Full Contact Fighter’s “The Daily Takedown:” UFC Prez Dana White Picking Another Fight With A Fighter; Are Fighters Getting Tired Of Him?
By Joshua Molina
Dana White would like Forrest Griffin to retire. Increasingly, more fighters want Dana White to shut up.
The latest among them is UFC heavyweight Roy Nelson, who blasted White this week.
Nelson and White have clashed during filming of the latest season of The Ultimate Fighter. In response to White criticizing Nelson for saying “dumb *!#&” during filming, Nelson said: “It’s probably because he wants to be a fighter, and he’s not.”
The two clashed over Nelson’s choices for coaches for the show. White nixed some of the names Nelson proposed. Nelson’s comments point to a larger problem with White and the UFC. Rather than acting like a neutral promoter, he picks fights with the fighters. And White’s word has increasingly come under scrutiny, a fact not lost on Nelson.
“You never know with Dana,” Nelson told MMA Junkie. “Dana will tell you guys one thing, and then five minutes later tell you another. Last week, ‘Shogun’ (Rua) and Brandon Vera were fighting for the title, and now all of the sudden, (Lyoto) Machida and Ryan Bader are, too. Next thing you know, he’s going to say Randy Couture gets the next title shot when he comes back.”
White’s most famous UFC feud was with a man whom he recently honored and was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame – Tito Ortiz. In 2008, White told Yahoo! sports this about Ortiz:
“He’s one of the most dishonest human beings I’ve ever met,” White said. “I put up with him when he was a good fighter. He’s not anymore. He’s done. I’m no longer in the Tito Ortiz business.”
White also said at the time to Yahoo!: “Look at his record. When was the last time he beat a legitimate top contender? Forrest Griffin was right out of ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ and a lot of people think Griffin won that fight. You have to go back to Vitor Belfort (in early 2005). He’s not ranked in anyone’s top 10.”
White and Ortiz were even scheduled to fight in an exhibition boxing match on pay per view in 2008 – a fight that Ortiz pushed for. The fight never happened and eventually White changed his mind again and went back into the “Tito Ortiz business,” promoting several more of his fights and allowing his Hall of Fame induction.
Most MMA fans know about White’s feud with UFC pioneer Frank Shamrock. Because of a personal beef, White diminishes Shamrock’s accomplishments and Shamrock recently called White a “douchebag.” White publicly goes around telling people that MMA icon Fedor Emelianenko “sucks.” Fedor retired before fighting in the UFC. Although White at one point made a huge push to sign Emelianenko, he turned on him once negotiations went sour.
The main problem with White’s criticisms of the fighters he promotes is that undermines his trustworthiness and authority.
In a 2010 interview seen here, White said this about Alistair Overeem: “I find it hilarious that he’s ranked in the Top 10. What has he done in MMA to be ranked in the Top 10?” He also said that anyone who ranks Overeem in the Top 12 “should be embarrassed.”
White booked Overeem to fight for the UFC heavyweight championship against Junior Dos Santos in May. Overeem was ousted after he tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone. Now White is considering putting Overeem in the main event against Dos Santos at a December card, if Overeem can hit his license back to fight in Nevada.
White’s doing a lot right, because the UFC is wildly popular. But fighters still wish he would just shut up.