Rundown of news and notes from Dana White’s chat with reporters following today’s UFC 136 press conference. Also, Dana White’s interviews with MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani and Heavy.com’s Megan Olivi.
— Dana White doesn’t seem to mind that Spike TV is countering their UFC on FOX debut and other shows down the road. The way he sees it, whether fans are watching his programming live or taped it’s all good for him as long they’re watching his programming. Not sure FOX would agree, especially if Spike digs into their ratings, but Dana doesn’t hold any ill will towards Spike he says.
— Strikeforce’s fate has either been decided or is very close to being decided. Dana says Lorenzo Fertitta was in New York today talking to Showtime about Strikeforce’s future on their network. He planned to talk to him about it when he got done with all the media interviews today. Sounds like we’ll find out very soon.
— There isn’t going to be a Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard IV regardless of how the fight turns out Saturday night.
“(Let’s) put it behind us,” White today said at a pre-event press conference in support of Saturday’s fight, which takes place at Houston’s Toyota Center. “This division is stacked with tons of talent, and there’s a lot of good fights to make at 155.”
Dana isn’t sure who’s next but maintained that Gilbert Melendez and Melvin Guillard are definite possibilities along with others like Clay Guida and Ben Henderson. He says he’ll “yank” Melendez over to the UFC if he has to, but thinks that Melendez would be better served to do a tune-up fight to shake off the UFC jitters before fighting for the title.
— Matt Hughes will be flying to Vegas soon to meet with Dana White regarding his future. Dana thinks Hughes should retire but he fully expects Hughes to fight him on it.
“It doesn’t matter what he says and what he wants to do; Hughes is going to be with us forever,” White said. “Whether he talks me into doing [a fight] one more time – which I prefer he didn’t; I’d rather he didn’t – I’d really like to see him retire. I get to his point with these guys – him, Chuck Liddell, these guys who dominated all these years and were such a large part of us growing. (I’m like), ‘Why? What’s next?’
“Matt Hughes, believe me when I tell you, he doesn’t need money. He’s set. He doesn’t ever need to work again. He doesn’t need to fight again. He has plenty of money.”
“He’s the worst,” White joked. “He’s the absolute worst. The worst. When I go in and give bonuses to all the fighters at the end (of an event), he’s always negotiating in there for everybody. On ‘The Ultimate Fighter,’ he was always arguing for money for the guys. He was the worst.
“So yeah, if he wants to keep fighting. it’s not going to be a fun conversation. He’s going to be negotiating and busting my balls and everything else. I’d love to see him just hang it up now. We’ll do something else together. He doesn’t need to fight anymore. I don’t want to see it anymore.”
I have to agree with Dana on that one, but I doubt Hughes will. I bet we’ll see him in a couple more.
— Georges St. Pierre and Nick Diaz may still meet in a welterweight title fight if they walk away winners at UFC 137, but GSP and BJ Penn probably won’t if they both win. Dana White doesn’t think anyone wants to see them fight a third time.
“This is one of those situations where we were talking about if Chael [Sonnen] or [Brian] Stann should win, this is different. I don’t know how many people are clamoring to see B.J. versus GSP again. But if Nick [Daiz] should win [against Penn at UFC 137], I think that’s a fight that people want to see.”
Yeah, I don’t think that fight’s necessary.
— Dana White confirmed that Chael Sonnen, Dan Henderson and Brian Stann are all in the running to fight Anderson Silva next. The Sonnen-Stann winner will certainly be an option, but so will Dan Henderson if he beats Shogun Rua at UFC 139.
“Should Dan win, he’s definitely one of the guys that could go take that fight,” White said today following a UFC 136 pre-event press conference.
“How could you feel that if Sonnen wins, he deserves a shot at the title, but if not Stann doesn’t?” White asked. “Stann’s been on a tear. He beat some good guys and looked good doing it – (Chris) Leben, (Jorge) Santiago and now Chael? That would be tough to deny him.”
I guess my question is why would Dan Henderson get a title shot at middleweight when he’s been competing at light heavyweight (and heavyweight) for the past three fights (four if you count Shogun). The last time he fought at middleweight he lost to Jake Shields. Shouldn’t be in the running for the light heavyweight title?
— Dana backtracked a little bit on the dual Japan/Vegas event night next Feb. in the interview with Megan Olivi below. He says it’s not in stone just yet, but says those type of dual US/International event nights will happen.