Luke Rockhold might have put his foot in his mouth and Dana White isn’t letting him get away with it.
The former UFC Middleweight Champion Rockhold, was critical of current UFC matchmaking during an appearance on “The MMA Hour” last week, specifically on the since-canceled Georges St-Pierre-Michael Bisping title fight. Rockhold urged his fellow top middleweights to refuse to take a fight until an interim championship was created while GSP and Bisping waited to sort things out.
Since then, the Bisping-GSP fight has been called off, but that hasn’t stopped Rockhold from blasting the boss for that matchmaking. Rockhold took to Twitter this afternoon to air his grievances. He opened with a quote from White in response to Rockhold’s “MMA Hour” appearance.
“You have to earn your way in this company?” Rockhold quoted White as saying. “Tell me how did GSP earn a Middleweight Title shot? Think before you run your mouth.”
The ever volatile White, who has been uncharacteristically reserved in the months since UFC was sold to WME-IMG, posted the following response directed at Rockhold.
“I usually never respond but GSP never lost his title. Bisping, GSP and the fans wanted it. Stick to fighting and modeling and leave the matchmaking to us.”
GSP, of course, was a longtime welterweight champion before vacating the title in 2013 to take a break from the sport. He announced his return earlier this year and was soon matched up with Bisping, only to have disputes over when the fight would take place lead to the fight’s demise.
Rockhold has yet to respond publicly, but White has made it clear that, even under a new regime, speaking out against UFC isn’t going to get you what you want. That is unless you’re a big enough draw.
Hiscoe’s Analysis: I think most fans understand the frustration that Luke Rockhold and the other top middleweights have been feeling this year, and going back even further to when Bisping was matched up with Dan Henderson. For White to say “the fans wanted it” regarding the Bisping-GSP fight is a bit of a stretch. It was an interesting fight and it was going to do big business, but it wasn’t even on fans’ radars before it was made and it probably wouldn’t make the top five of what many would want to see for GSP’s first fight back in 4 years. Rockhold might be in the doghouse right now, but UFC needs names to fill slots on all the shows they’re running so he’ll still be in a key fight sometime this summer. He just might have a longer path to the top than he did before he spoke out.
TUESDAY NOTEBOOK ITEMS…
-Referee Herb Dean is standing by his decision to rule the Eddie Alvarez-Dustin Poirier fight from UFC 211 a no contest. Dean felt that Alvarez threw the knee that led to the end of the fight “unintentionally” and that Alvarez didn’t know Poirier’s knee was on the mat. “There’s a lot going on in there, and that’s why (referees) give people a little bit of leeway with some of those rules. I reserve ‘intentional’ for someone acting out of the rules and being a bad guy, and they need to be disqualified. I don’t think (Alvarez) was trying to be a bad person. I think he was trying to fight within the rules – it’s just that it’s difficult.” (SOURCE)
-The California State Athletic Commission has unanimously passed the 10-point plan to combat weight cutting in MMA. The regulations will be in effect as of June 15 meaning UFC 214 headlined by Daniel Cormier vs. Jon Jones will be subject to the new regulations. Fighters will have their weights checked 10 and 30 days out from the fight, will be licensed to a specific weight class, and will have their win bonuses subject to fine should they miss weight. 165, 175, 195, and 225-pound weight classes are also part of the plan but it is unclear how UFC will adopt these as the regulations are currently only instituted in California. (SOURCE)
-The UFC 211 prelims averaged 1.148 million viewers on FX Saturday night. That’s well up from the 723,000 viewers the UFC 210 prelims did on FS1.
-Christian Colombo vs. Damian Grabowski is off of the UFC Fight Night Stockholm card for May 28 after injuries were sustained by both fighters.
FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENT ROUND-UP
-Oliver Enkamp replaces Emil Meet to fight Nordine Taleb at UFC Fight Night Stockholm.
-Darrell Horcher vs. Devin Powell and Alex Garcia vs. Tim Means have been made for UFC Fight Night Oklahoma City on June 25.
NOW CHECK OUT YESTERDAY’S UPDATE: MONDAY NEWS DIGEST 5/15: Another UFC pay-per-view, another officiating controversy, Conor agrees (w/Hiscoe’s Analysis)