MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani spoke with Dana White about a variety of hot UFC topics following their interview that changed the MMA world this past weekend.
A few notes:
— Dana gives his thoughts on the budding rivalry between Greg Jackson teammates Rashad Evans and Jon Jones. Dana confirms that Rashad Evans is still the number one contender and should want to fight the Shogun-Jones winner. He doesn’t explicitly say Evans will fight the winner, but it sounds like that’s where it’s going especially if Jones wins. For all the years he has been talking about it, I don’t think Dana would pass on the opportunity to pit two willing teammates against each other in a major title fight.
— Dana isn’t worried about Georges St. Pierre vocalizing his concerns about fighting Anderson Silva. (As Michael Rome pointed out on SBNation, GSP is probably acting like he’s disinterested to give him more leverage in negotiations.) Dana says GSP and Anderson Silva will agree to the fight if the stars align, however he may have added one more star to the equation. He’s beginning to think Anderson Silva will need to beat Yushin Okami in addition to GSP beating Jake Shields before they’ll put it together. Sounds like a timing issue to me. They probably don’t want Silva sitting around waiting while GSP puts on weight for six months.
— Dana revealed Michael Bisping’s punishment for spitting on Jorge Rivera’s corner at UFC 127. He didn’t give him bonus, but he didn’t specify if he was talking about his win bonus or some other undisclosed bonus. No “fine” or “suspension.” That’s up to the athletic commissions says Dana.
— He doesn’t know when Chael Sonnen will return or if he’ll fight Michael Bisping when he does return. He needs to take care of his personal business first, but did say Chael asked not to be cut when everything went down. Dana obliged and chose to “freeze his contract” instead.
— Dana confirmed earlier reports that UFC pay-per-views will begin an hour early at 9pm ET/6pm PT starting with UFC 129 on April 30. This will be a permanent change. They made the decision based on a study they conducted at their live events. Says everyone wants it and it makes sense.
— Dana doesn’t know what’s going on with Thiago Silva yet, but confirmed that Brandon Vera is back in the UFC.