Dana White has never been a huge fan of what the sport of boxing has slowly turned into. This is evident by the recent trashing of promoter Bob Arum concerning his handling of Manny Pacquiao’s last fight, where scheduling a fourth bout with Juan Manuel Marquez found his top star laid out facedown on the canvas.
However, White does agree with one thing in boxing: the handling of training camps. At the end of an unprecedented year where cards were ruined almost like clockwork by injuries, White spoke to MMAFighting.com. He believes MMA gyms of today could take a page from boxing and ramp up the professionalism a bit:
“Georges St-Pierre told me a story where, he showed up to camp one time. They were going to have him spar with Shane Carwin. Georges said, ‘Why the f— would I spar with Shane Carwin? How does that help me? What does that do for me, for my career?’ When you hear stupid s— like that its like, no wonder why guys are getting hurt left and right.
We had a situation, and I’m not singling out Greg Jackson here, I can’t remember if it was Rashad [Evans] who rolled over onto Diego Sanchez’s knee, or the other way. They were training right next to each other. There needs to be a more professional approach to training camps than there is right now.
Look how boxing does it. If Floyd Mayweather is training for a fight, they build a camp around Floyd. Guys come in and you have sparring partners and all this stuff. [In MMA] they have 10 guys where they’re all training for a fight. It’s so hard, its different now. They need to start building these camps around one guy.”
GSP and White may have a point here. There is no reason for GSP to risk his ultra-valuable career or even next fight by training with a monster like Shane Carwin. The benefits are just largely outweighed by the potential consequences, just like they are with Rashad Evans rolling with a man who now fights at Lightweight in Diego Sanchez. This could truly shed some light on the reason why fighters showed up hurt left and right this year. Teams are just getting too big, and fighters find themselves training with a variety of partners, for better or for worse. It is true that boxing tends to center a training camp around one fighter for one fight.
But MMA is fundamentally a more brutal sport. The simple aspect of incorporating grappling and all other martial arts adds an increased risk for danger immediately. Fighters are looking to find the best team with the best chances to get them a spot on a big card, because they are not making millions each time out like many boxers do. Still, that doesn’t mean that they should risk that chance by training with much larger, stronger fighters that are weight classes above them. What are your thoughts on the situation? Is Dana White right when he calls for MMA fighters to tone down their training camp?
Read more about Dana White and how he got started with the UFC here.