March might have been a quiet month for the UFC in terms of events, but Dana White’s still been as busy as ever, flying back and forth between the USA and Brazil to appear on their respective editions of The Ultimate Fighter, yet he’s still also found time to sit down and do an in-depth interview with Scandanavian site MMAnytt.se.
Check out our keynotes from that conversation below and scroll down to watch the video for yourselves (it’s in three parts and we’ve only got the first two here so check back tomorrow for updates).
Dana’s Plans For The Next 5 Years:
He says the next two years are all about getting the FOX deal running smoothly on ‘big’ FOX, FX and Fuel TV, in terms of developing new programming, fine-tuning existing material like the new TUF: Live show, plus continuing to spread awareness that the UFC is now on FX. He says it’s a bigger job than you’d imagine to get that message across.
In the next five years he expects everything to be plain sailing as far as the FOX deal goes, and points out that this also effects the rest of the world’s coverage of the sport since the programming they do on FOX and it’s subsiduaries will be distributed worldwide.
He also sees MMA finally being licensed in New York and other countries that they currently have licensing issues with such as France. In general he expects to have the international markets “pretty dialed in”.
Dana’s Workload / New International Editions Of TUF:Live
Dana reveals he’s already logged in a mind-boggling 40,000 miles travelling this year in what’s going to be his busiest year ever, juggling destinations as far afield as Brazil, Australia, Sweden and Japan.
He shrugs off the concerns of his friends, family and work colleagues who say he can’t keep this up, stating that he’s already set his mind to doing this for the next two years non-stop.
Speaking of workload – The Ultimate Fighter is taking up a lot of his time recently, and that’s only set to continue.
He says that new editions of TUF are in the works for India, Australia, UK, Philippines and Canada and that he’ll appear on all of them, doing the first two and last two episodes of each.
Revealing a little tidbit from the TUF: Brazil series which began airing last Sunday night, he says something happened during the show that forced him to be linked up via satellite to deal with it.
UFC: Sweden (AKA UFC On Fuel TV 2)
Dana says that they’ll definitely be back in Sweden, especially since they sold out tickets for this first event there in just three hours.
He’s never been to Sweden before, so he’ll visit for the first time on the night of the show, but due to his other commitments he’ll have to fly away again as soon as the show’s finished.
Swedish hero Alexander Gustafsson headlines the show and Dana says he’s definitely the real deal, noting that he had spoken to Forrest Griffin who had informed him that since Gustafsson’s been in Las Vegas training “has been kicking everyone’s ass!” and people are even afraid to spar with him now.
White implies that he thinks that Thiago Silva is a better opponent than Lil Nog to fight Gustafsson.
UFC 147: Rio
Talking about UFC 147 which will be held in a soccer stadium in Rio with a rematch between Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen headlining, White bodly claims that it will be one of “the sporting events of the year”, rivalling the best the NFL, NBA, Soccer, Formula 1, etc have to offer.
White confirms the venue can hold 80,000 people. That could lead to security fears for Sonnen who’s public enemy No.1 in Brazil, but while they’ll take appropriate precautions, White doesn’t believe anything will happen to him.
On Woman’s MMA
White admits that in the past he’s never been a fan of woman’s MMA because there just wasn’t enough talented fighters and you often just ended up seeing lopsided mismatches.
However, he does say that the recent Ronda Rousey Vs Miesha Tate fight changed his mind. He admits he was excited to see that fight, and the two ladies performed like proper mixed martial artists with genuine skill and talent.
Nevertheless, he’s still not rushing to get female MMA fights in the UFC as he still doesn’t feel there’s enough of a talent pool out there to create a competitive division, and he fears that soon it’s going to be difficult to find suitable opponents for the likes of Rousey.
If more fighters of the talent level of Rousey and Tate do crop up in the future though as the sport continues to grow around the world then he would certainly consider it, and he hope that does happen.