Dana White held his customary pre-fight interview with MMAfighting’s Ariel Helwani yesterday and you can read keynotes from their conversation and watch it in full for yourselves below.
– White admits he had “a little bit of a meltdown” in the immediate aftermath of GSP announcing he wanted to take some time out following his win over Johny Hendricks. He doesn’t care about the backlash he received for his comments though. He claims the main reason he was upset was due to the officiating in that fight.
– Regarding GSP, he feels that some of what he said during his “meltdown” has been taken out of context and he points out that he never said that the welterweight champion couldn’t retire if he wanted to. He says he’s always been supportive of the Canadian star and if he wanted to retire then he wouldn’t stand in his way. He does point out however, that St.Pierre never actually said that he wanted to retire, just that he wanted time off.
– White would like to see the rules of the sport updated to allow the commission to review a decision and overturn it if on reflection it is decided that it was the wrong one.
– He admits that there is probably more pressure on the challenger Joseph Benavidez than the champion ‘Mighty Mouse’ in the main event as he tries to finally get his hands on a title for both himself and the Team Alpha Male camp in his own hometown.
– Urijah Faber says he doesn’t need a UFC title to cement his legacy, but White completely disagrees. He thinks that’s just an easy way for Faber to take the pressure off himself.
– Chad Mendes and Nik Lentz had some heated exchanges during the presser yesterday and white enjoyed the attitude both men displayed.
– White admits there’s not the same amount of sponsorship money flying around as there used to be due to the continued bad economy, and he says that the UFC is looking at ways they can help.
– White wasn’t in attendance for the Antonio Silva Vs Mark Hunt fight, but says he was watching in San Diego and ended up, “literally jumping around the room like a maniac” during what he describes as, “the sickest heavyweight fight I’ve ever seen.” He even says that for days afterwards when he woke up in the morning the first thing he thought about was that fight, and he jokes that he’s been texting Hunt since the fight like a little girl talking to Justin Beiber. He says he’s in awe of both fighters.
– The UFC doesn’t own or fund Invicta FC and White says he has nothing to do with them, but he’s keen to see that the all-female promotion continues to exist. He says he cut a deal with them to bring on-board 11 of their fighters to form their new strawweight division, but he won’t be drawn on exactly what that entailed financially.
– White claims that he never asked for a meeting with Ben Askren, it was the other way around. The UFC indicated they were interested in signing him and Askren has since signed with ONE FC and been critical of White. The UFC president took that as evidence that he wasn’t the kind of team player they’d want in the UFC anyway.
He laughs at Askren claiming that he signed with ONE FC purely to go against White’s recommendations that he sign with World Series Of Fighting. He claims he couldn’t care less where the former Bellator champion goes, he just felt that there competition for him at WSOF whereas there isn’t any at promotions like Bellator and ONE FC (who he claims he didn’t even realize still existed).
– The UFC are currently doing lots of focus groups as they try to figure out the best pricing structure for their new online digital network. He says it’s going to be priced fairly and he’s excited about the great content that’s going to be on it.