Alejandro A. Alvarez / Philadelphia Daily News
Thursday, Feb. 4, 2010 | 4:13 p.m.
There was much to talk about when UFC President Dana White answered questions on Thursday following a pre-fight press conference for UFC 109.
White is known for sitting down with the media and shooting straight answers to any questions leading up to an event. Here are some highlights from Thursday's chat.
Chael Sonnen's sudden chatter
Chael Sonnen has been a fighter in the UFC since 2004, but never has the middleweight received the kind of attention he has as of late.
In the weeks leading up to his co-main event bout with Nate Marquardt, Sonnen has made some fairly inflammatory remarks. His choice of topics: There's no such thing as a game plan in mixed martial arts, full-time fighters are really just guys who like to play Nintendo Wii and the sport is secretly full of scumbags.
White said that while Sonnen has the right to say whatever he wants, he didn't agree with the majority of the comments.
"That came out of left field and I didn't agree with 90 percent of what he said, especially that there are no game plans," White said. "Tell Randy Couture there's no such thing as a game plan. Couture won most of his fights using a game plan."
White also said he didn't agree with Sonnen's comments on UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva. According to Sonnen, the Brazilian champ speaks perfect English but pretends he doesn't around the media because he doesn't like the press.
"That's the dumbest thing," White said. "Pretty much everything (Sonnen) said sounded like one of my Youtube video rants — all crazy and made no sense."
When's Brock Lesnar coming back?
According to White, UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar should be ready to go by either June or July.
The former WWE star has been sidelined since UFC 100 with an intestinal problem but announced earlier last month that the issue had been dealt with and he would be coming back this year.
The heavyweight division should be sorted out by then. Lesnar will fight the winner of a March 27 fight between Frank Mir and Shane Carwin. Or, if the winner of that fight gets injured, he'll face the winner of the Feb. 21 fight between Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Cain Velasquez.
"We've got to find out what's going to happen in the next two fights," White said. "This fight in Australia (Nogueira vs. Velasquez) will happen and then the one in Newark (Mir vs. Carwin). If everything goes perfect, Brock should fight probably in July or the end of June."
Taking UFC global
The UFC sold a 10 percent interest in its company to the Abu Dhabi government-owned Flash Entertainment in January, and White says it's already seeing the benefits of the deal.
One of the key contributing factors to the decision was that the UFC believed the company would accelerate its growth in China.
Apparently it worked, as the popular Chinese Web site Sohu.com has agreed to air the UFC 109 pay-per-view to its audience this month. White says it's just the beginning of a greater movement into Asia, which will include deals in India and South Korea.
"We're very aggressive in China right now," White said. "In China, television is run by the government, so all these kids are on the Internet. Sohu.com is the most powerful Web site in China."
Herschel Walker did great, but he's not a legitimate fighter
Former NFL star Herschel Walker was dominant in his professional MMA debut last week at Strikeforce in Miami, defeating Greg Nagy by TKO in the third round.
While White says he respects the 47-year-old's athletic ability, he's far from considering him a legitimate fighter.
"I don't want to be rude to Herschel Walker. He's one of the greatest athletes ever," White said. "But if he fights anybody of decent caliber, he's going to get beat. It's fun he tried it. But do you want me to take him seriously in this sport? I can't. It's impossible."
Nick Diaz doesn't play the game
Newly crowned Strikeforce welterweight champion Nick Diaz called out, among others, UFC welterweight champ Georges St. Pierre after defeating Marius Zaromskis at the Miami event last week. But unless Diaz learns to act more responsibly, that matchup will never happen.
White said he's always been impressed with Diaz's skills and signed him to fight in the UFC from 2003-06, but Diaz's behavior outside of the cage may keep him from ever returning to the organization.
"I like Nick Diaz, but he refuses to play the game," White said. "You have to follow certain rules. Last time he was in the UFC, he got in a fistfight in the hospital. You can't do that kind of stuff. He's very talented; he should be in the UFC. Everybody has to play the game this much."
Aldo vs. Faber is good enough to be on PPV
The WEC, sister company to UFC, rocked the boat a little with fight fans when it announced that it would move to pay-per-view for the first time in company history with a featherweight championship fight between Jose Aldo and Urijah Faber in April.
While some fans have complained that they will now have to pay $44.99 to see the fight, White says that nobody can make a case that the championship fight isn't worthy of a pay-per-view.
"That fight," said White, when asked what went behind making the decision. "I've heard (fans) are not happy. That's what pay-per-view costs. Does anybody think that fight won't be worth the money?"
White said he couldn't come up with another WEC matchup that would justify a pay-per-view off the top of his head, but the decision wasn't made lightly.
"To jump into pay-per-view, you don't do it overnight," White said. "I'm actually surprised Strikeforce has been so smart in not transitioning to pay-per-view. Everyone thinks it's the answer, but it will put you out of business."