Dana White didn’t host the UFC 139 pre-fight press conference yesterday, but nevertheless Ariel Helwani still managed to catch up with the UFC president that night to discuss all the big talking points of the moment including the numbers emerging from the ‘UFC On FOX event.
See our keynotes below and scroll down to watch the full interview for yourself courtesy of MMAfighting.
– Dana reveals that he’s not feeling well which is why he didn’t attend yesterday’s presser. He puts his illness down to the stress of the ‘UFC On FOX’ event.
– He is relieved that the UFC’s FOX debut is now over, but he realises that the hard work is still to come and claims that, “the next two years will be more important than the last ten.”
– Regarding a relative lack of buzz surrounding UFC 139 despite a solid fight card, White points to the fact that they are in a “weird transition period” at the moment as they prepare to leave Spike TV for FOX, and that means that they are not getting the same promotional coverage on Spike as they normally would.
– Dana says he has had a “weird relationship” with Dan Henderson. He says that he likes him and they get along, but they can also butt heads from a business perspective and that’s why ‘Hendo’ moved to Strikeforce for a while.
– Regarding the possibility of another UFC star moving to a different promotion for better money in the future, White says it’s entirely possibile and points to Viacom’s recent purchase of Bellator, meaning they now have a lot of money to play with.
White also claims that he’s anticipating another influx of MMA promotions rising up in the near future. While he acknowledges that many of those who have tried in the past have failed, he points out that it’s a different ballgame once networks start getting involved.
– White says Henderson could potentially fight for the title at either 185lbs or 205lbs if he could win on Saturday, ‘Shogun’ could also be pushing for another shot at the light-heavyweight belt.
– Wanderlei Silva is someone who White likes and respects and he doesn’t want to see him keep getting knocked out. If he gets stopped by Cung Le then White indicates he would prevent him from fighting in the UFC again.
– White is a fan of Le, saying he’s both a nice person and a great fighter.
– The UFC president has no problem continuing to give Urijah Faber title shots, stating that it’s hard not to when he keeps beating top contenders and is still a great fighter.
– White wouldn’t have changed anything about the ‘UFC On FOX’ broadcast if he could do it again, describing it as, “a beautiful sport’s production.”
He adds that there was a lot of things going on behind the scenes that fans might not have been aware of – such as people picketing outside of UFC HQ on the day of the fight calling for the sport to be banned.
As the UFC continues to grow he says that they get more and more enemies.
With that in mind what pleases White is that the event went of without a hitch and that there were no complaints post-event.
– There were pictures after the FOX event that showed workers painting the blood off the mat prior to the main event. When asked about it White reveals that was a decision made since they were only showing one fight live and therefore didn’t want the audience wondering why there was already blood on the mat.
He shrugs off the idea that FOX were concerned about viewers seeing blood, pointing out that if that was the case they would never have signed the deal with the UFC in the first place.
– On his analyst role at the show he points out he’s a fight fan and loves to talk about fights. It was chaotic behind the scenes though with White having to run down to present the belt to the new champion and then run back up to do the post-fight analysis.
– Dana confirms UFC On FOX 2 will be taking place on January 28th in Chicago.
White says with a broad smile that there will be “two great fights that a lot of people will be interested in” on the card, but won’t say who. He hasn’t even told FOX yet, he’ll do so on Monday.
He confirms there won’t be a title fight involved though, but overall there will be more than two fights on the live broadcast…possibly four.
– Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen will fight, but White doesn’t have a date for it yet.
– White saw Sonnen’s controversial interview on ‘Off The Record’ in which the fighter walked off the set, and he states that Sonnen is “nutty as hell” and that it was “very weird.”