Posts Tagged ‘Dana White’

Source: UFC talking to Anderson Silva about more than one superfight

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Anderson Silva

UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva has two bouts left on his existing UFC contract, and both could be superfights. [Tom Szczerbowski/US Presswire]

Three weeks ago, Georges St-Pierre returned from a 19-month absence and showed himself to be fully recovered from knee surgery with a gritty victory over Carlos Condit. Anderson Silva was cageside in Montreal that night to watch it all unfold … and to let it be known that he was interested in fighting the UFC welterweight champion.

Prior to that, however, when there was talk of the middleweight king taking on another belt holder, the speculation usually centered on the possibility of Silva stepping into the cage with light heavyweight champ Jon Jones.

So which superfight are we going to see?

Well, how about both?

A reliable source has told that Silva had a meeting scheduled with UFC president Dana White on Wednesday night to discuss superfights. Yes, that’s superfights, plural.

Silva’s manager, Ed Soares, confirmed that a meeting took place but would not say what was discussed. He would only reveal that “Anderson got a beautiful Bentley.”

That’s the same make of vehicle that was driven by Jones before the then-24-year-old wrecked it in a drunken crash in May.

Jones and Silva have said they would not fight, citing their friendship as well as concerns that they would be putting their legacies and endorsement deals at risk. But White has talked of staging a superfight in 100,000-seat Cowboys Stadium outside Dallas, which would make the bout a huge moneymaker for the UFC, with appropriately hefty fighter purses.

Might the gift of a Bentley be the first step in paving the way for the superfight of all superfights, with the UFC ensuring that Silva and family keep up with the Joneses?

– Jeff Wagenheim

  • Published On Dec 06, 2012
  • A new role for Dana White in promoting next weekend’s UFC fight card on Fox?

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    Dana White will do anything for a little cross-promotion of next weekend’s UFC on Fox event. Even if it renders him homeless.

    Of course, the UFC president isn’t really a homeless person. He just plays one on TV.

    During the Fox NFL Sunday pregame show on Sunday afternoon, there was a mildly humorous skit in which Rob Riggle — a comic who’ll never be confused for Rickles — portrays one of those scurrilous tipsters who try to entice bettors to pay for can’t-miss picks. Nudging along the guffaws are cameos by Richard Simmons and, at around the 1:50 mark of the video below, Dana White.

    Now, if it were anyone else playing the role that Riggle describes as “the man that lives outside my bank,” that would be the end of the story. But this is Dana White we’re talking about, and he’s always going to take things a step too far. So after a Fox Sports feed on Twitter sent out a picture of White, in character, sitting on a sidewalk holding a sign reading “PLEASE HELP!! NEED FOOD A.K.A. BOOZE,” and a few fans expressed their disapproval of the not-so-PC homelessness characterization on their own Twitter feeds, Dana couldn’t just let it go.

    He fired back. And fired back some more. Typical of the venom that White spewed: “People are such pussies these days it makes me SICK!!!”

    Oh, where have you gone, Dale Carnegie?

    – Jeff Wagenheim

  • Published On Dec 03, 2012
  • Reports: ‘Strikeforce: Champions’ event losing two of its three champions

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    Nate Marquardt (above) is the lone champion still fighting on the “Strikeforce: Champions” card that could represent the promotion’s swan song. (Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)

    Nothing is official and no one is commenting, but it’s an open secret that the Jan. 12 fight card in Oklahoma City will be the last for the snakebit folks at Strikeforce. But before they pack up the office, there’s still a little work to be done. Someone needs to find the Wite-Out and cover over an “s,” altering “Strikeforce: Champions” to “Strikeforce: Champion.”

    The former is the name given to the event when it was officially announced a couple of weeks ago. And the label fit, given that there would three championship fights packed onto the card, along with a bout featuring the champ of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix. Still, this seemed a bit like that big burst of colors and sounds and fanfare that comes at the end of a fireworks display.

    Actually, the only aspect of that fireworks analogy that works is the part about the end being near. There have been no bursts of colors lighting up the sky above Strikeforce venues lately. It’s been nothing but darkness, just dud after dud, with the last two events having been canceled and the promotion’s very existence being counted down as a matter of days.

    But Jan. 12 would at least allow the Scott Coker-led promotion to go out with a bang, with the three title fights (thus, “Champions”) and the heavyweight tussle showcasing local hero Daniel Cormier. This is Strikeforce, though, so you just knew something had to go wrong.

    First, lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez reportedly dropped off the card. There’s been no official confirmation, just a Nov. 16 report on the website of the Brazilian magazine Tatame and a vague comment that same day by UFC president Dana White, who said during an online chat with readers of the Montreal Gazette, “From what I’m hearing, and I don’t run Strikeforce, Melendez is hurt again.” Gilbert’s shoulder injury originally had forced him to pull out of a Sept. 22 defense against Pat Healy, and the loss of that main event led to the cancellation of the whole card.

    Then, on Saturday, the website MMA Corner reported that middleweight champ Luke Rockhold had suffered a wrist injury and his defense against Lorenz Lakrkin was off. The two were originally scheduled to go at it Nov. 3, but Luke injured that same wrist and the fight — as well as that entire card, too — was scratched. A disappointed Larkin gave us the closest thing that we’ve had to confirmation of the injury/cancellation report, sarcastically addressing White on Twitter: “Hey Dana, I hurt my right pinky toe, guess I can’t fight. Wish I started two years before I did so I could have skipped this [synonym for cat] era.”

    So now “Strikeforce: Champions” is down to a single champ, Nate Marquardt, who’ll defend his welterweight belt against Tarec Saffiedine. And of course there’s still Cormier, the event’s true draw for Okies. Before starting his ongoing beatdown of Strikeforce heavyweights, Daniel was an All-American and NCAA Division I runnerup wrestler at Oklahoma State. He went on to make two Olympic Games. He’ll face Dion Staring before moving over the UFC.

    But first Marquardt and especially Cormier are being fitted for head-to-toe bubble wrap. It’s in the Strikeforce supply closet, and this is likely the last chance to use it.

    – Jeff Wagenheim

  • Published On Nov 26, 2012
  • Dana White makes it official: Ronda Rousey is the UFC’s first female fighter

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    Ronda Rousey’s next match will be as a member of UFC. (Robert Beck/SI)

    MONTREAL — Ronda Rousey usually is the one doing the arm twisting. Did someone beat her at her own game to get her to finally comment on her job status?

    “Okay I admit it … I’m officially a UFC fighter,” Rousey wrote on Twitter on Friday afternoon, after more than a week of steering clear of the subject of a report that she had become the first female fighter in the promotion’s history. “So excited! Can’t wait to debut! Let Dana White know who you want my first opponent to be!”

    There’d been no arm twisting involved, actually, but White had beaten Rousey to the punch, so to speak. Earlier in the day he went on Jim Rome’s nationally syndicated radio program and confirmed what he, too, had been uncharacteristically silent about ever since the groundbreaking story broke. “Yes, it’s official,” he said in answer to Rome’s question about the TMZ report, which had been confirmed by other media outlets, but all citing anonymous sources. “Ronda Rousey did sign with the UFC.”

    This official confirmation didn’t create much of a buzz at New Gas City, the cavernous downtown Montreal nightclub that was the venue for Friday’s UFC 154 weigh-ins. The place was packed and noisy, just as the UFC likes it, and what the fans saw was uneventful, with every fighter on the card making weight — also just as the UFC likes it. Georges St-Pierre, who defends his welterweight championship for the first time in 19 months in Saturday night’s main event, got a hero’s welcome in the city where he lives and trains. His opponent, interim champ Carlos Condit, received polite applause. The Rousey news, so widely considered a fait accompli after last week’s report, was not the least bit of a distraction.

    Still, listening to the Rome show, it was cool to hear White make a public endorsement of women’s MMA, something he had said as recently as a year ago would never be a part of the UFC. It’s not too difficult to understand why Dana would have had a change of heart if you’ve ever seen Rousey fight.

    “I tell you, this girl is nasty,” he told Rome. “She might be beautiful on the outside. She’s a Diaz brother on the inside. She’s a real fighter. She’s very talented. She has the credentials, the pedigree, I mean, everything.”

    Everything? Dana was referring to more than Rousey’s Olympic bronze medal in judo, her Strikeforce women’s bantamweight championship and her 6-0 professional record, with every win by that unstoppable armbar, all but one in the very first minute. The UFC president is looking beyond all of that. “I think she has that ‘it’ factor,” he said. “I think she’s going to be a big superstar.”

    Whether that happens falls as much on him and his promotional team, of course, as it does on the fighter. But so far Rousey and the UFC have been a marketable match, with “Rowdy Ronda” appearing everywhere from the cover of the ESPN the Magazine “Body Issue” to the Sports Illustrated TV magazine show on NBC Network.

    The ultimate test, however, will come not on the newsstand, the TV screen or the Madison Avenue boardroom. It’ll come in the cage. No one has yet posed a threat to Rousey, and for the 25-year-old’s star to continue to rise she’s going to need to overcome some viable challenges. Cris “Cyborg” Santos, long the indomitable force in the women’s fight game, will be Rousey’s most treacherous hurdle once the Brazilian finishes her steroid suspension. Then the two fighters’ camps can get past their silly squabble over how to bridge the weight-class gap between the 145-pound Cyborg and Rousey, who began her career at 145 but now is champion among women 10 pounds lighter.

    White offered no hint on when we’ll see a Rousey vs. Cyborg matchup. But he did insist that Rousey’s challenges will not end there. “She’s got four or five good fights,” he said during his radio appearance. “The next two years, we’ve got really good opponents for her, and it’s going to be interesting.”

    It’s already interesting, considering that White’s dismissal of women’s MMA all along was centered on his insistence that there were not enough top-level women to fill a division. Rousey’s “four or five good fights” sounds like a UFC women’s division in the making.

    —Jeff Wagenheim

  • Published On Nov 16, 2012
  • Anderson Silva: No Georges St-Pierre challenge at UFC 154 on Saturday night, and no fight until the end of next year

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    Anderson Silva easily defeated Stephan Bonnar at UFC 153 last month in Rio. (

    Anderson Silva plays with people.

    The UFC middleweight champion has done it for years inside the octagon, most recently a month ago in Rio de Janeiro. He languished against the cage early in the main event that night as if lazing about on a street corner, arms at his side except to rev up the crowd of adoring countrymen by broadly gesturing for his opponent to hit him. No, to try to hit him. Then, after dodging every punch with nothing but a fluid rhythm of head and upper torso movement that would make a matador blush and a contortionist blanch, Silva apparently decided that he’d toyed enough with the musclebound man standing in front of him slinging hopeless leather. And with a single well-placed knee, he knocked the juice out of Stephan Bonnar. Show’s over, folks.

    Outside the cage, Silva plays with all of us.

    You were expecting “The Spider” to walk into the octagon Saturday night in Montreal, if Georges St-Pierre wins the UFC 154 main event, and publicly challenge the welterweight champion to a superfight, right? He’s going to be at the Bell Centre, we know. And UFC president Dana White is on record as saying, “He wants [GSP] to win this fight, and he wants to fight him after.” Asked directly if Silva will challenge St-Pierre in the octagon post-fight, the UFC president answered, “I would say yes.”

    But Silva says no. “Not in my character to stand up and challenge anyone,” he told Tatame in a story posted Monday on the Brazilian magazine’s website. “I think that this will not happen.” He laughed and added, “I think not, I’m sure.” (Translation from Portuguese is from online sources.)

    We might be inclined to chalk up this about-face letdown to the fight promoter with the mostest. During his conference call with MMA media last week, White made it sound like the octagon challenge was a fait accompli. But does he really need to use a phony Silva call-out to help sell the first St-Pierre fight in more than a year and a half? No, he doesn’t. It might well be that Dana simply knew that Silva was going to be in the building and put two and two together.

    Well, here’s another set of numbers for White’s abacus: two zero one three.

    Silva revealed in the same Brazilian interview that he does not intend to fight again until the end of 2013. White had been expecting to be able to put Silva back in the cage much sooner than that — perhaps against GSP in Cowboys Stadium outside Dallas.

    “I think it’s time for me to leave my life in order, because this thing of always being worried and having work, I just leave my personal life aside,” Silva told Tatame. “I have my projects, my personal plans and will keep them moving forward.”

    While grinding the middleweight division to a halt?

    Or maybe just putting Dana White through the grinder. Silva knows what Dana told the media and understands how much a superfight with St-Pierre would mean to the UFC. Perhaps this is simply his dramatic way of letting it be known that he won’t come cheap.

    We know Silva likes to play with people. Maybe he plays them, too.

    —Jeff Wagenheim

  • Published On Nov 12, 2012
  • UFC’s White: Cowboys Stadium could host superfight between GSP, Silva

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    Georges St-Pierre

    Georges St-Pierre (left) is returning to the cage for the first time in 20 months. [Al Bello/ Zuffa LLC via Getty Images]

    “We missed him,” said Dana White, the words spoken with a hint of longing. “It’s good to have him back.”

    The UFC president was speaking of his company’s most lucrative pay-per-view draw, welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, who is indeed back after 20 months away from the octagon because of knee surgery and the rehab that followed. White was so thrilled that GSP is ready to fight again, in fact, that he assembled MMA reporters on Wednesday afternoon to hype the superfight between St-Pierre and middleweight champ Anderson Silva.

    No, wait, the media conference call was actually about Georges’ bout against interim champion Carlos Condit a week from Saturday in the main event of UFC 154 in Montreal. At least that’s what the press release said the call was going to be about.

    As things turned out, though, the session came as close to being an announcement of GSP vs. Silva as the fight promotion could muster without issuing an official poster.

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  • Published On Nov 07, 2012
  • Jones vs. Sonnen for the UFC’s light heavyweight belt is TUF to swallow

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    Chael Sonnen

    Chael Sonnen (right) was last seen getting dominated by Anderson Silva at the main event of UFC 148. (Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

    Remember that fake UFC championship belt a mischievous Chael Sonnen used to sling over his shoulder for press conferences and television appearances in the contentious leadup to his July rematch with Anderson Silva? You know, the one that he impishly told an interviewer on ESPN was proof that he was the real middleweight champion?

    Well, let’s pull it out of the closet and dust it off. That plastic-and-pleather strap is the one that rightfully ought to be put up for grabs next April 27 when Sonnen challenges once again for the UFC championship. This time at light heavyweight, though.


    Yep, this is not another Chael media ploy. The UFC actually announced on Tuesday that Sonnen, who has competed in the fight promotion’s 205-pound weight class exactly one time — and that was seven years ago and he lost — will challenge Jon Jones after the two serve as coaches on the 17th season of The Ultimate Fighter.

    Jones need not bother to bring along the shiny brass-and-leather belt that he’s been proudly wearing for the last 19 months, the one he acquired by knocking out a champion and in the time since has defended against four former titlists. That belt signifies something earned, something extraordinary, something real. So “Bones” should leave it home in the trophy case. When he steps into the octagon next spring to take on a middleweight fighter with a heavyweight mouth, the fake plastic belt will suffice for the fake title defense.

    That is not to deny that the next several months will be a lot of laughs. Chael is at this very moment locked in a windowless room with a team of joke writers brainstorming a Top 10 list for Letterman and five minutes of couch chatter for Leno.

    And there’s no doubt that Dana White and Co. will benefit from this arrangement, which first was reported by The Los Angeles Times and later was confirmed by the UFC. The Ultimate Fighter will get a much-needed boost in ratings, and that springtime pay-per-view, featuring two of the organization’s top draws, is sure to do big numbers.

    Maybe that’s good enough for the UFC: a financial boon generated by a dud of a fight.

    Yes, a dud.

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  • Published On Oct 17, 2012
  • Jones, White spar over details surrounding UFC event cancellation

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    Jon Jones denied responsibility for UFC 151′s cancellation. (

    TORONTO — The dance begins with one fighter walking out onto the stage, stripping down to his skivvies and stepping onto the scale. When his weight is announced, he flexes for the crowd, then moves off to the side and dresses while his opponent walks out, strips, weighs in, flexes, dresses. The two meet at center stage, face to face, fists up, striking a combative pose for the cameras. And after a dozen shutter clicks they’re done, off to rehydrate. Next set of fighters, please?

    There may be no element of a mixed martial arts event more choreographed than the weigh-ins.

    So how did light heavyweight champion Jon Jones end up having an off-the-script moment Friday afternoon after stepping off the scale?

    It came about when Jones found himself staring into the eyes of not one but two people ready to go face to face with him. One was Vitor Belfort, who’ll be his opponent in the main event of UFC 152 on Saturday night at the Air Canada Centre (10 p.m. ET, PPV). The other was Dana White.

    The UFC president and his 205-pound megastar had been sparring verbally for weeks, ever since Jones, upon being notified nine days prior to UFC 151 that challenger Dan Henderson was injured, turned down replacement opponent Chael Sonnen. The UFC ended up cancelling the Sept. 1 event — a first in the 11 years White has been running the show — and a fired-up White went on the offensive, calling Jones “selfish and disgusting” and his trainer/adviser/guru, Greg Jackson, “a [expletive] sport killer.”

    As this weekend’s event neared, with Jones having been added to the top of the bill, he and White indicated that they would meet face to face here in Toronto to clear the air. The meeting was to take place just prior to the weigh-ins. So all eyes were on Jones as he stepped off the scale. Would he and White shake hands or even embrace, an indication that the cold war was over? Or would an icy chill pervade the stage set up atop a hockey rink at the old Maple Leaf Gardens, telling us that Dana might not have renewed his membership in the Jonny Bones Fan Club?

    What we saw instead from Jones was an uncharacteristic moment of uncertainty. This phenom fighter who never hesitates to attack inside the octagon seemed to waver when he spotted White. Then he smiled, White smiled, even Belfort smiled, and the choreography resumed.

    What did it all mean? It meant that Jones and White had not yet met. They apparently planned to do so a few minutes later. And say what? “None of your business,” White responded when asked that very question in a Fuel TV interview following the weigh-ins.

    We can at least surmise that the discussion explored areas of disagreement. A case in point: At a Thursday press conference, Jones spoke respectfully of the boss — “Dana White is awesome, man” — but steered clear of accepting responsibility for the UFC 151 fiasco. “I have actually zero power to cancel an event,” he said. “When I was actually talking to Dana and [UFC chairman/CEO] Lorenzo [Fertitta] about accepting the Chael Sonnen fight, they never told me if I didn’t accept the fight that they were going to cancel the event.”

    It would have been interesting to hear White respond to that, but he was absent from the press conference, laid up at his hotel with an episode of Ménière’s disease. But in the Fuel TV interview, Dana had his say. “I don’t think he would have said that if I was there,” said White. “So today we’re going to be face to face and we’ll see what he says and what he doesn’t say. The fact that he says that he didn’t know that the show would get cancelled is false. I did tell him that the show would be cancelled.”

    And with that, White headed off to a windowless room with his light heavyweight champ. And then? Nothing. Nada. Not a word. (OK, chief, you can deactivate the Cone of Silence now.) My colleague from Yahoo! Sports, Kevin Iole, texted White to ask about the meeting and got this terse text back: “It went well.” Other than that, White, who posts his thoughts on Twitter about as often as he takes a breath, has gone quiet. So has Jones, unless we can read something into his only post-meeting tweet, a quote attributed to Michael Jordan: “Limits, like fears, are often just an illusion.”

    So stay tuned. Like any long-running soap opera, there’s always another episode to come.

    —Jeff Wagenheim

  • Published On Sep 22, 2012
  • Dana White hints at superfight between Anderson Silva, Georges St-Pierre

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    When Cowboys Stadium opened three years ago, Jerry Jones envisioned it as a grand showcase for champions. That’s a promise still unfulfilled by his NFL team, which has but one wild-card win in the $1.3 billion facility and missed the playoffs the last two seasons. But the domed stadium in Arlington, Texas, might very well soon have championships on display. Two of them.

    Anderson Silva and Georges St-Pierre, the UFC champs at middleweight and welterweight, respectively, appear headed on a collision course deep in the heart of Texas.

    Nothing is official, and nothing will be until after St-Pierre makes his return from knee surgery and fights Carlos Condit at UFC 154 on Nov. 17 in Montreal. But UFC president Dana White acknowledged on Tuesday night that if GSP handles business against Condit, a superfight with Silva likely would be next.

    “These guys want to fight each other now,” White said during an extended interview on the Fuel TV show UFC Tonight. “If you’re a fighter and you’ve dominated as long as Anderson has, and you’ve been great as long as Georges has, you finally want to say, ‘I want to test myself. I think I can beat this guy.’”

    Though Silva vs. St-Pierre is hypothetical at this point, White has given the matter enough thought to specify that the champions of his 185- and 170-pound weight classes would meet somewhere in the middle, likely at 180 pounds, and that the fight would take place at Cowboys Stadium. The facility seats 80,000 for football but has a capacity of 110,000, including standing room. A 2010 boxing match between Manny Pacquiao and Joshua Clottey drew 51,000.

    Silva (32-4) is coming off a July TKO win over Chael Sonnen, his 16th straight victory and 10th title defense. St-Pierre (22-2) has won nine straight and defended his belt six times, but has not fought since an April 2011 unanimous decision over Jake Shields. He was training for a Condit fight when he injured his knee last December, requiring surgery.

    So GSP is going from sitting on the shelf to jumping into perhaps the biggest fight in UFC history? Said White, “I think we’re pretty close.”

    –Jeff Wagenheim

  • Published On Sep 05, 2012
  • Silva suddenly rooting against Jones? OK, it’s not much … but it’s a start

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    Jon Jones (left) and Anderson Silva are friends, but Silva will root against Jones at UFC 152. [Jason Merritt/Getty Images]

    So we’re finally going to see Anderson Silva going against Jon Jones.

    No, the UFC middleweight and light heavyweight champions, the No. 1 and No. 2 fighters in every mixed martial arts pound-for-pound ranking outside of Georges St-Pierre’s parents’ house, have not agreed to square off inside the octagon. They doused the rising fan groundswell for a superfight a couple of months ago by basically walking arm-in-arm singing “You’ve Got a Friend” in two-part harmony.

    But while “Bones” is too close of a friend for Silva to fight, Jon is apparently not so tight of an amigo that “The Spider” refuses to root against the guy. Amigo is “friend” in Portuguese, which is the language of Brazil, where Silva is from. And where Jones’ next opponent, Vitor Belfort, is from.

    “As a Brazilian, I’ll be rooting for the Brazilian, even though I have a very good friendship with Jon Jones,” Silva said when asked about the UFC 152 title fight during an appearance on the Brazilian television show Bem, Amigos! (there’s that “friend” word again) earlier this week. “Whenever I’m with [Jones], I ask him to conduct his career in a different way, because he is very young and is always asking me something. But I’ll be rooting for Brazil, yes. May the best man win, but I’m rooting for Brazil.”

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  • Published On Aug 30, 2012