Ten years ago this week, Dana White talks with the Fox Sports website about some hot topics in UFC. The following are key excerpts and Wade Keller’s analysis. The quote that jumps out in retrospect from Dana is predicting that Anderson Silva would prove to be Rich Franklin’s first really tough challenge yet as Middleweight Champion.
The Fox Sports website features an interview with Dana White this weekend. Here are highlights:
-Regarding the Liddell-Wanderlei Silva match being off: They [Pride] talk a lot of s– but never back it up. I’m here I’m ready, Chuck’s here, he’s ready. It’s not that Wanderlei doesn’t want the fight, he’s a fighter. No disrespect to him. You know who I’m talking about. I’ve been trying to do this for five years. I sent (Liddell) over to Japan and he fought three or four times over there. They like to yap but they don’t like to back it up.
-On whether he’s sending Liddell to Pride’s October Vegas event: Hell no. Absolutely not. That’s ridiculous. I’ve done it three times already. They like to talk. (Liddell added: “I fought a couple times over there and they could have matched me up with Wanderlei and they didn’t.”) …. Obviously this is a good fight. I think it would be a great fight and it would be a sin if it didn’t happen, but it’s the best fight out there. …
-On Pride entering “UFC’s market” of the U.S.: They suck. They talk too much. They don’t back it up. They like to talk. They’re in trouble over there and they’re trying to make a splash over here. They’re trying to talk s– with me to get it. I think they’re going to have a tough run over here. Anyone who can rub two nickels together is trying to get into the MMA business right now. It’s not an easy business to be in. It took us six years to figure this out. It’s going to be tough for them. It’s a different market. It would be like me trying to do a show in Japan tomorrow. I wouldn’t know what to do. I think they’re going to burn through a lot of cash and I don’t think they’re going to make any money.
-On another Tito-Chuck fight: Tito (Ortiz) has wanted to fight Chuck, Chuck wants to fight Tito, it will probably happen. It would be in Vegas. December 30th at the MGM Grand. Tito feels he can beat Chuck, feels he didn’t have the right game plan (when they last fought), he had injuries, typical Tito stuff every time he fights.
-On Tito-Shamrock III: After that fight, that’s the first time, I’ve never, in the six years we’ve owned the company, that’s the first time that’s ever happened where people were so angry they were throwing things. I’d go out to the supermarket and people would tell me it was horrible and the show sucked and they felt like they got robbed. I don’t ever want our fans to feel that way after a show. So we’re going to put this on TV for free and we’re going to finish it. That’s why its happening.
-On Rich Franklin vs. Anderson Silva: An awesome fight, A great fight. I couldn’t pick a winner right now, honestly. This is going to be the first real test for Rich Franklin.
Also, White said Quinton “Rampage” Jackson will fight in UFC, and it’s just a matter of time… He said, and Chuck who was standing near him agreed, the Griffin isn’t ready for fight for the title yet, but he’s coming along well… White thought Bonnar vs. Griffin was really close… He said Chuck Congo isn’t ready for Tim Sylvia yet, but is a strong prospect… He complimented the Karo Parisyan-Diego Sanchez fight as one of the best he’s ever seen… He gave Chuck a hard time for making it sound like he’s not the least bit worried about Ortiz, as if it won’t help sell the fight…
KELLER’S ANALYSIS: Tito is a big enough name and personality to sell the Chuck Liddell fight and offset Liddell’s supreme confidence. However, if Tito has any trouble with Shamrock and then gets squashed by Liddell, Tito’s drawing power will suffer and he’ll become a novelty act who is involved in “feuds” (manufactured or genuine), but not the title picture. A rematch with Griffin is money, though, so he’s set for a while… I’m looking forward to Rich Franklin vs. Anderson Silva more than any fight in the next few months, now that Liddell-W. Silva is off… The comment about Tito’s excuses for losing fights was borderline mocking and pretty blunt…