Most episodes of Dana White’s Contender Series produce more than one UFC contract winner. In fact, almost all of them do.
It’s just the nature of the beast when you have unproven fighters pitted against each other with an opportunity to secure their UFC futures.
Through five seasons and 46 events, only twice has White – the UFC president for whom the show is named – signed one fighter. Then last week’s DWCS 47 happened to open Season 6, which ended with three decisions out of four fights. Only Joe Pyfer, who knocked out Ozzy Diaz in the second round, was awarded a contract, and his first official UFC appearance is already booked.
The night of fights had White feeling a disappointment he hasn’t felt since Season 3 in 2019, when Phil Rowe was the only fighter to earn a deal at DWCS 28.
“This is a huge opportunity for these kids. And it’s like, all right, you had a sh*tty first round. Let’s get after it in the second round. Let’s get after it in the third round. I saw none of that (last week),” White said. “I saw nobody trying until Pyfer. Even when their fights were over, nobody was overly excited. Nobody thought they delivered tonight. Nobody was acting like they were on to bigger things. I didn’t feel that at all.”
White was especially perturbed by how the event unfolded because he finally convinced former UFC owner and good friend Lorenzo Fertitta to watch an episode cageside at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
“You know how hard it is to get Lorenzo Fertitta out of the house?” White said. “… I said I owe you one.”
Contender Series is back Tuesday night with DWCS 48, and already it’s off to a better start than last week after all 10 fighters made weight Monday in a matter of minutes. Last week, Willian Souza was stunningly 10 pounds over the limit for his bantamweight fight with Farid Basharat, which forced a cancellation by the Nevada Athletic Commission.
Heading into Tuesday night, White’s message couldn’t be more clear.
“We go out, we put all this time and effort into finding the most talented unsigned guys in the world, and I don’t give a sh*t what you did yesterday, two years, through the rest of your career,” White said. “Right here, right now show me, show the media members that are here, and show the rest of the world who you are. Who are you?
“Every night is not gonna be your night, but f*cking Tuesday night better be. Tuesday night better be your night.”