There’s no doubt that MMA is the world’s hardest hitting sport – but this means the owner must be every bit as tenacious as the competitors.
And while the athletes focus their attention on throwing punches and cranking submissions inside the Octagon, UFC president Dana White throws his barbs on the microphone.
During a recent interview, White spoke about a number of different topics, but didn’t mince words when it came to a couple of the more controversial ones. This includes a controversial booking decision and his relationship with one of the roster’s current world champions.
To start, the UFC has been planning their first card on ESPN+ for months now and recently announced NFL star Greg Hardy would be making his main roster debut on the card. Hardy, while a promising talent and a great athlete, has a past marred by domestic violence issues.
This is also the same card where Rachael Ostovich will compete – a woman who was recently the victim of domestic violence from her husband. White was asked whether the UFC felt it was insensitive to put them both on the same card, and his response was as much of a Dana-response as you could get.
White implied no one was put off about it – because there was only one person whose opinion mattered. Given Hardy is a member of the UFC roster, White only asked Ostovich herself if the decision to put them on the same card was okay. She replied it didn’t matter to her, as Hardy’s situation was completely different from hers, and that she wasn’t going to let anything cost her her spot on the ESPN+ debut card.
While he was fed up from discussing this issue, insinuating people were blowing it out of proportion, he also addressed another touchy topic – the current welterweight champion Tyron Woodley. Acknowledging Woodley has a thumb injury and confirming he did believe him, White seemed frustrated nonetheless.
He noted that while Woodley fought three months ago, scoring a submission win against previously unbeaten Darren Till, it took them forever to make that fight. White said: “Guy never wants to fight. Wants to be the world champion but doesn’t want to fight anybody. That’s a problem. That’s a problem.”
Woodley has a lot going on between a FOX Sports commentary position, a budding rap career, and frequent TMZ appearances. But his role as world champion means he’s a fighter who needs to be consistent, though apparently, he isn’t as consistent as the boss would like him to be.
White also stressed he didn’t want sound bites getting out and making it seem like he had disrespected Woodley or that he was being hard to work with. It’s got to be tough being the boss, especially when big cards are to be made and controversy is present – but that’s why he’s paid the big bucks.
The UFC’s deal with ESPN+ starts in 2019, and more fights may be announced for the debut card soon.