Islam Makhachev unbothered by Dana White’s response to UFC 284 promotion complaints, forgetting his name
PERTH, Australia – Islam Makhachev is not phased about the usual pre-fight saga with UFC president Dana White ahead of his super fight with Alexander Volkanovski.
After Makhachev (23-1 MMA, 12-1 UFC) voiced some disappointment around the promotion for Saturday’s champion-vs-champion fight with Volkanovski (25-1 MMA, 12-0 UFC), which headlines UFC 284 at RAC Arena on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN and ESPN+. White replied claiming the comments were “taken out of context.” Additionally, White said Makhachev “doesn’t know anything” about how the event is truly being promoted because he lives in Dagestan, and claimed the event is trending to be a massive success.
Makhachev confirmed he had a behind-the-scenes conversation with White over the issue, and although he would’ve been willing to do more to promote the card, he also said that if the UFC brass is comfortable, then he is, too.
“All media, when they come they give me the same question, ‘What do you think about promotion?’ For me, I tell them, ‘Hey, I’m ready to travel around the world and promote this fight,'” Makhachev told MMA Junkie. “But the UFC don’t want. Two days ago I talked with Dana on Instagram and (he said) we have some plan, but I wait for his answer.”
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The optics around the entire situation were highlighted this past Saturday, when at the UFC Fight Night 218 post-fight news conference, White seemed to have a brain fart and couldn’t properly remember Makhachev’s name when discussing UFC 284. Some pundits speculated that White intentionally slighted the 155-pound champ, but Makhachev said he didn’t take it personally, and is of the belief it was a genuine mistake.
“For U.S people, this is not easy,” Makhachev said. “My surname he forget. Makhachev (is) not easy for the U.S. Like Nurmagomedov. I don’t hear anybody say right. Everybody does some mistake. I don’t care. … For sure he respects all champions. I don’t think bad about people.”
Dana White says legacy is at stake in Saturday's "monster" #UFC284 champ-vs-champ fight between Makhachev and Volkanovski.
Full interview: https://t.co/GVyfxnFZfQ pic.twitter.com/wWmP31EPQS
— MMA Junkie (@MMAJunkie) February 5, 2023
Regardless of the event promotion or any other outside forces going on around UFC 284, Makhachev said he won’t let his focus be taken from the task at hand. He may be the one defending his title in the headlining act, but he has something to gain in this fight with his hopes to take Volkanovski’s position as the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the sport.
“I’m really happy,” Makhachev said. “I don’t just defend the belt or something like that. I fight for new, to be pound-for-pound best fighter. I think it’s best. It’s not just defense. It’s for me new title title, No. 1.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 284.
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