In a new interview with Ariel Helwani in New York, UFC president Dana White discusses a number of the big talking points relating to both the UFC and Strikeforce.
See the keynotes below and scroll down to watch the interview for yourselves courtesy of MMAfighting.com.
– Rich Franklin was offered Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 133 after his original fight with Lil Nog was called off, but the former middleweight champion turned it down saying that he only wants to compete against higher profile fighters at this stage in his career. Dana says he understands Franklin’s position and doesn’t blame him.
White simply doesn’t know who Franklin will fight now, or when, but it sounds as if they are keen to get him in sooner rather than later given that he’s healthy and coming off a full training camp.
– Dana claims he doesn’t hate Lyoto Machida and isn’t mad at him for demanding “Anderson Silva money” in order to step in as a late replacement against Rashad Evans, but he does admit to being disappointed by his actions.
As to how much Anderson Silva is getting paid White doesn’t go into details but confirms that the middleweight champion gets “a sh!t load of money” and indicates it’s far more than the basic salary ($200,000) that is officially released after his fights.
– Moving on to Tito Ortiz, White’s assessment is that he and the former champion will always have their issues given their personalities, but right now he’s impressed with both his recent victory over Ryan Bader, and the fact that he did step up to the plate to fight Rashad Evans on short notice.
White also confirms that Ortiz didn’t ask for anything extra financially in order to take the bout. It’s also Dana’s belief that due to recent events Ortiz is now even more popular and has more goodwill towards him from the fans that he did back in his heyday when he held the belt.
– It was Alistair Overeem’s decision to pull out of the Strikeforce heavyweight GP according to Dana. He also denies that they tried to strong-arm or bully him into taking the fight, pointing out that it was Showtime’s decision to hold the fight in September.
Interestingly White also mentions that Overeem’s camp Golden Glory have now contacted him directly as of yesterday and are trying to sort something out. He doesn’t make it exactly clear what he means by that however, whether it may be an attempt to get Overeem back in the tournament, or something else.
“We wanna see if we can get this Overeem deal done and get him fighting…we’ll see what happens.” is as much as he says on the matter.
He does however deny that there’s any plans afoot to try to bring Overeem to the UFC.
– White’s thoughts on Overeem wanting to fight the Klitschko brothers in the boxing ring – “I think it’s a really, really bad idea.”
“His hands didn’t look that good against Werdum. You think you’re going to go out there and box the Klitschko’s?”
– Giving his thoughts on the David Haye Vs Wladimir Klitschko fight, he says he likes Haye “very much”, but essentially thought the fight was rubbish.
– There’s been talk of HBO being a potential home for the UFC recently after their current President left, but White doesn’t seem to think anything is going to happen, and says it’s unlikely that HBO are now going to be keen to embrace MMA.
– Dana confirms he met with WWE head honcho Vince McMahon earlier this week, though he doesn’t reveal exactly why, simply stating, “I wanted to bounce some stuff off him.”