Find out what Dana White has to say ahead of the big FOX Sports 1 launch this weekend which includes the ‘UFC Fight Night 26: Shogun Vs Sonnen’ event on Saturday night.
We’ve got full notes from his conversation below and you can scroll down to watch the interview for yourselves courtesy of MMAfighting.com.
– White feels that politicians are being used as “puppets” by the Culinary Union to try to attack the UFC.
– He isn’t concerned by Chael Sonnen’s recent losing streak, pointing out that he lost two of the guys (Anderson Silva and Jon Jones) considered to be the best in the world.
He also laughs off the idea of Sonnen as a ref for the upcoming Silva Vs Weidman rematch, saying he’s “deulusional” if he things Nevada State Athletic Commissioner Keith Keizer would sanction that.
– White doesn’t believe that ‘Shogun’ is someone who needs to think about retiring any time soon despite being in some tough wars lately and losing three of his last five fights. In fact White claims the Brazilian is still in the title hunt at 205lbs.
– He does believe Alistair Overeem’s reputation has been tarnished a bit due to his suspension last year and KO loss to ‘Bigfoot’ Silva, but he firmly believes that if he produces a big performance on Saturday night then that’ll all be forgotten and he’ll be right back on top again.
– Dana doesn’t believe that it’s strange that Conor McGregor is getting so much attention so early in his UFC career, saying that some people just have that “star quality” and pointing to Ronda Rousey as someone else who’s in a similar position.
– The UFC is planning a return to Ireland next year which White says is largely down to their UK head Gary Cook.
– White defends the UFC’s recent deal with BT Sport in the UK, saying that BT are just as eager as FOX to build the sport and will deliver lots of programming to fans. He also makes note of BT sport coming to an agreement with Virgin Media that allows another 3 million viewers to access the channel.
– White admits that Urah Hall does have a lot of pressure on his shoulders to emerge victorious on Saturday night after his TUF hype train was derailed with a loss in his UFC debut.
– He’s not overly enthused about Urijah Faber’s recent claim that he wants ‘superfights’, pointing out that you only tend to use that term for champions – guys like GSP, Jon Jones and Anderson Silva. He doesn’t think Faber’s in that category at this moment in time. That doesn’t mean he isn’t interested in the idea of Faber going up to 145lbs to fight some guys there though.
– The UFC president isn’t worried that Ronda Rousey might make good on her claim that she’ll retire in two years. He firmly believes she’s a fighter at heart, and believes that she can’t make as good money in the movies as she will in the Octagon.
– White is not disappointed about not being able to sign Eddie Alvarez, but rather happy that the fighter is able to continue his career after his legal dispute with Bellator threatened to completely derail his career. He describes Bellator’s actions throughout the situation as “disgusting and embarassing.”
– He confirms they would be interested in talking to Bellator welterweight champion Ben Askren who’s current contract has just expired.
– White thinks BEllator CEO Bjorn Rebney has focused a lot of attention on taking pot shots at the UFC as a way to deflect attention away from having to talk about their own ‘Rampage’ Vs Ortiz PPV fight since that’s a hard fight to promote given the two fighter’s losing streaks.
He thinks Rebney should shut up and focus on his own business, describing the current Bellator situation as “a disaster”. He jokes that his video blogs are pulling a bigger audience than the ‘Fight Master’ show.
– White’s solely focused on Saturday’s FOX Sports 1 launch and hasn’t given thought to the UFC’s 20th anniversary show yet.
– On the ‘Mayhem’ Miller situation, White feels that he’s a fighter who’s always been “not normal” and admits he’s never been a fan of his. He doesn’t particularly like the idea of Miller being continually associated with the UFC, pointing out that in over forty fights he only competed in the Octagon three times and failed to pick up a win.