Mailbag: UFC is not for sale

Kevin Iole
Yahoo! Sports

Dana White said emphatically Monday that neither the Ultimate Fighting Championship, nor any piece of it, is for sale, despite a video interview with White on Bloomberg in which the UFC president indicated a willingness to take on a limited partner.

White said he was asked at least "50 [expletive] times" by reporter Greg Miles whether he'd be willing to sell a share of the company.

"This is [expletive] bad; it's not what I said," White said of the Bloomberg report. "Here's the bottom line: Basically, it was a longer story and he kept asking if we would sell this thing or not. I kept saying 'No. No, we won't sell it,' and I'd go through this whole [expletive] thing about how we're all 40 years old and we're young and we're the visionaries for this thing. We know where we're taking this thing. We know where it's going.

"We have no interest in selling it. And going public? We don't need the [expletive] money. You go public when you want to raise cash. You raise capital to do something bigger. We don't want to do that. We're not looking to do that."

In the brief interview, which is available on the Bloomberg website, White said, "For what we value this thing at, you'd have to find somebody with a lot of cash laying around, somebody who has got a lot of cash who wants to come into this business, get a piece of it and just sit over there and not tell us what to do."

White said Monday that not only was the clip shown out of context, but he said he'd repeatedly told Miles the UFC was not for sale.

Miles, though, kept asking the same question, White said, and White said he finally answered the way he did.

"He kept [expletive] pushing and pushing," White said. "He said, 'OK, hypothetically speaking, would you ever sell a piece of it?' I said, 'I guess we'd sell a tiny little piece. We'd probably sell a tiny little piece.' But, here's the thing: I want it to be known that this guy kept pushing me and pushing me. I said 'No, we wouldn't go public. No, we wouldn't sell it.' At the end of the day, we're the guys who are driving this thing. We have the vision. We know where we want to take this thing."

He said later that the only way he and partners Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta would ever consider selling a piece of the UFC would be with the right strategic partner who would further their goals of supplanting soccer as the world's most popular sport, getting the sport sanctioned worldwide and standardizing the rules.

When asked for an explanation as to why he would give in when being pressed by Miles, White again was emphatic the UFC is not for sale.

"Me and him were going back and forth," White said. "We are not selling a piece of this thing to anybody. The bottom line, the reality is it would have to be a serious, big-time player who would be a good strategic partner.

"We're not interested in selling a piece of this to anybody. Me, Frank and Lorenzo are the three owners. We have an awesome relationship. Everything runs smoothly. It's perfect. And for us to even offer somebody a piece, it would be the biggest compliment in [expletive] history because they'd have to be a serious strategic partner. It's the only [expletive] way we'd do it.

"Why would we do that?" White asked rhetorically. "We have this incredibly successful business. We know exactly where we want to go with it. And the only way we would do this, if we did sell a piece of it, it would be with some serious, serious player, a big-time strategic partner. That's it. So the thing was really taken out of context because the guy was pushing me and pushing me and pushing me about, 'What do you mean? You'd never sell it? You'd never go public? How about a piece? Would you sell a little piece?' The guy kept pushing me, you know what I mean, and that was my [expletive] answer."

Now, let's dive right into the mailbag and get to your questions and comments about the great sport of mixed martial arts.

Rampage on 'The Ultimate Fighter'

After viewing this last episode of "The Ultimate Fighter," it seemed to me that Quinton "Rampage" Jackson actually looked afraid of fighting Rashad Evans. I've never seen him look scared before, but losing five straight matches as the coach, and thinking back to how that affected him the first time he was on the show in his fight with Forrest Griffin … I think the A-Team movie saved him from receiving a beatdown. Your opinion?
Chris
Iowa City, Iowa

Rampage is a clearly a bad coach who doesn't take the role seriously, which only hurts the fighters on his team. That said, I don't think he's at all afraid to fight Rashad. He's very sensitive and may be more interested in a movie career than a fighting career at this stage, but it has nothing to do with being afraid of Rashad. You don't get into the ring or the cage with the likes of Wanderlei Silva, Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, Chuck Liddell, Dan Henderson and the like if you're afraid.

You're a racist

You seem to love non-white fighters much more than white ones. You had Miguel Torres ranked No. 1 and then Brian Bowles, a soft-spoken white man, knocked him out. Instead of praising Bowles, you made excuses for Torres. Then you claimed that Cain Velasquez, Mr. "Brown Pride," would be the heavyweight champ one day. As long as Brock Lesnar is around, he won't be. You are a man that bashed MMA until you realized you can make a buck writing about it and the fact that there are so many white champions probably really bothers you.
Howard
Las Vegas

It's not my job to worry about what race a fighter is, it's my job to write compelling stories and analysis on all of the major players in the sport. To say that I bashed MMA at any time is clearly incorrect. I covered for the Las Vegas Review-Journal for many years and I used to routinely have MMA fighters on my radio show in Las Vegas. You're the one with the problem, Howard, not me. It's OK if you want to crawl back under the rock you must live beneath.

'Rumble' a top welterweight

This is not so much a question as it is a comment. I think Anthony Johnson is a top five welterweight easily. Every time I see him fight, he fights harder, better, and punches more accurately than the previous fight. He is the next Georges St. Pierre, for sure. I think his attitude shows others (cough, Brock Lesnar, cough) how to act, win or lose, no matter what. He is one of those fighters, win or lose, I will watch until he retires, which I hope is no time soon at all. Anthony Johnson is the next big thing in the welterweight division. A St. Pierre-Johnson fight would be one of the 10 best MMA fights ever.
Tim Harrison
Eastpointe, Mich.

I think Johnson is a quality fighter, though I don't think he's ready for St. Pierre yet. He has to take on a few more upper-tier welterweights before you feed him to St. Pierre. I agree, though, he has the potential to make a significant impact in his division.

Henderson's future

I called Dan Henderson going to Strikeforce to everyone and have been waiting for the report to back my thought. I have been saying for a long time Dana White's tactics seem shallow. Need I go into detail? It's a big mistake for the UFC to lose Hendo. They should recheck their ratings on this guy. I want to see a rematch with Rampage. Maybe Rampage will sign with Strikeforce, too. Hendo's my man.
Jason Piwen
Seattle

Henderson is an entertaining fighter to watch. I have little doubt that the UFC understands completely what a quality fighter he is. He remains a free agent and hasn't signed with anyone at this stage. Now, Dana White is saying he's asking for too much. A fighter's worth is a relative thing and none of us have enough variables to judge it accurately, starting with what similar fighters are making, what he's asked for, what the UFC offered, etc. Knowing all that, a fighter's worth is kind of like the worth of an item on eBay: It's worth what someone will pay for it. If you put up an object for sale and believe it to be worth $1,000 and the best offer you get for it is $200, that tells you what it's worth is. This is an ongoing issue that bears watching.

Is there more to this Dan Henderson story than meets the eye? I am sure Dana White is upset that Hendo beat the UFC golden boy, Michael Bisping. It ruined a huge payday for an Anderson Silva-Bisping fight across the pond. It just seems odd that money got between them. Hendo wanted a fight with Silva; he does not want to fight for the Strikeforce championship. Something is missing and I cannot wait for this to shake out.
Brett
Havre, Mont.

I honestly don't think there's more to it right now than the fact the UFC doesn't want to pay what Henderson is asking and Henderson doesn't want to take what the UFC is offering. Henderson has been public about wanting to remain in the UFC. The UFC would like to have him back. But it's all about making a deal that both sides are happy with. If not, Henderson could look for an alternative.