SUNDAY NEWS DIGEST 4/14: Dana White acknowledges ESPN+ ordering issues for UFC 236, Paulo Costa calls Adesanya ‘fake champ’, UFC wants Whittaker vs. Adesanya in Australia, more post-fight notes

By Michael Hiscoe, Managing Editor

Dana White (photo John David Mercer © USA Today Sports)

‘It’s gonna get better’

Dana White knew that there would be some issues with the move to ESPN+ from traditional pay-per-view. And while it wasn’t a total disaster, there were a few issues with people who were having trouble ordering Saturday’s UFC 236 event. In-app purchases were not enabled, which meant that people tuning in to the fights had to first go on a computer and order the show through the ESPN+ website. During last night’s UFC 236 post-fight press conference, White admitted that there wasn’t a lot of time to get everything in order in time for this show.

“Not too long ago, we were in pay-per-view negotiations and we didn’t like the way they were going, so what you don’t ever want to do is to give us a little time to think outside the box,” White said (transcribed by MMAFighting). “So we started talking to ESPN, the talks moved really fast and we struck a deal with ESPN. And we knew we had to pull this fight off very soon, on both sides. And we knew that there were gonna be some hiccups. Hopefully, there aren’t. Hopefully, you can get everything dialed in.”

White also recognized that one hurdle for users was not being able to order through the apps people use to watch ESPN+ content. He assured everyone last night that the next event will be easier to order.

“The next one will be much better. The next one, you’ll be able to purchase right through the app. It’s gonna get easier, it’s gonna get better.”

UFC’s next pay-per-view event is UFC 237 on May 11 from Rio de Janeiro. UFC 237 is another show that likely wouldn’t have performed exceedingly well on traditional PPV so perhaps these lower key shows are a blessing that will allow UFC and ESPN to work out the kinks in time for a bigger show such as July’s UFC 239 headlined by Jon Jones vs. Thiago Santos.

“[ESPN] are so good at what they do. They’re so good, they’re so on top of everything. We’ll get the problems that people had tonight fixed. And it’ll only get better.”

Sunday Notebook

-UFC middleweight Paulo Costa put a post on Instagram making fun of Israel Adesanya’s interim title win over Kelvin Gastelum last night. “Really this is the interim (fake) champ?” Costa wrote. “Haha.
No doubt this weight division has already been better than this shit. Enjoy this while you can man, I really hope that you take the real belt one day to meet me.”

-Dana White said at the post-fight press conference that they are planning to do Robert Whittaker vs. Israel Adesanya as part of a stadium show in Australia. “That fight is going to Australia. It will be massive in Australia. I put my guys on that. That’s their homework for this week. A stadium, not an arena, A stadium in Australia.”

-White also said that new interim lightweight champion Dustin Poirier will fight Khabib Nurmagomedov next, likely in September.

-White also said that he’d like to see Max Holloway go back down to 145 pounds. “I always wanted to see how he would do at 155 and what’s crazy, what I didn’t expect is he looked small at 155. So I look forward to him going back to 145.”

-Two Fight of the Night bonuses were handed out last night to Israel Adesanya vs. Kelvin Gastelum and to Dustin Poirier vs. Max Holloway.

In case you missed it

Two new (interim) champions crowned at UFC 236

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UFC 236 post-fight press conference

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