ESPN The Magazine did a pretty lengthy but good interview with Dana White on everything from Kimbo Slice to Chuck Liddell’s next fight, and an announcement that will “blow people’s minds.”
Kimbo Slice and EliteXC’s ratings success good for the UFC?
We put on fights between the best fighters; we don’t put on freak shows. Even in the dark days, when we were bleeding money, we could have gone out and found a freak show. I could be on CBS right now, but I’m not going to make a crappy deal. We’re in this thing for all the right reasons. Now people are out there trying to cash in. The reality is, everything about that show sucked, but they created some brand confusion. A lot of people thought they were tuning in to the UFC that night. What does that do to me? For you to say that I walked away as a winner, I completely disagree. I lost that night.
Two words, one acronym, one number: Sean Gannon UFC 55.
Randy Couture ever coming back to the UFC?
Better than zero. There’s still a chance. We’re still in litigation with him. But I could see us putting everything behind us some day. I don’t know what will happen. But if we could patch things up, I’d put him in The Octagon in a heart beat. All I care about in this business is putting great fights on. If I can get Randy back, I would.
Without Fedor, the chances are leaning more towards zero, and it doesn’t look like Fedor will be making an appearance in the Octagon anytime soon.
The announcement & Chuck Liddell’s next fight
The [Chuck Liddell] fight is going to be in Atlanta, Georgia—that’s something we haven’t said publicly yet. There’s something no one else has heard. You have no idea some of the stuff that we have planned. I’m going to make an announcement next week that is going to blow people’s minds. That deal is done, but my employees don’t even know yet. I’m renting out a place next Thursday and I’m going to tell them. Then we’ll make the announcement later that day. It’s an indicator of where this business is going over the next five years.
Dana tends to overexaggerate the magnitude of his announcements, but maybe this one will be good. I’m not sure anything he comes out with will “blow people’s minds.” With EliteXC pulling record ratings, everyone expects the UFC to get on network TV.
What could be bigger than that?
Best announcement possible? Chuck Liddell and Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua headlining UFC 88 to be aired live on Fox or ABC.
Most disappointing announcement? UFC landed another blue chip sponsor such as Ford or GM.
Mind-blowing? The UFC opens its doors to co-promoting or lets Randy off the hook.
Now that would be mind-blowing.
Whatever it is, I highly doubt he can “Trump” Afflitction’s latest announcement.