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Dana White says Strikeforce and UFC will keep fighting until one is gone

UFC president says he won’t run April 17 card, not impressed with Henderson vs. Shields

BROOMFIELD, Colo. — Dana White is infamous for telling his fighters to finish fights.

The UFC president isn't about to not listen to his own advice.

Following Sunday's event that drew a sellout crowd to the 1stBank Center in Broomfield, Colo. — not to mention help mend relations between the VERSUS network and DirecTV cable provider — White made it clear he's more than willing to go to war with Strikeforce and the Showtime network, his most legitimate competition in the U.S.

White officially killed rumors that the UFC is planning to promote an April 17 event to compete with a Strikeforce card airing the same day on CBS, but admitted he initially allowed the rumors to go on in order to scare the competition.

"I was never putting on an April 17 show," White said. "The media started calling me and asking me so I just let it ride. Let (Strikeforce) sweat it. (Expletive) them. You want to compete with us? Let's do it.

"These guys consider themselves competitors and I like to compete. So, I can't always tell (media) exactly what's going on. But I really, really, really dislike these guys at Showtime. We're going to fight until someone goes away and, believe me, it's going to be them."

Although the UFC won't be going up against Strikeforce directly April 17, White was quick to offer his opinion on the organization's card that night which features one of his former fighters, Dan Henderson.

Henderson left the UFC last year following a highlight reel, knockout finish over Michael Bisping at UFC 100 in July. White has said he allowed Henderson to walk after Showtime decided to pay the middleweight much more than what he was willing to match.

The organization also was able to land a deal with Russian heavyweight, and top pound-for-pound candidate, Fedor Emelianenko after White was unable to sign him last summer because of conflicts with M-1 Global.

White ripped Strikeforce on Sunday for pairing Henderson with its current middleweight champion Jake Shields on the April 17 card.

Shields, considered by many to be a true welterweight fighter, won the vacant title with a unanimous decision win over Jason Miller last November.

Because Shield's next fight will be the last on his current contract with Strikeforce, White maintains the organization is feeding him to Henderson to lower his value before the two sides would renegotiate.

"Dan Henderson is fighting Jake Shields, are you (expletive) serious?" White said. "Jake Shields is a 170-pound fighter. They're feeding him to Henderson right now because they're going to have to pay him big money to stick around.

"They figure, 'We're already paying Henderson more money than we can afford so let's get Jake's ass kicked and get rid of him.' It's bush league. The fight makes absolutely no sense. You're going to fight Dan Henderson at 185 pounds when you're a 170-pound champion? That's how (expletive) up that company is, and they're our competitor? Okay."

White has expressed disdain for the Showtime network in the past while sparing Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker from much of his criticism.

He reiterated those feelings again Sunday, claiming that he holds no ill will towards Coker, although he believes the fight promoter has backed himself into a corner by teaming with Showtime.

He also admitted that other organizations are good for the sport and help feed the UFC with new talent.

But if they choose to run against the UFC, as White believes Showtime has, they will get burned.

"(Showtime) is a joke, they've always been a joke with their sports programming," White said. "They started the fight with me. I actually think there should be more fights on TV, it's good for everybody. The guys that are good promoters and do their thing are good. You don't hear me say stuff about Coker.

"Coker ran some good shows and I think that when this thing whole thing implodes, he'll be back in his hometown putting on shows and making money like he always did."

Brett Okamoto can be reached at 948-7817 or [email protected]. Also follow him on twitter: LVSunFighting.

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