There was a notable absentee from Last night’s Strikeforce: Tate Vs Rousey event, UFC president Dana White who earlier this year had vowed to take a firm grip of the reigns of the struggling promotion which was bought out by Zuffa last year.
After the event White revealed that the reason he wasn’t in attendance was down to a breakdown in his relationship with Showtime which will result in him now taking a backwards step from the promotion.
White had been looking to take control of the production side of the Strikeforce events in order to make changes to the show that he felt would improve it, and was even willing to miss Friday night’s ‘UFC On FX 2’ event to oversee the Tate Vs Rousey event, but it appears Showtime, who re-upped their TV deal with the organization at the start of the year, had other plans.
“I almost missed the first UFC fight in 11 years, and then I get the phone call from [Zuffa exec] Pete Dropick when I’m in Japan,” White tells MMAJunkie. “‘Yeah, listen, they’re not going to change pretty much any of the stuff you wanted.’ So I said, ‘F*ck them.’
Not taking kindly to the snub White has now vowed to wash his hands altogether of the promotion.
“I’ll never make that mistake again. UFC is what I am and where I should have been.”
Turning White against the promotion again doesn’t seem like the smartest move ever from Showtime and doesn’t bode particularly well for it’s long term future, but the UFC President insists that they will still honor their current TV deal with them.
While it’s disappointing news I also can’t help think that maybe it’s a good thing in some ways as White’s time is already stretched extremely thin as he deals with an increasingly hectic UFC schedule and still developing TV deal with FOX, and refocusing purely on the company that he helped build into the world’s leading MMA organization may work out for the best in the longer term.