MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani spoke to Dana White following the UFC 119 pre-fight press conference earlier today. After Dana finished talking about UFC 119, he addressed the Chael Sonnen situation. He has spoken to Sonnen since the news broke that he tested positive for steroids, but wouldn’t say whether he thinks Chael is guilty or not. All he would say is “there’s more to the story than is being told” and it will all come out during Sonnen’s appeal to the commission. As far as Dana is concerned, it’s between Sonnen and the commission and he’s going to wait and see how the situation plays out before figuring out what’s next for Chael Sonnen in the UFC.
As for his and the UFC’s role in dealing with steroid offenders, Dana says it’s the commission’s place to administer the drug testing and dole out the punishments, not theirs.
“Here’s the thing you guys have got to understand. I’ve been in this business for 10 years. I’ve been in the fight business since I was 19. There’s a lot of stuff you guys don’t know. Every day, when my big toe hits the floor and I get out of bed, that sh*t happens. I have to deal with it. It’s no different than any other day. Am I disappointed? Yes, absolutely… The big misconception is that Dana tells the athletic commission this and that. I don’t tell the athletic commission jack sh*t. The athletic commission could give a flying rat’s a*s what I think or what I have to say. They oversee me. They tell me what I’ve got to do. I have to sit back now and see what’s going to happen… Every other sport has a commissioner. The NFL has a commissioner. When something goes wrong he comes in and says here’s what’s going to happen. The government tells my fighters what’s going to happen to them. Every time these guys step inside the Octagon and compete the government is overseeing this. They drug test them. They do all the medical testing. They do everything. They tell me what’s going to happen… The government will come in. They’ll test these guys. You get yourself busted for taking whatever it was you were taking, marijuana, or some illegal substance. Here’s what I’m going to do (if I’m the commission). I’m going to take away your ability to work for a year. You can’t make a living for a year… Then on top of that I’m going to make you pay a fine from this fight you were having. Most of these fighters—that money that they had from their fight—that’s already spent. I’m going to buy this and I’m going to do that. Plus, the tax on that money. They’re going to get taxed on that money and they have to pay that fine… You don’t realize how devastating it is. They’ve already been punished. They’re down and out. What am I going to do? Go over and kick them in the face? What else is there to do? I’m going to fine you and suspend you for another three months? The government is the commissioner!”
Dana did however specify that someone such as Josh Barnett who has tested positive three times, denied each one, and not shown an ounce of remorse for the people and businesses he’s affected would never be welcomed in the UFC. He doesn’t want that type of person fighting in his organization.
Later in the Helwani interview, Dana also clarified why they decided to let Todd Duffee and Efrain Escudero go. Dana says Duffee had a “horrible attitude” after his loss to Mike Russow and wasn’t acting like he wanted to be in the UFC. As for Escudero, between his lackluster performances and missing weight, Dana thinks he got “comfortable” and wasn’t taking his career in the UFC as serious as he should be.
Video of Dana speaking about the UFC, the commissions, and steroids to the media via Heavy.com.