UFC President Dana White sat down for an interview with Megan Olivi for UFC Fight Pass’ “The Exchange” that was released today to the streaming service. While “The Exchange” is an in-house production that isn’t going to give much in terms of major bombshells or controversy, White was candid about his reaction to UFC’s sale from the Fertitta’s to WME-IMG last year.
“I didn’t believe it was going to happen. At all,” White said. “We’ve been through [sale talks] before and people have made offers and we’ve gone out and talked to people. And when it happened. If f—ed me up, big time.”
White went on to say that he holed himself up in a room at the Fertitta-owned Palace Station Casino for two days and it took Lorenzo Fertitta coming up to his room to help White come to terms with the sale.
“Lorenzo looked at me and he said, ‘Dude, I’m done. Be happy for me,’ and then I got it,” White described as a turning point that got him back to being himself. White said, despite his initial struggles with the sale, he is in a better place now. He praised his working relationship with new owner Ari Emanuel, and is excited about what the future could bring.
“I love the negativity again,” he said. “I love the doubt. I love it. I feel like I’m back in the old days where everybody doubts and that’s s— that motivates me.”
White also shared in the interview that they had an offer for $5 billion but they opted to go with the WME-IMG bid as they felt WME-IMG has more potential to grow the sport.
Hiscoe’s Analysis: If negativity is what drives Dana White, he must be having the time of his life right now. Fighter morale seems to be at an all-time low. Fighters are leaving for competing promotions and a higher rate than any time in recent history. Fighters such as Al Iaquinta and Frank Mir are openly critical of the company. And many fans appear to be skipping out on all but the biggest events. I’m not sure I believe that the Fertitta’s had a firm $5 billion offer and turned it down. Perhaps there was an offer that didn’t include a position for White, something that may not have been on the table. The “Exchange” interview is far from hard-hitting, but it’s worth a look if you have UFC Fight Pass.
TUESDSAY NOTEBOOK ITEMS…
-Former UFC Lightweight Champion Rafael dos Anjos told “The MMA Hour” that he passed out in the bathtub cutting weight before his fight with Eddie Alvarez last year. He said he was out for three minutes and it largely contributed to his upcoming move to welterweight.
-C.M. Punk will be taking part in an MTV series title “The Challenge.” The show will feature professional athletes competing against winners of MTV franchises “The Real World” and “Road Rules.” (SOURCE)
-Also appearing on “The MMA Hour,” Frank Mir said that his “feelings are hurt” regarding his recent interactions with UFC and his two-year USADA suspension. “I don’t know if this is the same company that I started with 15 years ago.”
-Al Iaquinta appeared on “The MMA Hour” and later Monday on “The Luke Thomas Show” and said that he feels the UFC post-fight bonus structure is the company’s way of controlling fighters. Iaquinta said: “You suck up to the man, you get on the mic, you thank Joe Silva, ‘thank you guys, you guys are the best, thank you, Dana White, thank you, Lorenzo Fertitta,’ and those are the guys who get the bonuses. So it’s their little way. Like, ‘kiss my ass and I’ll give you a little scrap.’”
-Marcos Rogerio de Lima told MMA Fighting that he will move up to heavyweight following missing weight for the second straight time this past weekend. He said he didn’t recover well and a doctor told him fractures to his cheekbone and nose were a result of low potassium and calcium after the weight cut.
-Former UFC Strawweight Title challenger Valerie Letourneau has signed on with Bellator.
FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENT ROUNDUP…
-Cheick Kongo vs. Augusto Sakai at Bellator 179 on May 19 from London, England.
-Darren Till vs. Jessin Ayari at UFC Fight Night Stockholm on May 28.
-Luan Chagas vs. Jim Wallhead at UFC 212 on June 3 from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
-Phil Davis will replace “King Mo” Lawal to fight Ryan Bader in what will be a light heavyweight championship fight at Bellator 180 on June 24.
NOW CHECK OUT YESTERDAY’S UPDATE: MONDAY NEWS DIGEST 4/24: Former UFC lead announcer Mike Goldberg in talks once again with WWE (w/Hiscoe’s Analysis)
(MMATorch’s Daily News Digest features the top story of the day with added analysis, plus smaller tidbits in the News Notes section. Mike Hiscoe, who writes the News Digest Sundays through Thursdays, has a background in film criticism and previously wrote for the DVD Town and Movie Metropolis websites. His passion for Mixed Martial Arts goes back to 2005, but it was in the promotion for UFC 60: Hughes vs. Gracie that he really got hooked.”This is my house, I build it,” is still among the all-time great UFC promos. You can follow Mike on social media under the tag @mikehiscoe. He now provides his experienced writing and perspective on live MMA events for MMATorch.)
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