Plenty to say
UFC held a press conference Friday to promote next month’s UFC 236 pay-per-view. As is often the case, with Dana White present, much of the talk had little to do with the show they were promoting, and the focus was on out of the cage controversies.
Colby Covington has been busy this week, first appearing at Kamaru Usman’s open workout with a megaphone, and then surprising Dana White while he was playing blackjack at The Palms casino. Covington filmed the interaction for his Instagram story, he approached White at a gaming table and asked him why he wasn’t booked in a title fight this weekend.
“Stop filming, we’re gambling,” White can be heard saying in the video.
Here is Colby Covington looking for (and finding!) Dana White, who was gambling at the Palms, to confront him about why he is not fighting for the title at #UFC235 this weekend. pic.twitter.com/ej98P2hvXz
— Matthew Wells (@MrMWellsArt) March 1, 2019
White didn’t seem happy but he said yesterday that “it wasn’t as bad as it looked on video.”
Covington was at one point UFC interim welterweight champion but was passed over for tonight’s title shot against Tyron Woodley in favor of Kamaru Usman.
Speaking of interim belts, Eddie Alvarez was critical of UFC this week for using the titles as a way to avoid paying fighters more money. He even went so far as to say it’s “the saddest thing that can happen in the sport.”
Dana White naturally disagreed.
“I like Eddie, I have a great relationship with Eddie, but he was talking about how we give interim titles so you don’t have to pay a guy so much, or some weird comment like that,” White said (via MMAJunkie). “When you win the interim belt, you’re looked at as a title holder. So when you go into a title fight, both guys share in the pay-per-view revenue. If you’re a contender without the interim title, you don’t. So, there’s nothing bad about holding an interim belt.”
While that may be true, White didn’t elaborate on what happens to the pay of an interim titleholder who is stripped of his or her championship before they have an opportunity to consolidate their title with the official champion, as was the case with Covington. Perhaps you need a megaphone to get that answer.
Finally, Dana White discussed another former interim champion, Tony Ferguson. Ferguson was offered the interim lightweight championship fight with Dustin Poirier at UFC 236 but turned the fight down. With Ferguson unwilling to fight on the terms UFC wants, White is at a bit of a loss, saying “I don’t know where this leaves Tony.”
“Tony didn’t want the fight. It’s the fight I wanted (with Poirier). We even tried to make the fight (with Holloway), and he didn’t want it. You can’t make anybody fight.”
With that in mind, White seemed to question Ferguson’s desire to be a true champion.
“How bad do you want to be a champion? Do you want to get the next title shot? The guys that are sitting at this table today, they want it, so that’s why they’re here.”
-Mirko Cro Cop announced that he is going back into retirement after suffering a stroke following his Bellator 216 fight with Roy Nelson two weeks ago. “I will never enter the ring again,” Cro Cop told Nova TV (via MMAJunkie). “I cannot let anyone hit me. I have to have (an MRI) in three months, (and) after that I will train again, boxing bags, but there is no such thing as a fight.”
-Dana White also said that at Donald Cerrone-Conor McGregor fight is “nowhere close” to happening and that they are looking at other options for Cerrone right now.
-UFC will run a Fight Night event from Stockholm, Sweden on June 1.
In case you missed it
UFC 235 Embedded episodes 5 and 6