Dana White is a very busy man this week as he prepares for UFC On FOX on Saturday night, but he still found time to chat with MMAfighting’s Ariel Helwani after yesterday’s pre-fight press conference.
Check out keynotes from their conversation below and scroll down to watch the full interview for yourselves.
– White has confessed this week that he’s feeling unusually nervous about Saturday’s event and when asked about he has to go as far back as his first ever UFC event as president to remember the last time he felt this way.
He feels more nervous about this fight than the TUF 1 Finale between ‘Bonnar Vs Griffin’ which up until this point was considered the most important fight in the history of the UFC, noting that on that occasion they didn’t have a choice as to who was fighting whereas this weekend they have chosen the match-up they think can deliver an exciting fight for the fans.
There’s also added pressure in that this is their first event on FOX and therefore there’s a number of changes to the pre-fight presentation of the show which requires a lot of rehearsal from Thursday onwards to ensure everything runs smoothly.
– Despite FOX’s influence on the event, when it comes down to actual fight time, including the walk-ins, that will look exactly like it always does at a UFC event.
– Dana says that he’ll be joined by Brock Lesnar and Alistair Overeem during the FOX broadcast. Lesnar and Overeem will also be attending a press conference for UFC 141 prior to Friday’s weigh-ins to promote their upcoming fight in December.
– The advertising for this event on FOX sold out very quickly and according to Dana the network were happy with how it worked out. (Incidentally, though White says he doesn’t know who bought the ad space elsewhere it’s been revealed that big names like Dodge, The U.S Marines, Warner Bros and 20th Century Fox will appear).
– White appears to confirm that Cain Velasquez did get injured at one point during his training camp, but that it was nothing serious and didn’t put the fight in any danger of being canceled.
– The UFC president oversaw the production of the UFC Primetime special for the event and says he’s very happy with how it turned out, putting more of an emphasis on storytelling.
– According to White he’s tried to build the UFC in a way that would replicate the feelings he had being a boxing fan growing up and being able to watch major fights free on network TV is a big part of that.
– The pay-per-view model is still an important aspect of the UFC’s business going forward, but to balance things out there will be plenty of free fights. Next year there will be 12-14 PPV’s, but in total there’s be 34 events.
– He stresses that the co-main event between Ben Henderson and Clay Guida is a big deal for the lightweight division even though it won’t be shown on FOX live, but he’s going to make a point to get that bout on television ASAP (he doesn’t say how or when though).
– White was sad to hear of boxer Joe Frazier’s death and calls him one of the greats. He had an opportunity to meet him last year and enjoyed his company.