Since winning the UFC Welterweight Title last year, Tyron Woodley has claimed he has been the worst treated champion in history and says the reason is due to racism.
“The second I bring up race in the sport I’m immediately race baiting,” Woodley told Ariel Helwani this week. “I can point out clear facts: no other champion has been treated like me.”
Dana White, however, believes Woodley brings a lot of criticism upon himself by engaging with internet trolls. He also denounces his claims of racism. “That’s not what people want to hear,” White said. “People don’t want to hear that. And then what he does is he’ll start fighting and arguing with people on social media. Then he wonders why when we show up to a press conference, the whole crowd is booing him. They’re not booing him because he’s black. There’s tons of black guys fighting in the UFC, you know what I mean?”
White went as far as to say Woodley could be the next big thing in MMA if he were able to avoid controversy. “If Tyron Woodley had that attitude, Tyron Woodley would be a massive star,” White said. “If you look at the guy, right, he’s the perfect specimen. He’s the perfect athlete that you can get behind and promote until he shoots himself in the foot and does that type of stuff”.
Woodley is scheduled to face Stephen Thompson in a rematch on March 4 at UFC 209.
Cervantes Analysis: Thompson has a tendency to be a little hot-headed in engaging with fans but I wouldn’t brush aside his concerns the way White did. I’m not sure if he means he’s been the worst treated within the company or by fans of the sport, because plenty of fighters still get a lot of heat from fans. The more vocal and controversial the fighter, the more they seem to invite hate from critics so if Woodley is tired of hearing criticism he may just need to stop engaging with Internet trolls. At the very least it’ll offer some relief and allow him to focus on becoming more marketable so he can become the next big star in the UFC.
FRIDAY NOTEBOOK ITEMS…
-During a Q&A with UFC, Khabib Nurmagomedov said that he would help the UFC “humble” Conor McGregor.
-Speaking with MMA Junkie, Cheick Kongo said he is ready to pass the torch to Francis Ngannou as the French face of MMA.
-According to Bloody Elbow. Tony Ferguson said he would “choke” Khabib Nurmagomedov out in their upcoming bout.
-Bellator announced a Bantamweight World Title fight between Eduardo “Dudu” Dantas (19-4) and Darrion “The Wolf” Caldwell (10-1) for Bellator 177: Dantas vs. Caldwell. It will take place in Budapest, Hungary at the Sports Arena on April 14. The MMA portion of the evening will also feature a featherweight bout between Hungarian-born Adam “The Kid” Borics (5-0) and Anthony “Pretty Boy” Taylor (1-2). In addition, Bellator Kickboxing 6 will be headlined by a Welterweight World Title rematch featuring Zoltan Laszak (11-2) against Karim Ghajji (97-13-1). Additional bouts for both events will be announced in the coming weeks. Bellator 177: Dantas vs. Caldwell will be broadcast on Spike TV at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT, while Bellator Kickboxing 6 will air immediately following the MMA portion of the event, beginning at 11 p.m. ET/10 p.m. CT.
-Catching up on a result from last weekend, at the Feb. 3 Lion Fight 34 in Las Vegas, Nev. at the Tropicana, reigning champion Regian “The Immortal” Eersel defended his world super middleweight title at Lion Fight 34 with what Lion Fight’s press release describes as “a first-round destruction of challenger D.C. Pratt.” Eersel’s first successful title defense was the main event and aired live on AXS TV Fights in the United States plus Fight Network throughout Canada, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.
NOW CHECK OUT YESTERDAY’S UPDATE: THURSDAY NEWS DIGEST 2/9: Spike TV undergoing branding as Paramount Network, unlikely to change Bellator’s standing (w/Hisoe’s Analysis)