As usual, Dana White chatted with the press about all the hot topics in MMA following today’s UFC 135 pre-fight press conference. MMA Nation has video of the chat above. Below, rundown of all the news and notes along with Dana’s interview with MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani.
— Now that Nick Diaz, Alistair Overeem and Dan Henderson have all officially left Strikeforce, pretty much no one expects the organization to stick around in its current form when the Showtime deal ends in Feb. 2012. Dana White says however that Strikeforce’s future is completely in Showtime’s hands.
“Who knows what’s going to happen? The way this thing works is, it depends on Showtime. The ball’s in their court. They need to decide whether they want to keep Strikeforce around or not.”
“It depends on whether they seriously want to stay in the business, the mixed martial arts business,” White said, before hinting that he thought Strikeforce had signed a bad deal when it aligned itself with Showtime.
“Everybody that comes into this business thinks that pay-per-view or free TV is the holy grail, the answer to everybody’s problems. Bulls–t. Either of those two things will put you out of business. You get into a bad deal with one of these companies, and the next thing you know you’re $30 million in the hole.”
“I would classify everybody who’s done a television deal out there besides us has done a bad deal. Everyone.”
Dana added that Showtime only has about a month left to decide whether or not they want to extend the contract with Showtime, but reading between the lines it doesn’t sound like Zuffa is just going to agree to the same terms that Scott Coker and Co. did even if Showtime is interested. If you ask me, the writing’s on the wall.
— Nick Diaz is officially off Dana White’s shit list. Dana says he’s spent some quality time on the phone with Diaz since the press conference incident and has come to the realization that he’s just going to have deal with him differently than the other fighters.
“Here’s the thing with Nick Diaz, which I’m not used to, but I’m going to get used to it: He’s just a different guy,” White today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). “I’m going to have to handle him and deal with him differently than I do every other guy in the UFC.”
“It’s not that he has to,” he said. “But you have to play by some of the rules. I’m not asking you to not be yourself … or come up to me and say ‘hi’ to me when you see me. It doesn’t matter. But I think I can work with it, and I think we can figure this thing out. I respect him as a fighter, people like to see him fight, there’s no doubt he’s got a little nutty side to him, but we’ll figure this thing out.
“What I’m more worried about are the things that he has to do, like follow the rules that the athletic commission of whatever state we’re in lays down. You’ve got to follow those rules. There’s no bending or curving on that. All the other stuff is all, who cares. The kid’s a fighter.”
Dana hasn’t confirmed that Diaz will get another title shot if he beats BJ Penn, but he hasn’t ruled it out either.
— Dan Henderson vs. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Wanderlei Silva vs. Cung Le are the official main and co-main events for UFC 139. As expected, Dana White hinted that Hendo and Shogun could very well determine who fights for the UFC light heavyweight title after Rashad Evans.
“It would be tough not to give the winner of that fight the next shot after Rashad (Evans),” White said. “Rashad’s next.”
Dana confirmed that the potential number one contender’s bout will be a five-rounder.
— Wanderlei Silva’s future in the UFC could be on the line when he faces Cung Le at UFC 139. Dana stopped short of saying that he would definitely force Wand to retire if he loses to Le, but he definitely hinted that it’s a real possibility.
“It’s one of those things,” White said. “There’s this fine line between telling a guy you’ve got to hang it up and him actually wanting to hang it up. We’ll give him this fight with Cung Le, and we’ll go from there.”
“He knew going into that last fight how I felt about it,” White told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). “The thing with me is, I love Wanderlei. Wanderlei has been awesome ever since he’s come to the UFC. You couldn’t ask for a nicer guy and a guy who goes in and gives it all. But listen, I don’t want to see a guy go in and get hurt. You guys have heard me say it a million times: I don’t want to make one dollar of that kind of money. I don’t. Otherwise, if that was the case, Chuck Liddell would still be fighting.
“People get pissed off every time I say this – people are like, ‘Who are you?’ Unfortunately for people who don’t like it, I am the one who makes those decisions. Whether you like it or not, too [expletive] bad.”
— Neither Dana White nor Matt Hughes knows what’s next for him after the Koscheck fight, but neither are talking like this is the end if Hughes loses. All Hughes would say is he doesn’t want to fight in his 40’s. He’s 37 now. You do the math.
— Don’t tell Clay Guida and Ben Henderson, but Dana White seems to be favoring Melvin Guillard for the next lightweight title shot if he beats Joe Lauzon at UFC 136.