A fight promoter’s job is to attract people to watch his organization’s shows. In doing that job, it’s almost certain that promoters will make some outlandish comments and even a few hypocritical statements as well. I typically take them with a grain of salt, but Dana White’s TV and radio comments in Canada this past weekend almost require a block of it.
John Pollock of Fight Network Radio has a hilarious rant about Dana’s NASCAR and Kimbo comments from over the weekend.
First up were questions about competition and EliteXC’s CBS deal. This is not the first time, and I’m sure it won’t be the last, that Dana used the success of NASCAR as a comparison. That whole argument to me is just ridiculous. NASCAR has a fundamental difference from mixed martial arts. All competitors must race at the same time. I suppose if MMA required all the fighters to fight at the same time in the same ring, Royal Rumble-style, perhaps he might have a point. Simply saying ‘we take our competition very seriously, and we’re constantly doing everything in our power to deliver a higher quality product than our competition’ wouldn’t suffice?
When the topic of EliteXC using Kimbo Slice, the YouTube street fighting legend, as their main event on CBS came up, Dana slammed EliteXC for using the ‘freak show” element to attract new viewers which he says goes against everything he’s been trying to build since day one. Now, I give Dana all the credit in the world for his efforts in cleaning up the sport and getting it sanctioned and regulated. But, if you listened to audio clip above, you can’t help but be reminded of the UFC’s booking of Sean Gannon, fresh off his victory as the only man to ever defeat Kimbo in a street fight, for UFC 55. Apparently, it’s what Dana says, not what he does, that matters.
Season five of The Ultimate Fighter always comes to mind when this sort of topic arises. If you watched that season, then you surely remember the backyard brawl between Noah Thomas and Marlon Sims. Dana White comes to the house and proceeds to rant about how far they’ve come in legitimizing MMA as a sport and how stuff like just what happened could threaten to throw all its credibility away. My immediate reaction was if he is so concerned on how that reflects on the UFC and MMA, then why was it aired? It wasn’t live. They could have edited it out, and just made a statement that Thomas and Sims were kicked off the show for an illegal altercation. To be fair, it may have been Spike’s own decision to air the street fight, although White is such a control-freak about the production of anything UFC-related, I would imagine he could have done something to keep it off television. But I suppose the ratings were more important than presenting a clean image of the sport.
Oh, yeah, and I almost forgot, “Fedor is a farce,” too.
At the end of the day, I guess you just chalk it up as part of the promoter’s job, and nobody does that better than Dana.