The UFC's director of public relations, Dave Sholler, was put in a tough spot recently when he hosted a media day that included a stare-down between light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier. As most of you know by now, Jones decided to head butt (lightly) Cormier, Cormier responded by shoving Jones, and then all heck broke loose as Jones knocked Sholler down and fired back with punches at Cormier.
The stage fell apart, Jones and Cormier hit the ground, crowds of people tried to break them up and the UFC got a dangerous but potent promotional gift of hype for the now-postponed title bout. Typically, UFC president Dana stands between fighters as they stare each other down at media events and weigh-ins but the boss man wasn't around that particular time and left Sholler in charge.
This week, White spoke up and said that he would have handled things a lot differently, had he been there, simply because he's had so much experience in similar situations."As soon as Jones went up and their bodies touched, I would have separated them," White told UFC.com.
"Sometimes you'll see me put a hand in, or sometimes you'll see me do something else. I would have separated them. It was the head butt - Jones headbutted Cormier - that's what upset him and made him push him back. I would have got my arm in there before that contact was even made. I would have seen the contact coming and I would have stopped it. Then I would have been right in the middle."
White didn't see anything too crazy in the brawl, and understands how things can naturally escalate quickly between men contracted to hurt one another. "One little thing can trigger two guys, who are the baddest dudes on the planet, who are face to face," he explained.
"That's what they do, period. People can try to sugar coat it or try to spin any way that they want, that's the reality. That's who they are, that's what they're paid to do and that's what you show up to watch. These guys, that's who they are to the core. And when you get two guys like that and you don't handle the situation the right way to defuse it, that's what happens. The difference is that Sholler has never been in that position before...These guys are fighters, man, they're ready to go. And that's what makes the weigh-ins so amazing and why I love it so much. Those staredowns, there's nothing [expletive] like it."
Though White said he would have likely seen the trouble coming a little sooner than Sholler, he didn't go so far as to say he would have been able to do much to stop Jones and Cormier, once they started fighting. "Would I have stopped that whole thing from going down, who the [expletive] knows?" he said.
"I wasn't here."