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Dana White on booking Fedor: “It’s like having your promotion carried by Kimbo Slice”

By Zach Arnold | August 5, 2011

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Thursday turned out to a remarkable day for the media in terms of psychoanalyzing UFC management, especially Dana White. Dana White managed to give the Golden Glory story more oxygen that you would think it would deserve and he managed to channel his inner Vince McMahon and trash Fedor (again) the same way McMahon rants about Hulk Hogan.

Oh, and if you wondered whether or not Dana was interested in women’s MMA…

“There’s not enough good women out there to create a competitive division.”

In other words, he isn’t going to spend time building up women’s MMA. Henceforth, he’ll say there’s not enough talent, and end it there.

During a gaggle session (with the media), Dana White sounded off.

DANA WHITE: “Listen, I don’t want to talk bad about [Fedor] because I like him. But you know what it’s like? It’s like having your promotion carried by Kimbo Slice. If you got a guy as hyped and… he’s going to carry your promotion? No, what do you do is you put the best fighters in the world against the best fighters in the world and whoever wins, wins. Now, that guy hasn’t been fighting the best fighters in the world throughout his entire career. Now, if you want to go head-to-head, I don’t have the stats on this… I mean, no, no, seriously though, people talk shit.

“Let’s talk about Brock Lesnar, okay? The guy comes in with one fight… then he fights Frank Mir, former world champion Frank Mir. He fights Heath Herring, he fights Randy Couture, he fights Cain Velasquez. I mean, look at the guys that he’s fought in his short career. And people want to, you know, talk shit about Brock and laugh. At least Brock has fought real guys and came in and fought the best in the world.”

JOE SILVA: “We’re not saying that there’s not good fighters in other places. What we’re saying is the only place where the best fighters fight the best all the time is UFC. That’s what we’re saying. There’s talented fighters, a lot of people come into the UFC from somewhere else but they’re going to fight their toughest competition here. With Akiyama, how great his record was, hasn’t done as well. He’s having great fights, he’s a great fighter, but it’s a tougher road in the UFC. There’s no gimme fights.”

DANA WHITE: “It’s true, though. The thing is that I see all this stuff about Fedor and it’s so crazy, fucking go online and read it. I mean, read the facts. It’s ridiculous! It’s insane.”

What was remarkable about the comments made by both men is the insecurity & paranoia reeking from both men. Fundamentally-speaking, I don’t totally disagree with their points on merit. However, the way they talk and act when it comes to any fighter that wasn’t raised, created, and promoted from cradle-to-grave in the UFC ‘system’ is so scarily similar to how Vince McMahon views his talent. Vince McMahon, as Dave Meltzer once noted, views his wrestlers like ‘children’ and the ones that grew up nationally in WWE from day one are viewed as his creations, therefore they are ‘real wrestlers’ as opposed to guys who became names for themselves outside of WWE before joining Vince’s operation.

Look at this way — Hideki Matsui has 500 HRs combined from his Japanese and MLB stints. When people in MLB talk about Matsui reaching the 500 HR mark, you don’t hear them trash Japanese baseball and get so personally worked up about it. Yes, they don’t put Japanese baseball on the same level as MLB, but you don’t hear the venomous vitriol coming out of anyone’s mouth like you do when Dana White talks about the Fedors and Overeems of the world. I don’t understand this complex he has.

Fighters win and lose all the time. Let the fans judge who they want to see. Why does he feel the personal need to throw gasoline onto a fire (proverbially-speaking with Fedor) that’s all but smoldered?

As for Joe Silva automatically bringing up Yoshihiro Akiyama, I love the constant digs that Silva gets in as far as Japanese MMA goes. This goes back a long, long time and it’s something that I talked about with Jordan Breen extensively on Press Row. This company has such an obsession with tearing down Japan (in 2011, no less!) and what they felt the image of Japanese MMA was that they can’t help themselves in regards to taking bizarre, random shots against the Japanese. Everyone and their mother knows that Japanese MMA on a large scale is as dead as a doornail. So, what’s the point of making Japan your personal piñata now? No one cares. This is exactly the kind of behavior that leads everyone to think that when UFC does try to run a show in Japan again that it will have everything to do with stroking egos and answering management’s personal ‘demons’ rather than actually doing big business, because there isn’t substantial business to be made in Japan right now anyways.

Click to watch this this interview with Ariel Helwani & Dana White

Of course, the fun didn’t stop at the press gaggle.

DANA WHITE: “That’s not the way it works. Here in America, we fall under the rules & regulations of the athletic commission. And what happens is before the fight, the money goes into an account for the purses and the commission writes the checks … to the fighters, and then the fighters pay the managers or their trainers or whoever else they gotta pay. It’s the fighter’s money, it’s not the manager’s money and they absolutely refuse to operate that way.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “UFC 131, Jon Olav Einemo won fight of the night, highly-decorated grappler. He’s a Golden Glory fighter. Why did you sign him if he was a Golden Glory fighter and why did things change between now and then?”

DANA WHITE: “Because what happened was, they agreed to do the deal that way but when they got here, it wasn’t, you know, they were very unhappy with the situation that the fighter had to be paid instead of them, which they knew that was the deal. They always know that’s the deal but they refuse to do it.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “Does that mean no more Golden Glory fighters in Zuffa unless they change their policy?”

DANA WHITE: “Yeah. Yeah. Listen, you can get away with that stuff in Japan and all these other places they fight, not here. We’re not going to be in a situation where we write a check and give it to anybody other than the guy who earned it. Never going to happen. You know, and all the haters out there that, ‘Golden Glory and the Fedor’ and all this other bullshit, you know what I mean? Listen, it’s about the fighters, the fighters get paid, managers do not. Fighters pay managers, I don’t.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “And just to be clear as well, Sergei Kharitonov is a Golden Glory fighter but he wasn’t released. Why not?”

DANA WHITE: “Yeah, well, he’s fighting in the tournament and as of right here, right now, that’s the way it’s being done. He’ll receive his check.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “Oh really?”

DANA WHITE: “Yes, he will receive his check.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “How did he get around that?”

DANA WHITE: “He didn’t, I mean, it’s the same thing with Einemo. Einemo, we got that deal done, and then they come over and it was a big headache when they came, you know? It was a big ordeal.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “And Alistair didn’t want to that? Because he was still in the tournament, too.”

DANA WHITE: “Doesn’t matter what Alistair wants to do, it’s what Golden Glory wants to do. You know? That’s their deal. So, you might want to interview them and ask them about that. … Talk to them, see what they have to say about it.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “You mentioned your old friend Fedor, he lost on Saturday night to Dan Henderson, and you said in the…”

DANA WHITE: “It’s not like I hate Fedor or I have this hatred toward Fedor or anything else. it’s just… you know, you and lots of other media people who bought into the myth despite the facts and, you know, calling this guy the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, the number one Heavyweight in the world, when the guys who actually deserved it, the guys like I always said that fight in this organization and fight the best in the world three times a year, deserve those accolades.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “I wasn’t saying he was the best, ever, I was saying he was the best at the time. Obviously, things have changed.”

DANA WHITE: “Which was insane.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “Matter of opinion, right?”

DANA WHITE: “No, it was insane. It was insane.”

At this point, Dana White does something that absolutely made me shake my head. He often trashes people on Sherdog and The Underground forums and yet, in a classic case of projection, the UFC boss whips out a piece of paper with the list of all of the opponents Fedor has fought since 2003. He then starts reading this list and trashing Fedor some more.

DANA WHITE: “You got these delusional freaks on the Internet and on, you know, coming on my Twitter, ‘you disrespect the greatest fighter of all time.’ Listen, you guys have been living the myth too long. And if you can’t wake up and at least read the facts and what the facts are. These are the same people that believe that a guy is pulling the Sun and the Chariot over the fucking Earth. It’s over, man. It’s not that I don’t like Fedor but there are guys out here who deserve the credit that you guys were trying to build up and give this guy. He was so fun for you guys because he wasn’t in the UFC, which I think was his big downfall, too. You know when all this hype was going on, come in and fight the best in the world and we’ll find out. BUT THEY REFUSED TO DO THAT. No matter what offer was made to these guys and how much money he was offered, he refused to come into the UFC and fight the best.

“I don’t know, do you guys want to see him fight again? Should I get him a Welterweight to fight next? Would that excite you guys? Maybe I’ll get a good Welterweight in Strikeforce to fight him now.”

Topics: Media, MMA, StrikeForce, UFC, Zach Arnold | 30 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

30 Responses to “Dana White on booking Fedor: “It’s like having your promotion carried by Kimbo Slice””

  1. Zach Arnold says:

    Comments are now on. Don’t know why they were ‘off.’ Sorry about that.

  2. 45 Huddle says:

    1) The line about finding a Welterweight for Fedor is very funny.

    2) That’s just a low blow by comparing Fedor to Kimbo.

    3) What Joe Silva said was TRUE. It might come across as a dig, but it’s true. For years people put down the level of competition in the UFC for what was happening in Japan. Only to find out that Japan was a lot of smoke and mirrors….

  3. Steve4192 says:

    “In other words, he isn’t going to spend time building up women’s MMA”

    Why should he?

    Dana is under no obligation to foster women’s MMA. He is absolutely correct that there is no depth. Just look at the current rankings for the divisions Strikeforce employs.

    Liz Carmouche is ranked #4 at 135 with zero meaningful wins. The only reason she is ranked is because she did surprisingly well in her two losses.

    Sarah McMann is ranked #8 at 135 despite having zero top wins and only three pro fights. She is being ranked solely on the basis of her wrestling background.

    Amanda Nunes is ranked #2 at 145 based on her nationally televised beatdown of a one-fight noob.

    Julia Budd, the aforementioned one-fight noob, is now 1-2 and ranked #10 at 145 on the strength of ….. her washboard abs.

    Ronda Rousey is ranked #5 at 145 despite having no quality wins and very little experience. Much like Sarah McMann at 135, Rousey is being ranked solely on the basis of her accomplishments in a different combat sport.

    Women’s MMA is pathetically shallow. I don’t blame Dana for wanting no part of it.

    • Jaosn Harris says:

      I am not one of those people that is anti women’s MMA as a whole, but you’re right, in fact, the rankings were even worse than I thought.

      And while the fights are very entertaining, the skill level is local show at best. It’s entertaining to go watch King of the Cage, but I don’t pretend these guys are elite level. Women’s MMA is at about that talent level, and it shows.

      Give it a few years, and maybe the level of competition will rise, but until they can at least fill a top 5 with decent competitors, it should probably stay on the small show.

  4. Kalle says:

    3, bullshit. There were a lot of sketchy fights in Japan, Fedor vs Zuluzinho comes to mind, but just to pick the obvious examples Shogun and Rampage became UFC champions after making the transition. When the UFC sent Chuck Liddell over in 2003 he was the best they had to offer and Rampage beat him, just like he’d beat him four years later.

    And while Fedor ruled Pride the UFC championship belt was held by Tim Sylvia and ,briefly, by Andrei Arlovski. While their performance against Fedor years later isn’t the same as a fight in their primes I still think it’s a good indication that the quality of heavyweight fighters in the UFC was in no way better than those in Pride. And hell, those calling Fedor and oversized LHW tend to momentarily forget that Randy Couture used to be the UFC HW champion.

    • edub says:

      “When the UFC sent Chuck Liddell over in 2003 he was the best they had to offer and Rampage beat him, just like he’d beat him four years later.”

      Kinda like how Wanderlei went to Pride and became “the best” there after losing to Belfort and Tito in the UFC.

      Fedor was the best HW in the world for a long time. The argument will always be made about how he should have gone to the UFC when PRIDE got bought out. However, he fought pretty much the same guys outside of the UFC (Tim and Andrei) that he would have fought there, besides maybe Couture or another rematch with Nog. Mir was still rehabbing from his motorcycle injury, and didn’t look 100% til 2008 IMO. So yes, the HW roster in the UFC was a lot shallower then PRIDE’s.

      But PRIDE has been dead for years, and the winner write’s the story. So we will be hearing about how overrated everyone in Japan was because Zuffa obviously can’t let the war go.

      BTW, I do think the LHWs in the UFC were better than PRIDE’s. Chuck, Randy, and Tito > Wanderlei, Rampage, and Shogun IMO.

      • Jaosn Harris says:

        As a huge PRIDE fan during the era, they had a much better HW division, a comparable LHW division, and nothing on most of the smaller divisions compared to UFC. But HW’s are where the $$ is.

  5. Stel says:

    Lol at crazy Dana…I believe he said something like” we bought sf because we need to put on more fights, we need more fighters”
    Now Silva and Dana seem to agree that…”the best fighters fight the best all the time”
    So Dana cuts some of the best fighters like Fedor and Overeem.

    Dana should say…”the fighters that I pick to fight in the ufc will fight SOME of the fighters we consider to be the best”

    • Jason Harris says:

      Fedor lost 3 in a row and has pretty much fallen out of the top 10. I’m a fan, but there are two real questions:

      – How is he justifying 1.5M a fight coming off of 3 straight losses?
      – Considering he lost to a guy from a division below him, who do they book for Fedor next? Are they going to pay him $1.5M to fight Chad Griggs?

      The game has caught up to Fedor and unfortunately he refuses to adapt to it. But when he’s commanding a superstar paycheck and can’t hang in a superstar fight, what do you do with him? Book him freakshow fights for old time’s sake? I don’t want to see Fedor in that, and neither does anyone else.

      Overeem is Overeem. They have a scheduling conflict with him, he decides to go fight a scrub in Holland instead, so they send him packing. I don’t think it’s unheard of that he’ll be back, but I’d also like to see him in an MMA fight against someone decent where he doesn’t look straight awful like the Werdum fight.

      • Jonathan Snowden says:

        It’s amazing that you could read this blog, one of the smartest in MMA, and actually believe that Overeem and the UFC parted ways because of a “scheduling conflict.”

  6. ergface says:

    The arrogance on display leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I’m not a particular fan of Fedor or GG yet how UFC & DW are going about this all just disturbs me. That they can behave in these gross ways and feed fans specious excuses is indeed the fault of the ‘press’ But then I always presume the worst about the backrooms of any fight sport, and no aspect of the UFC has ever really aimed to be classy.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      What have they done wrong with Fedor Emelianenko?

      If Fedor had been a UFC fighter and was stopped 3 times in a row like that, Dana White would have asked him to retire. The SAME way he asked Chuck Liddell to retire multiple times. The same way he asked Wanderlei Silva retire. Dana White is not in the business of letting fighters obviously past their best years taking repeated beating for the sake of it. And he has been very consistent (although not perfect) when it comes to that.

      And Golden Glory has had a long standing reputation as being just as slimey as M-1. The fact that Zuffa has having a hard time dealing with them is not a shock, and is more just confirmation of how bad GG is. GG screwed around with Scott Coker for years. They can’t bully Zuffa.

      • Zack says:

        Or he could’ve lost 3 times in a row then got a main event like Dan Hardy.

        • Jason Harris says:

          Hardy isn’t requiring $1.5M a fight and co-promotion.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          Dan Hardy got outwrestled in 2 of those 3 losses. Which is a big difference between getting stopped 3 times in a row, and 2 of those times taking some abuse to the head.

          Or even Tito Ortiz, who hadn’t won in years, but wasn’t getting KO’d easily and was still competitive with guys like Forrest Griffin.

          Dana White has cut fighters for 3 fights in a row. But he absolutely wants them to stop fighting when they look as bad as Liddell, Silva, or Fedor do…. He doesn’t want a part of that….

  7. Light23 says:

    “When people in MLB talk about Matsui reaching the 500 HR mark, you don’t hear them trash Japanese baseball and get so personally worked up about it. Yes, they don’t put Japanese baseball on the same level as MLB, but you don’t hear the venomous vitriol coming out of anyone’s mouth like you do when Dana White talks about the Fedors and Overeems of the world. I don’t understand this complex he has.”

    In MMA they put Fedor way above the UFC. He was the P4P king, the best fighter in the world, the GOAT. If you criticized him people looked at you like you had two heads.

  8. sallyfields says:

    “What Joe Silva said was TRUE. It might come across as a dig, but it’s true. For years people put down the level of competition in the UFC for what was happening in Japan. Only to find out that Japan was a lot of smoke and mirrors….”

    Bullshit. No one ever “found out” that Japan was alot of smoke and mirrors. The fact that you can even claim something like that just shows that you have NO IDEA what you are talking about. Quinton, Rua, Nog, and Anderson ALL came from Pride and became UFC champs…How exactly was it smoke and mirrors? You are so full of shit youre about to explode.

    “If Fedor had been a UFC fighter and was stopped 3 times in a row like that, Dana White would have asked him to retire. The SAME way he asked Chuck Liddell to retire multiple times.”

    Again, total bullshit. Lidell lost 5 of his last 6, and was KTFO 4 of those times.. Thats not at all similar to Fedor being subbed, stopped on a swollen eye, and being TKO’d. Not the same AT ALL. Plus if you think Dana wouldnt have kept him on after those losses if he was in the UFC, you are lying to yourself.

    And as someone said earlier… this weekend is a main even of Evans vs. Ortiz!!! For god’s sake..and they cut Fedor and Overeem! What a joke. You’d defend Dana White even if he was a baby-killing Nazi.

  9. sallyfields says:

    Furthermore, Fedor was defeated in two of those fights by Top 10 HWs who had huge size advantages… Not the same as Liddell being KTFO by feather-fisted Evans..

  10. smoogy says:

    Joe Silva is a riot. When researching Akiyama’s amazing run in Japan, did it get overlooked that he was knocked the hell out in his biggest fight?

  11. EJ says:

    “What was remarkable about the comments made by both men is the insecurity & paranoia reeking from both men.”

    Funny I didn’t read any of that from their comments the only thing I read was the blunt truth. I get why that angers a certain faction of mma fans who believed the hype and myths about Pride and JMMA. But it should be clear by now that Dana and Joe have been right about this and for the most part it gets proven that way time after time.

    • edub says:

      It goes both ways:

      For every Gonzaga crushing Cro Cop there is a Nog beating Couture. There’s Rampage and Shogun’s KO of Liddell, then there is Griffin subbing Shogun. As Brock Lesnar fought veterans and great fighters in pretty much every fight of his career, Cain Velasquez fought Denis Stojnic and Brad Morris 2 out of the first three fights of his UFC tenure.

      The UFC is the best organization because most of their fights put the best against the best (or something similar). But it doesn’t happen all the time.

  12. bgg1175 says:

    Fedor loos to Hendo was not a knock out. If u view the tape, and because Herb Dean called it so quick you gotta pause and slow down, you clearly see he never stopped moving. Though I knew that from the start, I read online comments about Dana White pulling the strings on a Fedor loss by having his personal favorite ref call the match. After seeing he was lying about Coenens method of payment, just to justify her release, which helps him cutdown on the women fighters in Strikeforce and therefore help him eliminate the womens competition altogether, I think its highly likely White was involved. That shows he will manipulate events and outright lie, to control the direction of MMA. He obviously really dislikes Fedor, Fedor loses to a smaller guy, gets cut from Strikeforce, then Dana, who doesnt want to say anything bad about Fedor, because he likes him, has an Anti-Fedor sermon prepared, complete with notes about his career. Its amazing, how many things seem to be just happening, that play right into the hands of Dana White. Its very obvious Dana White wants to destroy Fedors ability to fight again. The ratings for Fedors fights were huge. That means big money. What kind of promoter would want to just throw that away? Unless it was for his own personal goal to satisfy a need for payback. Another thing thats happening, right in front of everyone, is Dana White is targeting another of his hated entities, and that is Showtime. Dana White just happens to hate Showtime and by moving the biggest draw from Strikeforce to the UFC, or by cutting them, hes forcing Showtime to either eat low ratings or just drop Strikeforce, freeing him to dismantle it completely, and of course, strike a blow to another perceived target. So Dana Whites targets, Showtime, Fedor, Strikeforce, Womens MMA, all seem to be having such a stream of bad luck recently. Of those targets, only 2 made missteps to played directly into Whites hands:Fedor and Strikeforce. Fedor was overconfident. He let his body lose muscle and gain fat. Let his skills slide and never learned new ones. Strikeforce played with people like Overeem and just didnt put out good fights. I hope people wake up and see what Whites doing to MMA. He’s effectively turning what was a sport, into nothing more than a one act show. And it seems the “World of MMA” keeps turning into Dana Whites personal playground!

  13. Larry Craig says:

    Did anyone else find it hilarious that when dana was putting over Brock Lesnar (in comparison to fedor) he referenced Heath Herring as one of the tough ‘ufc quality’ heavyweights that Brock had faced….. meanwhile Fedor smashed herring when herring was actually a top 10… maybe even top 5 heavyweight. That fight was actually very meaningful at the time…. unlike brock beating a shot herring who was way past his prime and a shell of his former self…

    EJ… really? Didn’t know you were such a fanboy… It is a truly undeniable fact that Pride was superior to UFC from 2000 to 2007.. It is a statistical fact… look up consensus rankings from that time period and see where the top independently ranked fighters fought.

  14. RST says:

    “It’s like having your promotion carried by Kimbo Slice”

    Like Vastly overpriced, and exponentially underpreforming?

    I could see that comparison.

    Not as far as their individual value to MMA (Fed is/was the greatest), but as far as the investment and return ratio under Fed/M1’s current strikeforce extortion.

    Plus Dana did Fedor a favor.

    Would you rather watch him pimped into a smudge of goo by his mind control handlers, or just put out to pasture already to worship his god?!

    He gave up on competing 5-6 years ago.

  15. ouspensky says:

    You know what would be best right now? let Bellator sign that bum Fedor by copromoting with those mobsters from M-1global. That way when he loses againg Bellator will go down and we can finally get Eddie Alvarez in the UFC when they buy Bellator. win win 😀

  16. Stel says:

    LOl at nutty stupid Dana, Kimbo on TUF doubled the previous peak TUF rating! Dropping Kimbo was one of Dana’s many stupid ego based decisions that have been detrimental to the ufc, and its subsequent enjoyment by fans.

  17. […] Now that Emelianenko has lost three fights in a row, many are saying that recent events have proved that people like UFC President Dana White were correct in saying that Emelianenko was overrated and that Emelianenko “sucks.” White has recently gone so far as to say that building a mixed martial arts promotion around Emelianenko is “like having your promotion carried by Kimbo Slice.” […]


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