UFC and Strikeforce veteran Cung Le parted on bad terms with the UFC, that’s fair to say, after a string of unfortunate events during his twilight years as a fighter. After losing by brutal TKO against Michael Bisping in August 2014, the American Kickboxing Academy member received a failed post-fight drug test for human growth hormone HGH. Maintaining his innocence throughout, the initial test result would be just the tip of the iceberg.
The MMA (mixed martial arts) media jumped on the PED train as it rode through town, and Le’s formerly squeaky clean image was tarnished overnight. Then came his appeal, and the eventual rescinding of the ban the UFC had placed on Cung Le. Because there was no official commission in Macau, China where the event was held, the UFC had organized their own, sketchy at best, drug testing for the show.
So Cung Le was vindicated, but later left the UFC without fighting again, and joined the growing lawsuit against Zuffa with fighters like Nate Quarry and Jon Fitch. This wasn’t the whole story though, as Le tells Quarry during his Round X Round podcast that Dana WHite in particular treated him very badly towards the end of his career. Props to MMAFighting.com for the transcribe:
“After fighting Patrick Cote [at UFC 148], I thought I broke my foot,” said Le. “Dana White says, ‘I need you for Macau.’ I said, ‘I don’t think I can fight. My foot, I think it’s broken.’ I went to the doctor and they said, ‘It’s not broken but it’s a deep bone bruise.’ It can be as bad as a broken foot. Two weeks later I was in a walking boot in San Jose whenChris Weidman fought Mark Munoz. They were like, ‘Why are you wearing that? We need you in Macau.’ They were like, ‘It’s just a bone bruise. You’ll be OK.’ I told them I wasn’t cleared. Doctor hasn’t cleared me.
“Two weeks after that Dan Henderson fought Lyoto Machida. I was in Los Angeles and they told me to meet them after the fight. I told them the doctor still hadn’t cleared me. ‘Hasn’t cleared you? You’ve got to step up for the company.’ I told them I couldn’t get the doctor to give me a notice. I don’t think they can do that. I told them hopefully I would be cleared in a week. Dana says, ‘OK. You’ve got to let me know right away.’ That night I’m driving and my phone blows up. Dana had announced my fight with Rich Franklin in Macau.”
As well as the lawsuit, the UFC’s image has come under fire in relation to drug testing, monopolizing the market after the merger with Strikeforce, poor fighter pay and conditions and the controversial Reebok deal. It seems the more time goes by, the less the promotion is worried about using ‘fair’ or ‘ethical’ business tactics, at least that’s how Cung describes his experience when trying to present his case against the failed drug test for the UFC:
“Gary [Ibarra] presented that to them,” said Le. “At the time I didn’t even want to talk to them. I was disgusted with what happened. They agreed to lift my suspension and let it go. Of course, the day Gary calls me and says [UFC] are going to release a thing saying that the suspension has been lifted and they’re retracting what happened, Dana called me and tells me if I just admit it, it’ll be easier.
“The public would forgive me more. ‘Look at the pitcher from the New York Giants[sic], he got busted for something.’ Dana was saying it’s easier just to admit it. I just didn’t want to talk to him anymore. Had to hang up. He might as well have just sent some thugs to my house to strong-arm me or something. It’s just ridiculous. Sometimes you get the s**t end of the stick and they just happen to be the s**t.”
UFC president Dana White has come to earn a reputation among the MMA community as a villain of sorts. His often obscene and aggressive rants have driven many legends away from the UFC’s octagon, and also out of their history books, sadly. The Sanshou, TKD and Sambo specialist says that he would never go back to the UFC, even revealing that he has a couple fights left on his contract:
“Screw that,” said Le. “Why? So they can ‘screw up’ again? I don’t trust [White]. The funny thing is, in the beginning I thought Dana and Lorenzo Fertitta were really cool. Some people told you’re only good to them as long as they can use you. I didn’t believe it until it happened to me. Now I believe everything that everyone says about them. Bad stuff. Very bad.”
Sour grapes or poorly treated employee?