In news that’ll come as no great surprise to MMA fans, UFC President Dana White has today opened fire on his rivals after Strikeforce: Nashville delivered a disappointing night of fights on CBS, capped of by a riot in the cage following the main event.
See below for White’s take on a number of topics related to last weekend’s event taken from an interview with Yahoo! Sports Kevin Iole.
On the Brawl at the event: “what you saw on CBS is an example of what you don’t want to see on national television. No one had control and that’s what happens.”
On UFC fighter Nate Diaz’s involvement: “Have you ever seen him do that at one of my shows?”
On CBS’s Involvement With Strikeforce: “Shame on CBS for this. They knew they should have been with us, but they went out and let those Showtime idiots talk them into going with Elite XC. Now, they’re stuck with a bush league, C-level promotion that will probably be out of business next month.”
On Strikeforce: “You never should gamble on fights. They bet on (Melvin) Manhoef, (that he would beat Robbie) Lawler. Lawler was very unhappy and they wanted to get rid of him, but it backfired because he knocked Manhoef out. Then they treated Shields like (expletive), let his contract expire and they put all their money on Dan Henderson. “Now, Shields destroys Henderson and look where they’re at. That’s not how you do business.”
On Gus Johnson’s on-air comment that ‘Sometimes these things happen in MMA”: “When have you seen anything remotely close to that happen at a UFC event? What kind of ridiculous commentary was that? That was an idiotic thing to say. And then he was yelling at them to stop, telling them they are on national television. That was just another example of how bush league they are.”
While sticking the boot into CBS and looking to belittle Strikeforce, it’s also clear from his comments that White is keen to distance the UFC from any backlash that occurs due to the riot at the event, seeking to portray the sports leading promotion as being above what happened.
To a certain extent there may be an element of truth to that idea, and that’s in no small part down to White himself – fighters know better than to get on his bad side because he won’t hesitate to pull the trigger.
At the same time, the reality is that unfortunately sometimes these things to do happen. CBS commentator Gus Johnson’s crucial mistake however was suggesting that it was specific to MMA. That’s not the case at all. Whether it’s boxing, soccer, American football or pretty much any other competitive sport you can think of – incidents like the brawl we witnessed on Saturday night can, and from time-to-time do occur.
The key for Strikeforce now is to do what those other sports have done after similar incidents – punish those involved to ensure that it’s understood that this kind of behavior isn’t acceptable, and that there will be consequences for those who break the rules.