SATURDAY NEWS DIGEST 12/8: Dana White defiant about Greg Hardy booking, criticizes Tyron Woodley, Donald Cerrone booked for ESPN card (UPDATED)

By Michael Hiscoe, Managing Editor

Aug 25, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; UFC president Dana White during weigh ins for the fight between Conor McGregor against Floyd Mayweather in a boxing match at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Dana goes full Dana ahead of UFC 231

Dana White let off some steam when speaking to reporters after Friday’s UFC 231 weigh-ins. Notably, White was defiant when it came to criticism of UFC for booking Greg Hardy, who was convicted and sentenced for domestic abuse before having the charges dropped, on the same card as recent domestic violence survivor Rachael Ostovich.

“I’m not going to talk about Greg Hardy anymore,” White said (transcribed by MMA Junkie). “I already covered this. I’m not playing this bullshit with you guys. He’s on the UFC roster. He’s on the UFC roster – period, end of story.”

White’s defense of the questionable choice has been that Ostovich gave the OK to be on the card with Hardy. Ostovich has confirmed this sentiment, but Ostovich’s approval does little to dim the negative optics of the situation. This is where there seems to be a disconnect between White and those criticizing the choice.

“The weird thing is you guys give a (expletive), but she doesn’t. She doesn’t care. You know what she said yesterday in her statement? ‘Please stop asking me about this. I want to focus on training. I don’t want this to be an issue for me, I don’t know this guy. This guy has nothing to do with me. I have nothing to do with this guy. This guy’s never done anything to me. This isn’t an issue.’

“You, you. you … and a lot of other people are making this an issue. It’s not an issue for her. She actually doesn’t want to talk about it anymore.”

White saved some fire for Tyron Woodley

White managed to save something for questions about the landscape of UFC’s welterweight division. Current champ Tyron Woodley is not booked at the moment despite being three months removed from his last fight. All the while, top contenders continue to emerge, including current/former depending on the day interim champ Colby Covington and Kamaru Usman. Newcomer Ben Askren is always a consideration as well. When asked when Woodley will be entering the cage next, White wasn’t sure.

“When is Woodley ready to fight anybody, ever? Tell me when,” White said (transcribed by MMA Junkie). “Yeah (he just fought three months ago), and it took us forever to get him to fight that fight. He never wants to fight. You want to be a world champion, but you don’t want to fight anybody. That’s a problem.”

That is a problem if it’s true. White seems aware that Woodley has been difficult for him to deal with it, and is prepared for Woodley to be upset with his comments.

“What’s going to happen now are these interviews are going to come out, and he’s going to get all pissed off, ‘This guy doesn’t respect me, and he doesn’t do this and that,’ and all that (expletive). That’s what’s going to happen now, and me and Woodley are going to go at it again, and then we’ll see when the guy ends up fighting.”

Cerrone vs Hernandez

Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone will be back in the cage on UFC’s debut on ESPN on Jan. 19. This is the same card as the Hardy and Ostovich fights. Cerrone will fight Alexander Hernandez in a lightweight bout. The fight will be the final preliminary matchup to air on ESPN proper with the main card set to air on the ESPN+ streaming service.


UFC 231 Coverage

Be sure to check back tonight with us for full coverage of UFC 231.

Embedded Episode 6

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In the 12/7 edition of MMATorch Today, David McGrath talks about UFC 233’s main event moving to the Brooklyn Fight Night and the options at 170 with Colby Covington, Kamaru Usman, and Ben Askren as potential opponents for Tyron Woodley. He also shares some final thoughts ahead of UFC 231.

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