Thursday, Sept. 17, 2009 | 6 p.m.
- Vitor Belfort is back, TKOs Rich Franklin in first round
- UFC 103 Slideshow
- Vitor Belfort puts on phenomenal performance in UFC return
- White not impressed with Mayweather’s comeback victory
- Breaking down UFC 103: Rich Franklin vs. Vitor Belfort
- Vitor Belfort, Efrain Escudero miss mark at UFC 103 weigh-ins
- UFC 103: Breakdown and Picks
- Naturally UFC 103 event is larger in Lonestar State
- Fireside chat with Dana White
- Video: The Return of "The Phenom"
- Bonus machine Tyson Griffin not worried about cash award in bout with Hermes Franca
- Frank Trigg eyeing one last title run
- Rich Franklin not thinking about title shots
- Mirko Filipovic back for good
- Video: UFC 103: Prepare for the Unexpected
- Complete UFC 103 coverage
DALLAS — Who knew that a simple question about Mirko Cro Cop not showing up to a press conference would set UFC boss man Dana White off.
Well, actually, it wasn’t the fact that the Croatian fighter missed the UFC 103 prefight press conference Thursday at the Hilton Anatole Hotel that drew White’s ire. Instead, the question served as an easy transition to the true situation that has the UFC prez peeved.
“He never shows up at press conferences. Is it OK,” White said tongue-in-cheek of Cro Cop’s no-show. “Guys (expletive) do 'The Ultimate Fighter' and then want to go play B.A. Baracus on the ‘The A-Team.’ This is my life dude, this is the (expletive) I got to deal with.
“You got to pick and choose your battles with these guys.”
Right now it’s B.A. Baracus (or Quinton “Rampage” Jackson to UFC fans) that White has firmly locked in his crosshairs.
“I feel like he (expletive) me," White said of the former light heavyweight champ — one of the two coaches on “The Ultimate Fighter 10: Heavyweights," who was set to fight Rashad Evans in the main event of UFC 107 set in Jackson’s hometown of Memphis, Tenn., in December.
"I'm not even talking to 'Rampage.' I'm really, really upset with 'Rampage.'"
White thought he had talked one of the UFC’s biggest stars out of taking the role that Mr. T made famous in the 1980s TV show. Instead Jackson’s manager informed White that the charismatic fighter would indeed be following his Hollywood dreams.
“I can’t force any of these guys to fight. If you don’t want to fight, then you’re not gonna fight,” White said. “You don’t want a guy going in fighting if his head isn’t in it anyway.
“If you’d rather be on the set of 'The A-Team,' then you definitely don’t belong in the Octagon.”
White said he’s not sure if the damage to his and Jackson’s relationship is irreconcilable, but he knows the decision not only messed up Evans’ future fight plans, but those of the entire UFC promotion.
“You have no idea how much collateral damage was done by him pulling out of this thing," White said. "It literally screwed up the rest of our year. We've got B.J. Penn fighting in Memphis, you know what I mean?"
White, a longtime boxing fan, scoffed at the idea of Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s fight outperforming UFC 103 Saturday in terms of pay-per-view buys.
“I heard that thing wasn’t selling (expletive). You better believe if there are fans in there, they’re all gonna be Mexican. All gonna be people supporting Marquez not Floyd,” White said.
“I am a boxing fan, but as a boxing fan the fight I want to see is (Manny) Pacquiao-Mayweather. Is there anybody who will (expletive) disagree with that? That’s the fight people want to see.”
White again laughed when told that Pacquiao’s promoter, Bob Arum, who used to represent Mayweather, has said he won’t be able to negotiate with his former client.
“My (expletive) job is to make these fights. There are plenty of (expletive) people that I don’t like, that we put fights on with. It’s not up to me whether I like them or dislike them, it’s up to what the fans want to see,” said White, who related how the last big boxing fight he got excited for let him down.
“The last one for me was Floyd and Oscar (De La Hoya). I was so pumped up for that fight. They talked about all the (expletive) they were gonna do to each other. But then they avoided fighting so they can move on to the next fight and make another (expletive) $77 million. That’s where the fight business went. That’s what’s wrong with boxing.”
Kimbo’s for real
White insisted that what viewers watched last night on the debut episode of 'TUF 10' was exactly the way it played out in real life.
“Nobody knew Kimbo was coming. I think the feeling of a lot of fighters was guys resent him. There’s a lot of guys who have been training for a long time and have had good fights against top-notched people and this guy became so famous for fighting in backyards,” White said.
“But his attitude coming into the show is 'I don’t want to be friends with anybody. I’m not here to make friends, I have enough friends. I’m coming on this show to win, period. I’m not gonna fall into all the hanging out (expletive), team (expletive). I’m coming in to win this show and make my bread.'”
Next up for “The Spider”
While Anderson Silva will soon be recovering from a minor procedure to have bone spurs removed from his elbow, White says he hopes he can get a top contender deal done with Dan Henderson and Nate Marquardt to set up a true challenge for Silva and his middleweight title.
White says the Henderson-Marquardt match is an interesting one and he wants Silva to clean out the 185-pound division before moving up to light heavyweight.
"He's probably two fights away from literally emptying out the middleweight division," White said. "But that's great. I think in my opinion, that's what makes fighters great. When there's not another guy standing where people go, 'What about him? He might win.' When they're all gone, then the guy moves up to the next weight class and does the same thing.
“I think that's what makes guys legendary, fighters that people remember forever.”
No new news on TV deal
White, who said on 'The DAM Morning Show' in Las Vegas on Tuesday that the UFC would be on network TV within a year, didn’t get into any detailed specifics on Thursday.
“We are negotiating, we always have been,” he said. “We could have had a network television deal a long time ago, but no one would put up the right deal.”
Thoughts on Strikeforce-CBS merger
News had just broke about Strikeforce’s partnership with CBS and that Fedor Emelianenko will fight Brett Rogers on Nov. 7, but White continued his stance that the San Jose, Calif., promotion offers no real threat to the UFC.
“I got no beef with Strikeforce. The reality is they are a small, regional (expletive) company,” White said. “Strikeforce is not competition for us, they’re not our competitor.
“I don’t like Showtime. That’s the only reason I (expletive) around with them and do what I do. I want to kick them in their balls.”
White said that Phillipe Nover, who was supposed to fight Sam Stout Wednesday night at UFC Fight Night 19 in Oklahoma City, was in good condition after fainting hours before the fight.
“He came out later on during the show and talked to me. He’s gonna have to go see a neurologist and go see what’s up,” White said.
Andy Samuelson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-948-7837.