UFC President Dana White held his UFC 166 pre-fight media scrum today and in doing so, covered a great many topics. Here are some of the highlights.
In terms of Rafael Palhares, the door does seem to be shut on him coming back to the UFC.
However, White made posed an interesting question to the reporters asking them “What do you guys think, should I bring him back?” In asking the question, Dana appeared to be serious and listened to what some of the reporters had to say in defense of bringing Palhares back.
However, after listening to various explanations and scenarios, White stated:
“I’m not saying Palhares is a bad person. I don’t know him personally to judge him one way or the other. I know that he’s probably the best leg-lock guy in the world. He’s been in Jiu Jitsu his whole life and he knows what that means, if you hold a leg-lock too long and continue to crank it, what it will do to somebody, and I’m not interested in a guy like that fighting in the UFC.”
In terms of Jon Jones and Glover Teixeira, White stated that the fight would probably happen in March or April and could take place in Brazil.
Regarding Ben Askren and whether or not the UFC was interested in signing the welterweight, White stated simply that he feels Bellator is “playing games” and that he “doesn’t care”. He then followed up by saying, “when you’re willing to let your champion go; weird.”
Regarding Ben Rothwell and his suspension by the promotion for being red flagged on his last (post-fight) drug test, White stated “(he) can be a shocked as (he) wants to be, now (he’s) sitting on the f***ing sidelines for nine months.”
As White said, fighters need to know what’s going on with and into their bodies. There are no excuses. Rothwell, as all fighters, know the rules and the promotion’s stance on the issue of TRT and he’s been disciplined. As such, Rothwell should not be either shocked or surprised by his suspension.
In terms of Rothwell’s opponent, the struggling Brandon Vera, White stated that “if he hasn’t been cut already, he’s probably safe.”
In Nick Diaz vs. Michael Bisping news, White stated that “everything I hear from Nick Diaz is that he doesn’t want to fight.” If so, it looks like that entertaining bout isn’t happening or at least not soon.
In terms Dominick Cruz, White stated that “everything I’m hearing from him is he’s training, getting better and ready to fight.” Further, White said that Renan Barao is prepared to wait for Cruz. As White said, “he wants to beat the man.”
That said, White also stated that there is a limit to how long Barao can be kept on the shelf waiting, particularly without the official title of champion.
Stephan Struve, White will be meeting with the heavyweight in Manchester to discuss his future, although White stipulated that “he’ll never come back to the UFC until he is cleared medically.”
In terms of Lyoto Machida, White commented that his next fight was “big” and that the move down to 185 pounds is a good one for “The Dragon”, because he was “starting to get in no-man’s land at 205.” As White sees it, Machida’s biggest problem is that he’s too conservative.
With the Q & A moving to boxing, White became quite animated in his disgust for where the sport is, now and that he “wouldn’t want to put Junior in there to do that.” In essence, White no longer feels boxing is about fighting, but rather holding on to your opponent.
Finally the questions moved to Fedor Emelianenko and his remarks earlier this week, about negotiating with the UFC. As White put it, “thank God they turned that offer down.”
White went on to say that Fedor’s management team wasn't serious and that they made outrageous demands, and that they turned down an enormous offer, not once, but on three different occasions. As White told Fedor, “you're one punch away from being worth zero”, yet and nonetheless, they turned down a deal that White described as “massive.”
In terms of whether or not we might ever see Emelianenko in the UFC, White stated, “it’s over, man. The guy’s over. He’s gone. He’s done.” White feels the Russian over played his hand and that’s the end of it.
Last but not least, FOX screwed up the TUF schedule for this week and inadvertently announced next week’s show would be a recap episode. It is not. White has confirmed that episode eight will air next week and not a recap. The recap is set for the week of (US) Thanks Giving.
Video courtesy of MMAHeat.com