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Cagewriter

A confident Dana White defends policy of confidentiality on fighter pay and welcomes government scrutiny

Steve Cofield
Cagewriter

CHICAGO -- Dana White has his mind made up. You're never going to know what UFC fighters truly make and that's just the way it has to be.

"So just because you don't know everything, you don't have to know anything, and to be honest with you? It's none of your [expletive] business how much these guys are making. They're making a lot of money. [...] How much money is none of your business. I'm not asking how much money you're making," said White (3:10 mark).

White believes that the salary information, so readily available in the other pro sports has ruined things for the athletes. He pointed to the recent $214 million megadeal inked by Detroit Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder.

"His whole life is going to change. He thought it was bad before with the (expletive) he had going on in his life? Everybody and their mother is coming after that 214," White said (2:10 mark). "Believe me when I tell you. Mark my words, Prince Fielder talk to me in five years and tell me what it was like when the news put out there that you were making $214 million dollars. I'm not going to do that to my guys."

The UFC often gets a bad rap for fighter pay because the only numbers revealed are those given to state commissions. The promotion beefs up the pay with behind-the-scenes discretionary and pay-per-view bonuses. White is often asked if all the complaints about pay would go away if Zuffa simply revealed all the details.

"Even when we sat down and had that first FOX meeting, the guys at FOX were like, holy [expletive]! They're like, 'Why don't you plaster this everywhere? This is the thing that will put you guys over the top. This is the thing that people love to see and talk about. Look at Mike Tyson.' And I said, 'Yeah, look at Mike Tyson,'" White said. "I've had these conversations with Mike. Mike said that when his money was reported, his [expletive] life was miserable. I'm not doing it."

Some believe the UFC's reluctance to be more transparent prompted the Federal Trade Commission to open an anti-trust violation investigation to look into Zuffa's practices.

"My understanding is that yes [the FTC has] opened a non-public investigation based on the acquisition we made of Strikeforce," said UFC owner Lorenzo Fertitta.

CBSSports.com's Gregg Doyel said this is a sign of awful things to come for the UFC.

The FTC vs. the UFC? That's a heavyweight fight. That's Dana White's worst nightmare. The FTC looks for antitrust violations, picking apart monopolies as the unfair bullies they are -- and as far as I'm concerned, the UFC is guilty as charged.

The story set off White.

"There was guy yesterday, he wrote this story and you could tell this thing was like 'I want some attention. I want some attention. Maybe he'll get mad and say some [expletive].' [...] When we get stories written about us like that, I know it seems like I get crazy and come off too personal ... well, [expletive] yeah it's personal! What you're saying is untrue," said White (0:51 mark).

White said everything about the promotion is on the up and up.

"If the government wants to come in and look inside and take a peak and look around, they're more than welcome," White said. "Many of you have heard stories and all kinds of things ... mark my [expletive] words right here, right now, today ... we're not going anywhere. And everything we say is true."

As far as we know the FTC is still looking at Zuffa. White certainly came off sounding very confident nothing will come from the investigation.

White pointed out that there is no sport that has been more heavily scrutinized by governments all levels. The promotion has survived and thrived to become what White called the best sports story of the last 50 years.

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