Dana White’s a notorious workaholic and so just a day after Christmas he was back promoting this weekend’s UFC 155 event in Las Vegas.
Read the keynotes from his latest interview with MMAFighting’s Ariel Helwani below and scroll down to watch the video in full.
– White says he wasn’t aware before the first fight between Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos at ‘UFC On FOX 1’ that both men had serious injuries.
Even if the two men are 100% this time around White still believes anything could happen when the heavyweights step into the Octagon, so he can’t guarantee it won’t be another quick fight like their last encounter, but he’s hoping it’ll be the kind of war we all want to see between two of the division’s best.
– Dana denies he was overly critical of Velasquez after the fight for his gameplan. He believes he was just giving his opinion as a fan.
– Regarding Chris Leben’s return from suspension, White says he’s someone who’s fought his demons his entire life and is likely to continue to have his good and bad moments, but he cares about him and hopes that there’s better times ahead.
– Todd Duffee was released from the UFC due to what White perceived to be an attitude problem a few years ago, and while he finally makes his return on Saturday night the UFC president admits he’s not sure whether the fighter has changed his ways.
Complaints over his financial situation were at the heart of Duffee’s issue’s last time out, but White feels that as a promoter the UFC treats their fighters better than anyone, even paying money out when it’s not contractually owed through bonuses, etc.
Boxing promoters believe the UFC underpays their fighters, but White retorts that they must be doing something right because even the likes of Oscar De La Hoya and Bernard Hopkins now publically praise the promotion for what they are doing and are looking to incorporate some of their ideas into the boxing model with things like ‘Fight Of The Night’ bonuses.
– Despite the fact that the UFC are now on network TV and boxing events are starting to crop up on the major networks again too, White still believes that the PPV market will always continue, especially for blockbuster fights. He can see a network paying to have certain big fights air on free-TV, but is doubtful they’d be looking to air them all.
– Dana has always predicted that the future for the sport is on the internet, but for the time being he believes that TV is still has a major presence and is going to be around for a long time.
– he admits it’s been “an odd year” for the company, pointing in particular to the number of injuries to major fighters that have taken place in 2012, leading to a large number of headline fights being canceled.
Nevertheless, he believes that if ever you needed proof that the UFC was going to be around for a long time it was in the way they managed to pull through that adversity and come out the other side.
– Despite having to completely cancel UFC 151, White actually points to a poor night of fights at UFC 149 as the lowest point of the year, admitting that on that occasion they didn’t deliver for the fans, and it’s something he hopes to make amends for in the future. He feels that apart from that they put on good shows all year long though.
– White is still waxing lyrical about the UFC’s relationship with FOX, saying it couldn’t be going better.
– White is going to credential Sherdog.com again – ending a long feud he’s had with the popular website.
Despite that, he still holds a grudge against two of the site’s former reporters Josh Gross and Loretta Hunt who he describes as ‘bad people’.
– White bites his tongue when it comes to talking about Strikeforce’s demise, but it’s clear he’s annoyed that Showtime execs wouldn’t let him get involved as much as he wanted to over there.
He says he’s happy to have the Strikeforce fighters over in the UFC and that they get to remove himself from all the issues that have happened with that promotion over the past year.
– Despite a number of forthcoming UFC On FX / Fuel TV events being held in international destinations, White says that’s not always going to be the case from now on, but he does like that even when they go to these countries that one way or another fans in the U.S are given a chance to watch them one way or another.
– The UFC will return to Abu Dhabi for another event, but there’s nothing set in stone yet.
– White’s due to get an award from the Trinity College in Ireland next year and he jokes that he’ll go out for a drink with the Irish fans afterwards to apologize for not having brought an event there for a long time. From the sounds of things the country isn’t on the map for the UFC in 2013 either though.
– January 15th is when Dana will be going for surgery to help his battle with Meniere’s disease. Remarkably he plans to be in Brazil two days later for a UFC event.