Not surprisingly UFC president Dana White addressed a litany of topics relevant to today’s ever-evolving world of MMA at yesterday’s UFC 167 pre-fight media scrum, courtesy of MMA H.E.A.T. Perhaps the most relevant of them all was a signaling by White that his precious, oft-discussed superfights are now dead:
“This whole superfight thing has been destroyed. I think it’s dead now. It was fun for a little while. I think it’s over.”
Very interesting. After all, it was not too long ago that White was “guaranteeing” that he would get former Middleweight champion Anderson Silva to face off with reigning Light Heavyweight champion Jon Jones in what would have billed as the biggest fight to ever take place in a UFC Octagon.
How quickly things change. Silva lost his belt to Chris Weidman at UFC 162 but he hadn’t expressed a ton of interest in fighting Jones even before that. A lot of the luster fell off that fight when Weidman nailed a showboating Silva with a crushing left hook.
Of course, there was always the proposed bout between Welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre and Silva, but GSP never seemed too interested in putting on the weight necessary to fight “The Spider,” noting that he couldn’t go back down once he had made the shift. For his part, Silva appeared more interested in the GSP fight, but again, it was all pomp and circumstance. White talked it up big but nothing ever came to fruition.
At least he admits the concept is dead for the time being.
Moving on, White addressed the topic of Bellator releasing their undefeated Welterweight champion Ben Askren, whom Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney deemed “incredibly one-dimensional.” While that may be true, it’s odd to see a promotion release a champion, let alone an undefeated one, regardless of what their fighting style is. That’s something White touched on:
“No interest. They don’t want him. It’s their champion, they don’t even want him. What does that say, what does that mean? I don’t even care. Next question. I feel sorry for the kids that fight there. The fact that you would just give away a guy that has gone undefeated for you, it’s just shows what kind of people you are, what kind of business you do.”
Askren’s fights haven’t been described as much other than boring, but did he deserve an unconditional release? Couple that with the long, drawn-out saga of Eddie Alvarez’ contract dispute with Bellator and you have a seriously odd set of circumstances surrounding the treatment of their champions. What are your thoughts on the matter?
Check out Dana’s full UFC 167 scrum right here: