Former referee turned Bellator color commentator Big John McCarthy believes he knows why Dana White and UFC never do cross promotional shows.

His employers Bellator recently did a cross promotion event with RIZIN on New Years Eve. It proved to be a massive success. Bellator President Scott Coker is a big fan of cross promotion and hopes to do one with the UFC, who for all intents and purposes are not interested in such an event.

Speaking on the Weighing In Podcast with host Josh Thomson, the hall of fame referee explained why White and UFC are against the idea, he said.

“Dana got ripped, and I don’t blame him (for not doing cross-promotion). Dana got ripped when he was first president of the UFC by PRIDE in giving over Chuck Liddell to PRIDE and then didn’t get anything back. He said, ‘I’m never going to do that again.’ And unfortunately, he stuck to it.”

“Now he’s stuck to it to the point where he looks at it like, ‘Why am I going to damage my product if I put a fighter out of my stable up against a fighter from another stable and he loses, it just damages my product there’s no reason to do that.’ I don’t blame him.” (Transcribed by

In 2003 Liddell was one of the UFC’s biggest stars when he took part in the PRIDE Middleweight Grand Prix. Liddell defeated Alistair Overeem by knockout in the quarterfinals, but then suffered a TKO loss to Quinton “Rampage” Jackson in the semi-finals. This defeat on another promotion hurt Liddell’s marketability for the UFC and apparently turned White off the idea of cross-promotion which he hasn’t done since. However, these latest revelations from McCarthy put a new spin on an old story. Unfortunately, it makes the possibility of a UFC/Bellator cross-over event even more unlikely.  

Will we ever see UFC and Bellator in a cross-promotion event?

A lifelong fight fan from Liverpool, England who has been covering mixed martial arts (MMA) and boxing for several years. Follow @JordanEllisUK on Twitter for all the latest fight news, views, interviews and live event coverage.