.

Then came the torrential downpour of bad judgment.

UFC booked a card for San Jose that had no local appeal and no A-level star power. Your main event was Robbie Lawler vs. Matt Brown. Great fight involving main card support guys, not main card event guys in terms of star power. It drew a $735,000 gate in San Jose.

Then came the debacle at the Staples Center. Chad Mendes vs. Jose Aldo as a main event. What a disaster. I wouldn’t call it a legitimate main event in terms of star power anywhere other than the Sacramento market and even then that would have been a stretch. Predictably, reports leaked that the gate advance was sucking wind at Staples. Jose Aldo ends up pulling out of the fight due to injury and UFC “postpones” the fight… for Brazil. An August 2nd PPV canceled. Nobody is happy.

Which leads us to the August 30th PPV fight in Sacramento at Arco Arena. With Urijah Faber fighting on cable television for the UFC 175 prelims in Las Vegas (the Ronda Rousey/Chris Weidman card), he was not available for Sacramento. No Joe Benavidez, either. Which left UFC scrambling to book something, anything. After canceling the Los Angeles PPV fight, they couldn’t cancel a second PPV in the same month. Well, they could, but they didn’t want to because of the financial cost.

So they booked TJ Dillashaw vs. Renan Barao in a Bantamweight title re-match with Demetrious Johnson fighting Chris Cariaso for the Flyweight title. All hell breaks loose with Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier getting pushed until January, so DJ/Cariaso gets moved to the September card in Las Vegas. Which left an already impossibly thin card even thinner in Sacramento. Leading to Dana White ripping Dave Meltzer about an old report of UFC 177 drawing a $500,000 gate when it is more like $700,000.

A $700,000 gate in San Jose. A canceled PPV fight in Staples that reportedly was not selling well. And a $700,000 gate at Arco Arena in Sacramento. This is not a California problem. This is a UFC problem. What this organization has done to burn fight fans in the state over the last two months is completely inexcusable. The response from UFC has been incredibly tone deaf and defiant. The crazy Uncle Dana routine was celebrated when he was winning but Americans don’t like losers and right now the guy is self-destructing before our eyes. Needlessly so, too.

UFC 177 main card event results:

Topics: MMA, Media, UFC, Zach Arnold | 13 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

13 Responses to “TJ Dillashaw shows he’s a true professional while his UFC bosses melt down in California”

  1. rst says:

    I’m vaguely familiar with the headliners.
    Reckon I STFU Dork before I admit to that.

  2. Chris says:

    So the UFC puts an FS 1 quality card on PPV, loses Barao in the main event, and the card is a stinker. Karma is a you know what….

  3. Diaz's cashed bowl says:

    “Barao’s not making any money. I’m not paying Barao. He hurt us, he messed with the show, but that kid didn’t make a paycheck, he’s going home with no money. He’s going home without a dime. He just paid for a camp, and who knows when he’s going to fight again.”

    Boy talk about a vindictive total POS sleazebag!

    As Zach points out the obvious this was ALL UFC blunder. First, the rematch should not have happened so soon after all the damage Barao took in the last fight. Then filling the rest of the card with literally the most worthless meaningless fights you could imagine. Finally cancelling many of those fights.

    IMO the UFC hurt Barao, They blew it with Faber and Joe, the card had NO heat to begin with and to publicly punish the poor guy for drying up and almost blowing away is inhuman. The UFC pulls a “Riggs” shoots their hand and blames levis for the damage to their leg.

    Another example of UFCs complete disdain for fighter safety was signing Struve for another fight!

    Sad that POS like white and frattatas are even walking around on this planet.

  4. Diaz's packed bowl says:

    Also helps to have pedestrian slop spewing scum like Iole help clean up your mess and put the blame on the UFCs appointed whipping boy.

    “It might also behoove Barao to think before he speaks.

    But given how Barao let Dillashaw down and cost him money he should have just taken the comments from Dillashaw in stride and kept his mouth shut.

    Now, he looks like an arrogant, out-of-touch, pampered athlete who wants to blame others for his issues.”

    Oh thanks iole, here I was thinking it was the owners of the UFC were the ones blaming others for their “issues”. I’m glad that you informed me that it was Barao, and only Barao that screwed up the ufc.

    If I were Barao I would say FU UFC and fight in ONEfc for free.

  5. 45 Huddle says:

    I have no problem with Barao not getting paid. Not sure why people are hating on Dana White for this one. There is a lot to hate on Dana White here, but not paying Barao is not one of them.

    The guy tries to make an insane cut and failed. He did not fight. He didn’t even weigh in. He should not get paid.

    • Diaz's packed bowl says:

      Like I said, it was a direct result of the UFCs complete lack of concern for fighter safety and their desperate desire to put on a PPV with “any” title fight forced this situation. UFC just doesn’t like Renan, they kept him at interim champ for as long as they could never promoted him. He was undefeated and when he finally got beat down for a full 5 rounds they couldn’t wait for him to get beat again.
      The situation was absurd to begin with, would Jones or silva or gsp would even consider fighting 3 championship fights in 6 months? Of course not, they fight twice a year

      Listen to what his coach says…

      Andre Pederneiras believes the 27-year old has not given his body enough time to rest by trying to fight three times in the span of six months “What I see is that he needs more time between fights so he doesn’t have to do training camps for five-round fights one after another. His body really needs some rest.”

      • 45 Huddle says:

        If his coaches didn’t think he was ready, they shouldn’t have signed the bout agreement. By signing the bout agreement, it means they believe he can have a proper training camp, make weight, and win the fight.

        Should the UFC do more with weight cutting? Absolutely. But at the end of the day it is still the fighters responsibility to make the weight.

        Long term, the UFC needs to have random drug testing for all of their fighters throughout training camps. And they need to weigh fighters in during their entire camps to regulate it.

        • Diaz's packed bowl says:

          That being said, its fair to slash a % of Baraos paycheck. But ufc needs a specific criteria for docking a fighter. Some fighters get penalized for bumping their head before the weigh in some don’t.
          Struve was a known risk like cejudo, both bowed out due to medical issues, but they gave struve his win money not cejudo.

        • Diaz's packed bowl says:

          Ben Askren

          “I have a hard time with how Dana White treats people. Even last weekend, Barao, did he make a mistake? Yeah, he blew it. He freakin’ blew it, big time. He probably shouldn’t be at 135 pounds. But the way Dana just threw him under the bus like he was a piece of garbage. Where was some human decency there? I think we’ve seen it time after time with Dana. And so I think at the end of the day he cares about his bottom line a lot and he doesn’t care enough about the athletes.”

          Exactly my point.

  6. Tibbetts says:

    Poor Dave had to write an article to defend himself from that moron Dana White.

  7. Retroactive says:

    White’s Meltzer thing was such b.s. Meltzer wrote that two weeks before the show, the advance was $550,000.

    White then claimed he predicted the show would do $500,000.

    He never predicted anything, and said if he had, it would have been $725,000.

    I saw a confrontation with someone in Zuffa regarding that deal trying to defend White when it came out he lied about the number, and called the actual legitimate advance from two weeks earlier, lowered it be $50,000, and called it Meltzer’s prediction.

    Boy was that embarrassing.

  8. Alan Conceicao says:

    I don’t necessarily have an issue with Barao being taken to task for not making weight. That’s his job, and if he can’t do it, he shouldn’t be signing on the dotted line to do so. We’ve had that discussion a thousand times over with other fighters, including most recently, Henry Cejudo.

    What I do think is ridiculous is that the UFC decided to move ahead with a $65 PPV headlined by Barao/Dillashaw II to begin with. That’s clearly the kind of fight that should be on Fox or FS1, not on PPV. It is going to take a long time with fans seeing these smaller guys fighting and seeing dominant champions before they have a chance to draw. Instead, they’ve bloated the roster with hundreds of guys they don’t need for shows they really shouldn’t be running like UFC 177.

  9. [...] Dana White launching an unholy rip of the media. Some days, I miss covering this sport — this would’ve been [...]

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