By Yahoo! Sports Staff
August 21, 2007
You have questions for Dana White, he has answers. The outspoken president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship is rarely shy with his opinions, as he demonstrates here in the latest Yahoo! Sports reader Q & A.
First off Dana, I'd like to thank you for giving us some the best fights we've ever seen. People can say what they want, but that's the reason the UFC is what it is today.
With the welterweight division so crowded with talent, how will you ensure the best fighters get title shots? When will guys like Josh Koscheck, Georges St. Pierre, Diego Sanchez, Matt Hughes, and Karo Pariysan get a turn? Thank you.
DW: Hughes will fight Serra for the title in December after Season 6 of The Ultimate Fighter has aired. The winner of St. Pierre and Koscheck on Saturday is next in line to get at title shot. Those other guys are good fighters and they're in the mix. I'd rather have too many good guys than not enough. It's a nice problem. They sort themselves out because when guys fight each other, they determine who deserves the title shot, not me.
Since the Tim Donaghy scandal, has the UFC considered anything that regulates or checks into stuff like that by its officials? Sometimes we think that maybe there is something going on with so many early stoppages and questionable calls.
DW: Our officials are overseen and regulated by the various state athletic commissions. It is very heavily regulated. Before I got into it and was a fan watching, I could see how you'd say that. I'd watch a fight and say, 'This is fixed, that's fixed, this ref has to be on the payroll.' But since I am involved, I see what goes on, well, I know how hard they work to prevent that. I'm not going to say it's impossible to happen, but we don't want it and the states don't want it and they put the power of the government behind it to make sure it doesn't happen. It's a lot harder in a combat sport than it is in a league sport like the NBA or NFL or something for that to happen. We have the government overseeing our judges and referees, not me.
TITO IS SHOT
Why would you consider re-signing Tito Ortiz? He has negligible submission skills, questionable stand-up skills, his ground-and-pound style is boring for the casual fan and worst of all, he's not able to compete at a world-class level any more. He barely squeaked by with a victory over Forrest Griffin, he drew with Rashad Evens, was badly beaten by Chuck Liddell and chickened out on a boxing match with you.
Please use the money you would offer to Tito to sign Fedor Emelianenko.
DW: Did I write this question? It sounds like I must have submitted this question myself or you are reading my mind. I don't disagree with anything you said. There are a lot of fans who still like Tito, but I wouldn’t disagree with your assessment of him. I think you really hit the nail on the head, but the reality is, even saying that, there are a lot of Tito fans out there. Why, I have no (expletive) idea, but they're there. I'll be curious to see his rematch with Rashad. Will Tito Ortiz win a world title again? Probably not, but he still has a couple of interesting fights out there.
How do you approach the development of MMA and world sanctioning of the sport? Obviously this will take years to mature, but how will you approach your position in the sport once more athletes and more athletic commissions begin to demand more representation and rights? Will you concede to having a fighters’ union and perhaps creating a board that will oversee the proper treatment of its employees or will the sport of MMA be kept private, with managers and promoters keeping a tight grip on profit and their own dominance? More importantly, do you see yourself as the driving force behind the greatest sport in the world and as one who will ultimately be credited with the innovation and development of the sport all over the world or are you more of a business man who sees this as an opportunity to make a mark by simply bringing in the most profit and being responsible for keeping UFC as the most popular brand of MMA?
DW: The fighters in the UFC are treated very well. You have to remember, this is a business like any other business. But we got into this particular business because we love it and care about it and we try to develop it and make it get better. I like most of the guys in the sport. They're my friends. We're not going to mistreat the fighters. I wouldn't mistreat a friend and so I won't mistreat my fighters. The only fighter I really don't like is Tito. And you should know that none of them are unhappy with us.
WHAT ABOUT ARLOVSKI?
Andrei Arlovski has been lowered in the rankings and lost a shot at the title due to a lackluster performance against Fabricio Werdum. Why then was Matt Hughes after a poor performance against Chris Lytle granted a welterweight division title shot against Matt Serra when the division is obviously stacked with contenders? Will this extended period of waiting in a stacked division happen again?
DW: I'm not keeping Andrei Arlovski down, believe me. He's one of the top heavyweights in the world. I like Arlovski. I'm not sure when he's fighting again, but he's going to be out there. He's a top, top guy and he'll get his turn, but like I said before, there's only one title. I said I wanted to get all of the best guys and I'm doing that and when you do that, some guys don't get a title shot as fast as maybe they would like or their fans would like.
TOO MANY CHAMPIONS?
With the addition of numerous MMA companies (i.e. WEC, Pride, and IFL) do you expect the same problem that we see now in boxing where there are tons of belts from the same weight class with the average fan having no idea who truly is No. 1? If the answer is no, how do you plan to deal with it?
DW: Are there too many belts? Not at all. There is only one belt that means anything and that is the UFC belt. You have to realize most mainstream fans don’t even know these companies exist. They're the minor leagues, but we need them. Baseball needs a minor-league system to develop players and we do, too, to develop our fighters. So we don't mind those companies being around because they're doing us a favor and being our minor league system. At the end of the day, though, they're all fighting to hold onto a UFC belt. If you ask them, I think nearly all of them would tell you they want to win a UFC world title.
What is the possibility that Matt Lindland will be brought back to the UFC? Has your personal dislike for Lindland blackballed him from the organization?
DW: I don’t dislike Matt Lindland. I didn't blackball him from the UFC, either. Matt Lindland is a good guy and I've never had a personal issue with him. A lot of guys don't fight in the UFC and the only guy I dislike, like I said before, is Tito. Matt is a good guy, but he's on a deal with someone else.
How is Manny Gamburyan's recovery going? Will you give him a rematch against Nate Diaz? It was obvious that he was well on his way to beating Nate before his shoulder gave out.
DW: I don't know specifically how it's going, but he is having the surgery and his surgeon is supposed to be one of the best. Manny obviously will be in the mix when he gets back. I don't know when you will see a rematch with Nate Diaz and it's tough to say one guy is going to beat another until a fight ends, which that one didn't. But Manny is a guy who will be in there when he's healthy.
How can you possibly think Keith Jardine is a good fight for Chuck Liddell? Jardine’s last fight was a joke. He is not even in Chuck’s class. Don't Chuck and the fans deserve better?
Steven J. McSweeney
Glen Ellyn, IL
DW: I don't get this thinking. I really don't. Chuck Liddell and Keith Jardine are both coming off first-round knockout losses. Keith Jardine knocked out Forrest Griffin in the first round. Forrest went the distance with Tito and many people think he beat Tito, so how do you think Keith doesn't deserve this fight? Be sensible and look what he's done.
A few months ago you were writing Wanderlei Silva off because he "just got destroyed by Cro Cop" (in your words) but now you say his signing is the pinnacle of your seven-year UFC career. How do you reconcile all you said about Wanderlei, where you basically implied it's not worth it to put together a Silva vs. Liddell match after Silva's knockout loss to Cro Cop, with your comments after he signed with the UFC?
DW: I was pissed off when he lost to Cro Cop because Pride destroyed what would have been the biggest fight in MMA history. I was trying to make that fight for years and instead of them making it when he and Chuck both had titles and both had been undefeated for a long time, they let him fight in a fight that did no business and they got him knocked out. I was legitimately upset because they ruined a mega-fight. I said it's the pinnacle because I said I wanted all the top talent in the UFC and I think now, we pretty much have it.
CONCERNED ABOUT STEROIDS
The steroid issue is not going to go away in any fighting sport. How are you going to handle this? Is there any other remedy other than random testing by a neutral body?
DW: Steroids aren't going to go away. Neither are drugs, neither is drinking and driving and neither are a lot of stupid things that people do. I don't want it and it pisses me off when it happens. But this sport and boxing are the only ones where the guys are tested every time by the government. If they tested the NFL players every Sunday, Roger Gooddell would be out of a job because there would be no more NFL. Can you imagine how many of those guys would test positive if they were tested after every game? Staggering. But our guys are tested every time they fight by the government. We're going to bring the guys into Vegas later this year and talk to them about it, but I'm being honest when I tell you I don't expect the issue to go away. It's not a UFC issue or an MMA issue. It's a societal issue.
Will we see a much more convenient UFC start time for your East Coast viewers? I can't stay up past midnight to watch a UFC PPV and an Ultimate Fight Night.
DW: People on the West Coast would complain if we started at 4 p.m. It's 10 p.m. on the East Coast when we start, but it's only 7 on the West Coast. That's the way it has to be.
MOVIE TRAILERS ON PPV?
How come when I pay $40-$50 on a PPV why do I have to sit through a movie trailer? Is that not a commercial? That's why I paid for the event, so I didn't have to sit through commercials. Please don't get money hungry and continue screwing the fans!
DW: Oh, my God. This is ridiculous. I won't answer this one.
BRING ON FEDOR
We are dying to see Fedor take center stage in the octagon. Will this happen any time soon?
DW: I want to see him with us, too. We're trying.
For more from Yahoo! Sports readers check out Kevin Iole's weekly MMA/Boxing mailbag.
Updated on Tuesday, Aug 21, 2007 4:36 pm, EDT
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