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What’s the motive behind Dana White’s public announcements on Brock Lesnar’s health?

By Zach Arnold | November 16, 2009

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That seems to be the question everyone is asking right now, which of course is leading to all sorts of conspiracy theories. “Does Brock have Lyme disease?” “Does he have health problems related to his pro-wrestling days?” “Why is he in the hospital?” “Is this all a media frenzy in hopes of creating babyface heat for Lesnar?” And on and on and on it goes. Hell, ESPN ran with White’s health proclamations about Brock on on their news ticket and at one point the LA Times story about White’s comments were the most-viewed out of anything in the paper’s online sports section — and that’s on a weekend where USC got crushed by Stanford on Saturday at the Coliseum.

No matter how long Lesnar is out of action, the overall depth that UFC once had is suddenly showing strain. The calls to bring in the WEC fighters to work UFC shows will grow louder and louder (as they should). Mike Brown vs. Jose Aldo should be at this weekend’s UFC event — instead, it’s on a Wednesday show most people won’t know is on and will probably lose in the ratings to Central Michigan (Dan LeFevour mania, brother) vs. Ball State on ESPN2 (college football).

Then there’s the prospect of booking Chuck Liddell for the January 2nd show that has… Rashad Evans vs. Thiago Silva and no Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira/Cain Velasquez match-up because Nogueira has a staph infection. Shane Carwin may tempted in fighting Velasquez for an interim title, but if he loses to Cain he will likely never get that title match against Brock. However, Carwin needs to fight and make some money. He’s in a catch 22 here. Fortunately, it sounds like Carwin won’t fight Velasquez due to a grade two MCL strain.

Think Dan Henderson enjoys the leverage he has right now at the bargaining table? If UFC can’t sign Henderson soon, they’re looking at Chael Sonnen vs. Nathan Marquardt. Yeah. At least Michael Bisping is on the comeback trail. Yushin Okami is hanging out with IWGP champion Shinsuke Nakamura at Samurai TV. Ahh… flashbacks to Alexey Ignashov…

Then there’s Rampage, who’s off in movie-land and who wants what he thinks is a fair amount of money to fight Evans in the UFC in ‘010.

As for the Welterweight division, we’re going to see mega-star Georges St. Pierre against a Top 20 WW in Dan Hardy, who looked… well… OK against Mike Swick on Saturday night in Manchester. Jon Fitch continues to draw the short end of the stick due to bad luck and a lack of opponents. Would a new season of TUF with GSP and Hardy as coaches help create new prospects?

Anderson Silva is missing in action and is unpredictable as far as business manueverings are concerned. It’s possible that if things really got desperate for UFC that they could book Randy Couture for the January 2nd event.

Tito vs. Forrest II will pop a nice buyrate, probably 450,000ish, and even though Forrest is a -160 favorite go into the fight there’s a good shot that Tito can sneak out a win here and hopefully add some life to future UFC PPV events.

Simply put, the UFC right now is in desperate need of making new stars fast, quick, and in a hurry. Part of it is their fault, but part of it is also the fault of the fighters they put into make-or-break positions who end up breaking (like Brandon Vera).

And part of it is the health of one larger-than-life individual who right now has management worried that he’s not coming back to the cage any time soon to help them pop a couple of big PPV buy rates.

Topics: Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 67 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

67 Responses to “What’s the motive behind Dana White’s public announcements on Brock Lesnar’s health?”

  1. 45 Huddle says:

    And this is why I shouldn’t say I’m done posting on a topic…

    Hate being right all the time, but it continues to happen. Like I have said, the only two shows that took it on the chin were UFC 106 and UFC 108. After that, it is back to normal….

  2. jim allcorn says:

    And no, I don’t at all consider myself a UFC “hater”.

    I just happen to think that as a result of Dana & the boys choosing to look the other way on some things regarding certain individuals that are the “faces” of their organization, their becoming arrogant & believing themselves “bulletproof” business-wise & their continuing to rely on Joe Silva’s horrible matchmaking abilities, that it’s all led to this apparent clusterf**k of a schedule for late ’09 – early ’10.

    A situation that I will admit to not feeling the least bit sorry for them for.

  3. Mark says:

    Really? Because on October 1st in the “Will Kimbo Slice Replace Marcus Jones On The Ultimate Fighter” you said:

    My prediction…. If Brock Lesnar loses to Shane Carwin and Kimbo Slice wins his 1st official UFC fight…. We will see that fight happen.

    It will get 2 Million PPV Buys. Unless they decide to put it on Network TV, in which it will do 10 Million Viewers.

    Looks like you said Brock was their key to network television.

    You UFC Haters always say you want competition. You cry until you are blue in the face about it. Well, the UFC putting on these sub-par PPV’s is BECAUSE OF COMPETITION. This is no spin.

    So a bit ago it wasn’t a problem and we’re all overreacting, but now it gets a rant out of you? And why is competition the problem? Should all stores be forced to merge into one just because sometimes you can’t find the item that you want?

    Overall, you people talk like boxing is this glorious thing and the UFC is about to fail. Wake up. Even big named boxers talk about how much better the UFC machine is then boxing. They know their own sport is hurting… And yet some crazy fans online know better? Give me a break.

    Which fighters said that? And nobody said it’s going to fail, they’re saying they’re hitting a rough period. If Dana didn’t fellate himself over how unstoppable his promotion was, nobody would say anything. It’s Dana that brings the criticism to UFC. When PRIDE was the dominant monster of MMA promotions nobody complained about them on this level. Could it be humility brings respect and arrogance brings distain?

    Boxing had boring main event fights for years on PPV. For every good one, there was 3 or 4 bad ones. And that never stopped people from purchasing the next one. What stopped steady stream of PPV’s was the lack of stars.

    Heavyweight main events, maybe. But, as Alan, myself and others have pointed out to you dozens of times: you don’t respect boxing so stop telling boxing fans what they should like. You said Floyd Mayweather’s fights are boring. Boxing fans don’t. Boxing fans enjoy boxing, not Scott Junk fights.

    Hate being right all the time, but it continues to happen. Like I have said, the only two shows that took it on the chin were UFC 106 and UFC 108. After that, it is back to normal…

    And this will pull them out of their slump how? This is the same Anderson Silva who only drew once in his career against Forrest Griffin, correct? The same guy who gets 300K for title defenses alone? Vitor has the starpower maybe you’re saying?

  4. IceMuncher says:

    Joe Silva’s horrible match-making abilities? Now I’ve heard it all.

    You also pretty much out yourself as a UFC “hater” whether you think you are or not.

  5. IceMuncher says:

    “All of those cards had something in common; more than one champion on the card.”

    I’m not sure what you’re arguing here? The same thing can be said about Brock. On cards without more than one champion, Brock drew 600k and 800-900k. With a fellow champion and the magic 100 number, he did 1.7 million.

    “Or hope that they can ride Chuck Liddell, Matt Hughes, and Randy Couture for awhile longer.

    Now, where have I heard before that being reliant on aging names to sell tickets is a bad thing? Huh.”

    Those guys don’t pull numbers like you think they do. I’m not even sure where you got that impression. Crazy talk. Liddell only drew 480k for his fight with Rashad. Couture gets talked among hardcores like he’s a draw, but he has never had the numbers to back it up (except with Lesnar), and you can say the same with Hughes. The UFC has almost no reliance on those guys to sell tickets. You’re grasping at straws Alan, it’s rather unbecoming.

    You want to know a secret about UFC’s “big” draws like Rampage, Liddell, Couture, Tito, GSP, etc etc? They all do 400k-600k by themselves, and only when you combine together can you get 800k+ buys, with the sole exception of Brock who can outdo the others by 200k-400k. Obviously losing Brock hurts, but not much in the big picture.

  6. IceMuncher says:

    I forgot UFC 87, which Brock was in, which also did 600k. So that’s 600k, 600k, and the 800k-900k with Randy.

  7. David M says:

    “QUOTE #3: “Once PBF vs Pac is announced, king of the assclowns Dana White is going to look/feel so stupid.”
    More incorrect information. Dana White said during his UFC 101 Q&A that he wanted to see this fight. End of story. Get your facts straight.”

    Sorry genius, the relevant Dana quote was after he failed to sign Fedor after calling him a fat slob who fights nobodies (except beating 5 or 6 UFC hw champions), when he said that the difference between boxing and mma is that boxing promoters wouldn’t try to put together Pacquiao vs PBF, whereas he tried and failed to sign Fedor, lol.

    UFC does great buyrates for Lesnar and Liddell. They have negative momentum now. Brock is done, Liddell is done, Couture is done as a ppv headliner, Machida lost his tarnish, and GSP is out. I really think Kimbo vs Liddell is a possibility. When that takes place, I can already here you saying how it is good for the sport (whereas Fedor drawing 5.5 million viewers is bad for the sport, lol).

    I’m glad you as a 40something year old bald man from Boston know what teenagers like. The fact that teenagers know who Brock Lesnar is doesn’t have any relation to whether or not they know who Manny Pacquiao is. Boxing stars are bigger than mma stars; the sport has a much bigger talent pool, it is more international, gets more mainstream coverage, and is more ingrained in our culture. So yes, Dana, I am pretty sure teenagers know who Manny Pacquiao is.

  8. Mike says:

    Calling Dan Hardy “top 20” is doing him a disservice. He’s beaten Davis who was ranked around the 10 mark and now he’s beaten Swick who was ranked 7th by Sherdog (dunno about other ranks). I would expect him to be ranked above Paulo Thiago in the next set of rankings, who’s currently at 6.

  9. The Gaijin says:

    I just want to chime in on one item I continue to see getting oft repeated, that being that Tito Ortiz is/should be considered to be a (big) draw for the UFC.

    The guy was constantly tarred and feathered by his own boss in a very public fashion, sat out a year, had multiple surgeries, was “exposed” twice by Liddell (which imho the rematch was a really short sighted and hot-shot booking at the time) and was “fed” to Machida in a move lauded by everyone who “hated” Tito because he dared test his market-value (even if he overrated it, like he does his talent). I’m sure now that they’re really hurting for main-event draws at the moment, the 45’s of the world that thought Dana was brilliant and that was the greatest move ever are re-evaluating what a great idea that was.

    But back to my original thought – I’m really wondering how much value Tito Ortiz has in popping buys as a headliner after a lot of the lustre has been rubbed off.

  10. jim allcorn says:


    Well damn, I had no idea that I had to be a non-critical “fan” of the company’s bloody matchmaker in order to not be considered a “hater”.

    I haven’t got the energy tonight to write a dissertation on my beefs with Joe Silva & his work. All I have to do is point a finger at the shambles he made of their top star Chuck Liddell’s career as evidence of his obvious shortcomings.

    Or take a look at what he did to Wanderlei Silva & Cro Cop’s careers once they arrived in the UFC. The man simply has no idea how to build, sustain or re-build a fighter’s career.

    And no, I’m not saying that anyone should have been coddled or over-protected either. This obviously isn’t Japan where a series of terrible mismatches is an acceptable thing, nor would I like it to be so.

    But, look at what the idiot did with regard to Filipovic alone.
    He made damned sure that the UFC never even got close to a return on their investment in him.

    If you want to defend him, fine, but IMO he’s a sh*t matchmaker.
    If he’d done his job properly the UFC wouldn’t be backed into a corner like it is with it’s total lack of interesting contenders for GSP either.
    But, rather than being able to keep him busy against the likes of Swick, Marcus Davis etc., he made them all run the gauntlet until only Hardy remains. Meaning the Canadian only fights twice a year.

    Would challengers like them have been real threats? Not likely, but they had a history with UFC fans & would have drawn interest in their opportunities against one of the elite.

    Now what?

    What did Swick’s run lead to?

    What did Davis’ build up in the UK accomplish?

    Nada in both cases.

    Sure, Hardy’s emerged out of the ashes, but then what?

    I sure hope GSP’s interest in the ’12 Games is legit, ’cause barring a move up to ’85, he’ll need something to keep himself busy.

  11. Alan Conceicao says:

    Hate being right all the time, but it continues to happen.

    Haven’t we heard this song and dance before about Anderson/Belfort? I’ll believe he’s fighting when I hear that a contract is signed, and not about this “depending on recovery” garbage.

  12. IceMuncher says:

    Ah, so your complaints about Joe Silva basically comprise of the fact that he doesn’t make scrubs look like contenders. The fact that he gives fighters credible challenges instead of babying them is what I like the most about him, but I guess some people care more about title contenders that “look” good than opponents that actually are good.

    Crocop lost because he is a worse fighter than Gonzaga. So instead Gonzaga got the shot, which he deserved, and since he’s a better fighter than Crocop it was a better title shot than Crocop would have been (if you look at MMA as a sport not spectacle). Wandy never got a title shot because he can’t beat a top contender.

    This all has nothing to do with Joe Silva, and everything to do with the fact that the fighters you have a man-crush on can’t win their way to the title on their own power, and instead require favorable match-ups. Boohoo.

  13. jim allcorn says:

    Whoa there, ponyboy, a “man crush”?

    When the hell did I ever say ANYTHING about ANY of these fighters being personal favorites of mine? Not once. So piss off with that nonsense.

    I was involved in the pro boxing game for the better part of two decades & worked side by side with men like Don Elbaum, Russell Peltz & Mike Acri. Men who’ve forgotten more about building fighters & resurrecting careers than Silva will EVER know.

    No, MMA’s not boxing, but the fight game is the fight game & there are ( SURPRISE! ) actually ways in which to build fighters into top attractions destined for big money bouts without resorting to mis-matches.

    Silva’s pell mell, sink or swim style has resulted in plenty of good fights, I’ll give him his due, but it’s also managed to ruin what couldhave been much bigger & better contests that would’ve brought his bosses even more $$$ & attention.

    Just as an example, given the right preliminary fights, they could have built up a Couture-Cro Cop contest that would’ve been huge.
    But, instead, in all his “brilliance” Silva used the Croatian to simply & rather unnecessarily further put over De Silva & he put Couture into a thankless bout with Vera that diminished much of the value that he still had left following his losses to Lesner & Nog.

    To what end?

    Which is what his major weakness as a matchmaker has always been …
    There’s all to often been no continuity from one card to the next & for the most part one could’ve gotten the same results by putting various names in a hay & then tossing them out on the table.

    Face it, his work sucks.

  14. Mike says:

    Jim – disagree with your philosophy entirely. You talk tirelessly about “building up” X or Y… A horrible, horrible concept. If you win, you build yourself up. That’s the point.

    Manufacturing any sort of contender artificially is just beyond comprehension to me.

    “but it’s also managed to ruin what couldhave been much bigger & better contests that would’ve brought his bosses even more $$$ & attention.”

    The last part of that is true – the first part is not. Building someone up beyond their natural position, as you want to do, is a recipe for worse quality but overhyped contests, not “better” contests… Not better in any way whatsoever.

  15. […] can either go the Shane Carwin route and apologize or double down and say this is just another Lesnar career flake out in disguise. While I suppose it is possible for a man with a giant dick sword on his chest to check […]

  16. robthom says:

    “…Tito can sneak out a win here and hopefully add some life to future UFC PPV events. ”

    But is that a life worth living?!

  17. Robert T says:

    what a great time to start a fighters union. Strikeforce is appearing to be a little bigger threat than first preceived, Dana is crapping himself because, “he has never experienced such a high volume of withdrawals in his nine years at the promotion’s helm.”
    Fighters could get a little of the video game money back that they were hijacked out of.


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