Dana White, the Ultimate Fighting Championship's outspoken president, isn't one to turn down a challenge.
But White had to stop laughing on Wednesday before admitting that he has no interest in fighting Affliction Entertainment promoter Tom Atencio.
Atencio is fighting Randy Hedderick on June 27 in Biloxi, Miss., while at the same time trying to put together a major pay-per-view fight card of his own featuring heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko.
In a column on Yahoo! Sports, Atencio said he knew White wasn't serious when he said he would box former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz.
"I'd love to fight Dana," Atencio said. "I'm not a former world champion with a huge record like Tito. I'm a guy who is on par with him. I like to fight and he says he does, so I'd love to fight him."
White is in Miami, Fla., on a corporate retreat and couldn't be reached in time to get his reaction to Atencio's challenge. But upon learning that Atencio had called him out, the one-time amateur boxer began to laugh.
"If I were him, I'd want to fight me, too," White said. "I'm the guy who is killing all of his hopes and dreams."
Though Atencio and Ortiz said White was never serious about fighting Ortiz — Ortiz said White arranged a Spike TV special to make him look bad and never had an intention of fighting him — White said he agreed to do it and trained for two months.
He agreed to fight Ortiz as a part of contract negotiations when he resigned Ortiz to a contract that expired last year.
However, White scoffed at Atencio and said the fact that Atencio is training to fight when his company is losing money proves he's a fool. White and his partners, Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta, were on the verge of shutting the UFC down in 2004 because of heavy financial losses.
He said Atencio should be thinking of finding a way to stem the red ink that he said is putting Affliction in danger of going under instead of worrying about being a fighter.
"At the end of the day, I stepped up and said I would fight Tito and he was a fighter who people cared about," White said. "But why would I fight this goof? He's neither a fighter nor a promoter. He's a [expletive] loser. That's all he is."
"Let me tell you something: When I was $44 million in the hole, the last thing I was doing was leaving the office and going out to train for a joke of a fight. I was in the office and trying to find a way to make this thing work. Why would I waste one second of my second of my day worrying about this [expletive] guy? He should be worried about the millions and millions of his bosses, or his partners' money, whoever it is, that's he's burning. That's a complete joke."
- Dana White
- Tito Ortiz