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Q&A с Dana White


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Early Wednesday morning InsideFighting Editor Elias Cepeda spoke with UFC President Dana White. On the heels of UFC 97, White spoke about Anderson Silva, Chuck Liddell retiring, why he decided to bring back his video blogs and much more.

InsideFighting: Let's look back to UFC 97 from last weekend. You were not very happy with the main event and middleweight champion Anderson Silva's performance. One of the stories that has come out of this is that you spoke to Silva's manager Ed Soares during the fight. He was reported to have been working Silva's corner in that fight. So, there have been some justifiable concerns over that. Was Ed Soares working Silva's corner on fight night when you went and spoke with him during the bout?

Dana White: Ed Soares was not in the corner. I've been in the fight business almost my whole life and you know how many times I've gone to a corner and talked to the cornermen while the fight is going on? How about zero? Never. I used to work corners and when I worked corners I didn't even want the other cornermen in the corner talking to me. If you are in the corner, you are watching for all the things that could happen. If there are a bunch of people screaming, 'do this, do that,' by that time the fighters can't even hear you. What you are doing is watching every single thing that happens so that you have the information to give your fighter in between the next round when you have your opportunity. You are trying to remember all the things you saw going on that he could capitalize on. I don't talk to f_cking cornermen. Never have, never will. Even with the relationship I have with Chuck Liddell, you know what I mean? I've never gone in his f_cking corner. They don't need to talk to me during the fight. I got up and walked over to Ed Soares during the fight. I'll talk to whoever the f_ck I want to talk to during my f_cking fights. Even if I talked to the f_cking cornermen, which I would never do, what am I going to tell him? "Here's the secret formula for Anderson to win this fight?"

IF: That wouldn't be the concern so much as you or someone in your position putting undue or improper pressure on fighters.

DW: What could I say that would affect the fight? Like, 'He'd better win this fight!"?

IF: Well, you know that other people have done that type of thing. You may not have been objective but you were justifiably critical of the Shaws in EliteXC for some of the things they did along those lines. That type of tampering is garbage. Its dangerous.

DW: Exactly. I have both guys under contract. If Anderson Silva wins, then Anderson Silva retains the title and keeps fighting. If Thales Leites wins then he's the new champion. If guys win, they win. If guys lose, they lose. I've had a guy I consider my family fight in many fights. Have you ever seen me run over to the f_cking corner and say, 'Chuck, what are you doing?". The only time I've ever jumped out of my seat was during that last fight when Matt Brown was fighting Pete Sell. I almost broke my hand beating on the Octagon because I wanted the fight stopped. I think that's the closest I've ever come in my career to interfering with a fight. I wanted the ref to stop the fight because I thought the kid was going to get hurt.

IF: It's important to clarify in the case of Ed Soares, Anderson Silva's manager, because people see him walking to the ring with him and in the Octagon after fights. To my understanding it is because he is also Silva's interpretor.

DW: That's exactly what it is. That's why Ed Soares is credentialed, because he's an interpretor. After the fight and during the press conference and if anything should happen during the fight that Anderson doesn't understand, like if the commission got involved, Ed needs to be there to interpret. That's the only thing Ed is there for, in case anything needs to be interpreted. So I get up and talk to lots of different people. I got up and talked with Chuck Liddell's daughter. I talk with fighters' family members. I talk to lots of people outside the f_cking Octagon. We've got family members of people that I care about that I talk to all night. "You nervous?", etc. Afterwards I let the wives in the Octagon. I let them go back with their husbands or their boyfriends or fathers or whatever it might be because they are upset or excited. I do it all f_cking night long. You know what I mean?

IF: What was the nature of the conversation you had with Ed Soares?

DW: You know what? Ed Soares told me that people were asking him what I said to him when I walked over. He told me, "Dana, it's nobody's f_cking business what you said to me." He doesn't want me to comment at all so I won't. I don't give a f_ck if everyone knows what I said to him. I'll walk around and talk to whoever I want to talk to. It's my event. I'm not interfering with a fight or anything like that.

IF: Looking back, would you put yourself in that position where you were talking to somebody's manager during a fight?

DW: I do it every fight. Every fight that happens I talk to guys' managers, I talk to their kids, I talk to their friends, their families. Anybody that's around the ringside I talk to all night. From the minute the fights start to the end of the night, I walk around and talk to these people. I talk to the fighters and the corners before the fight. I talk to the fighters and their corners after the fights when they go in the back. It's what I f_cking do. This is my f_cking show, this is my f_cking business, these are my f_cking people, people that I f_cking care about. I make sure their families are ok, everything is cool. That's what I f_cking do.

IF: Switching gears, I spoke with you after UFC 90 where you were pretty critical of Anderson Silva's winning performance over Patrick Cote. I basically disagreed with your criticism of him. And now, after his dominating win over Thales Leites you and seemingly everyone else seems to be criticizing him again. I disagree there again. I was very impressed with Anderson Silva's performance and enjoyed the fight. You are a promoter but you also know how to break down fights. So, here are some questions regarding the UFC 97 main event that I'd like you to answer. Is Anderson Silva a counter striker?

DW: No. I think Anderson Silva is a well rounded, equipped fighter. Can he counter punch? F_ck yeah he can. Can he be the aggressor and get off first? Yes he can. Does he usually have killer instincts? Absof_ckinglutely. This guy is like a great white shark. When there is blood in the water, he is going to f_cking kill you, he's going to finish you. And his last two fights he has not done that. Not only that, you say the guy is a counter striker, the guy didn't even throw any punches. I mean, I have to watch the fight again on TV

IF: Yeah, do that.

DW: But from what I remember of what I saw, I'd be surprised if he threw twenty punches in five rounds. What really drove me crazy was that even when he did go to the ground, the few times that he did do it - let me tell you, Ed Soares is a guy I respect. I like him very much. I must talk with him three times a month. And you won't find a bigger Anderson Silva supporter than me. I'm the guy calling him the best fighter in the world, pound for pound, and I still do right now today. I do think he's the best pound for pound fighter in the world by f_cking far. I actually think this guy is so f_cking talented that even when he doesn't want to do anything he still wins fights and still blows your mind with some of the sh_t he does. But the fact of the matter is that he had Thales Leites beat up, hurt and just wanting a way out of that fight, OK? He had him on the ground, just smashing him. And then he would just stop, stand up and just walk away with his hands up like Thales Leites just did something wrong. And I was like, "Why did he not just finish that fight?"

IF: Probably the same reason that Chuck Liddell did that to Jeremy Horn. He knew that his opponent's only chance was on the ground and so he wanted to finish him standing up.

DW: But he was right there smashing him.

IF: Have people like Leites and Cote fought Anderson differently than guys like Chris Leben or James Irvin or Rich Franklin fought him?

DW: That's what I'm saying. No. And I don't agree with Ed's theory of the UFC needing to get him more well rounded guys. One dimensional guys. Isn't Anderson being one dimensional by not wanting to go to the ground? Just wanting to stand up? "I just want to strike with him, I don't want to fight on the ground with him." Well, why wouldn't you want to stay on the ground with him if you are on top of him, smashing him? And Thales Leites is a great Jiu Jitsu guy and he couldn't even pass Anderson's guard.

IF: That's related to another question of mine. Didn't Anderson prove something to everyone about his ground game off his back, for one?

DW: Look, he proved something with his ground game with Travis Lutter and Dan Henderson. He f_cking submitted Dan Henderson. He submitted Travis Lutter. You don't have to sell me on Anderson Silva, nobody does. I'm the one that says he's the number one fighter in the world pound for pound. My problem with Anderson Silva right now is that he's lost the killer instinct for some reason. This is my other problem: Everyone thinks this sport is so huge when in act there is so much left to do and lots of people are still tuning in. Let me ask you a question. You've heard me yap a million times about this. What's the most significant fight in UFC history?

IF: Probably the first Ultimate Fighter Finale card.

DW: Yeah, Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar. Now you tell me where we'd be right now if they fought like Anderson Silva and Thales Leites did the other night? If that fight was the first MMA fight you'd ever seen, would you be like, "What the f_ck is everybody talking about? Why is everyone saying this is so great? This is the sh_ttiest fight I've ever seen in my life."

IF: I see where you are coming from with this because its your job to promote it and you guys, overall, do a really good job of promoting and putting on shows that excite and titillate people but don't you think that given your position that you may be a bit overly sensitive to criticism when a fight doesn't titillate people? I have the luxury of saying, "I can learn a lot about MMA from this fight. Just as an observer I can see things that Anderson is doing that I like, like front kicks to the knee." But for you, if a bunch of drunk people and fight-ignorant writers don't have an orgasm watching your main event you lose money. Isn't that why you are a little bit overly critical of him?

DW: Not one f_cking bit. Tell me I don't lose money by telling Chuck Liddell that he is retiring. I don't give a f_ck about money, bro. Believe me when I tell you that. What I give a f_ck about is the sport and most of the guys in it. And I think that Anderson Silva has the potential…he's like an artist. This guy can come out and do whatever he wants to do and what he does is amazing. Those front kicks to the knee, that's not offense that's f_cking defense. Those are used to keep a guy from coming forward and coming after you. It's almost kind of a cheap shot.

IF: That's kind of contradictory. If its a cheapshot because its too dangerous then its pretty damn offensive.

DW: It's not offensive, it's not. I'm doing that to keep you from coming forward. I'm doing that so you don't come forward and engage with me. That's what those things are used for. How many punches did he throw in the fight?

IF: Well, you said you didn't think he threw twenty overall but I think he threw over twenty on the ground alone.

DW: He could have finished the Cote fight whenever he wanted to. The Cote fight was the first time I'd seen it.

IF: Can a fight be interesting and not violent to the point of ending a fight?

DW: Absolutely. Dude, there were tons of fights that night. The entire undercard. Every undercard fight except the Nate Quarry fight, I think, went the distance and they were great fights. F_cking Wiman and Sam Stout, that fight went the distance. You hear me whining about either of them?

IF: They were not your main event though.

DW: Dude, I wish they were the main event. I should have made that the main event that night. There is a big difference between going out and fighting and…especially when you have the tools that [silva] has. He is the most talented motherf_cker out there.

IF: Given the disappointment you've expressed in Silva for the fight, was the expectation that he'd just explode Thales Leites' head or something?

DW: Didn't you see the first two years?

IF: So you just expect him to demolish everyone?

DW: Look at Dan Henderson. You've been in this sport long enough to know that Dan Henderson is a bad motherf_cker. Tough, durable bad dude. Comes in knocking out Wanderlei Silva, he has a five round dog fight with Quinton Jackson. He gets in there with Anderson Silva, puts him on his back and throws those half assed hammer fists to his temple while covering his mouth. Covered his mouth and nose and dropped hammer fists on him, remember? Anderson Silva comes out the next round and says, 'Motherf_cker, you ain't doing that to me again" and bing, bing, bing, bing, bing, drops him, gets his back and f_cking chokes him out. Dan Henderson, OK? Now are you going to tell me he couldn't come out and do that to Thales Leites? I respect Thales, he's a tough kid but Martin Kampmann f_cking knocked him out. Are you telling me Anderson Silva can't do that too? I know he can. You do too. That's not what he came out to do. He came out to win and not lose. If Thales would have done something to Anderson that pissed him off, I guarantee you would have seen the same Anderson Silva we've seen for two and a half years. Dan Henderson embarrassed him and made him mad in the first round. Look what he did to Nate Marquardt or Chris Leben. Chris Leben has a chin like concrete. You can hit that motherf_cker with a baseball bat and he ain't going anywhere. Bing, bing, bing, bing, bing, twenty seconds [later Anderson] knocks him silly.

IF: Some of those shots that Anderson hit Thales with were hard. Do you think they were less hard than the shorts he dropped other guys with?

DW: No, I think that he hit him with some hard shots. But here's the difference – he hit him with one hard shot [at a time], boom. Boom. That's not his style. His style is, bing, bing, bing, knee, elbow, f_cking clinch. Look what he did to Rich Franklin. What happened to the clinch?

IF: I felt that Anderson stayed away from the clinch because he didn't want to close the distance for Thales and assist him in putting him on his back.

DW: Getting put on his back? When he puts you in that clinch he starts hitting you with so many knees you are praying for an elbow or a fist. When you really look at this thing and break it down he's a crazy talented guy. He's the Andy Warhol of mixed martial arts. He's a artist but he hasn't been his last two fights. He's a f_cking shell of what he once was and its not because he's old or broken down or anything. Now, I'm going to push Anderson. I'm going to put Anderson in fights with guys who are not afraid of him, the guys that are going to f_cking come after him….we're going to make Anderson fight again.

IF: After Chuck Liddell's loss to Mauricio Rua last weekend, you seemed to close the door on his fighting again. Is that still your mindset?

DW: Chuck Liddell is stupid rich. Chuck Liddell is done. He's got nothing left to prove. He's the most famous guy on earth. I love him like a f_cking brother and I don't want to see him get hurt. There is no reason for it. He's f_cking forty years old man. These guys that are fighting now are young, explosive, fast f_cking kids who are well rounded mixed martial artists. There's no f_cking reason for Chuck Liddell to be out there at forty years old still fighting. I don't want to make a f_cking nickel off that ever. Believe me, it will be a f_cking war if he tries not to retire, believe me. I love him. He helped me build this business. We started when he was making five hundred and five hundred. And we had the dream of him becoming a big star and winning the title and making all kinds of money.

We did it all man. We f_cking did it all. We did it. We did it. It's f_cking over. He's forty years old, it is over. It was amazing that he was able to fight until he was forty. That's what a bad motherf_cker he was. He has nothing to prove to anybody, period. It's over. We did everything that we set out to do. It has been an amazing run, its been fun. We did it together, we stayed loyal to each other the whole time and we did everything that we hoped to do and now its over. He can do it financially. And plus, I'm going to bring him into the organization in some other way and he's still going to make money. He's been loyal to me and I've been loyal to him and that's not going to change now that he's retiring. He'll always be a part of the organization. He'll take on another role, he'll still make money and he'll be with me until the day we die.

IF: On that topic, I have to ask you if there are any more fighters with you that are also in that category of needing to stop. There are a couple guys that are some of my emotional favorites that I feel the same way about.

DW: I know who you are talking about.

IF: Who do you think I am talking about?

DW: I think you are talking about Wanderlei Silva and Nogueira.

IF: Yep. "Minotauro" Nogueira's eyes don't seem to be focused correctly, he's moving more slowly. And Wanderlei has lost so many recently, and all of his losses are coming by stoppage now basically.

DW: You've got to understand the wars that these guys were in in Pride.

IF: I do, I was covering them.

DW: Nogueira was dropped on his head by Bob Sapp…

IF: That's the thing, I don't say this with disrespect. Those are literally two of my favorite guys ever. These guys are amazing. There is no shame that if after the wars been in and the titles they've won that maybe they've taken their share. But I do wonder if maybe they've taken their share.

DW: They are right there too and yes, I will pull the trigger on them too. The problem with guys like that is that I don't have the relationship that I have with a guy like Liddell. Me and Liddell are close so when I say "dude, you are done, here's what we are going to do, blah, blah, blah," but I don't have that relationship with them. So I can't guarantee you that these guys are going to f_cking stop. I want them to stop and I'll try to figure it out and get them to stop because one of the things I always say is that I've built this business using the blueprint of boxing, what not to do. We know that you shouldn't be fighting past your prime, you know?

IF: Since they are both coming off of losses, couldn't you cut them?

DW: Couldn't I cut them?

IF: Yes. And stop them from fighting that way?

DW: I don't want to cut them and that wouldn't stop them from fighting. Someone else will dig up the money and pay them. Its better off that I keep them close to me and I can, you know, Wanderlei and I do have a good relationship but its not like me and Chuck. Its not where I feel like I can tell this guy something and he's going to really listen to me, you know? But if I can work something else out so that this guy can make a living, and that's what we are trying to do. That's what we are trying to do with these merchandise agreements. We sat back and thought, once these guys live inside the UFC brand we can set up some merchandising where these guys can collect royalty checks for the rest o their lives? Let me give you an example. Rowdy Roddy Piper. When is the last time you saw him wrestle? Long time ago, right? Rowdy Roddy Piper is sitting on a couch somewhere collecting checks because you can still get the Rowdy Roddy Piper doll and other things that they sell through the WWE. Now when is the last time you saw the Leon Spinks f_cking doll? Yeah, you didn't f_cking see it and you are never going to see it and he's not getting any checks.

Spike is coming out with this movie that I just saw called "Facing Ali". Basically all the guys that fought Ali and how facing him changed their lives. Its pretty cool but they are all pretty f_cking sad stories bro. There's no f_cking inspirational "woo hoo" in it. I think the most inspirational thing in it was Ken Norton because he said, "at the time I fought him I was able to put food on my table and clothes on my kids' back," you know what I mean? At the end of the day, when I look back on my life the last thing I want is people thinking that I was some dirty promoter who tried to steal money from fighters with all these fighters with no money, no brain cells. That's the last thing we want. We got into this thing for all the right reasons. We didn't buy the UFC when it was all messed up because we thought, "You know what? This thing is going to be a f_cking monster. It's the best business in the world, we are going to make sh_tloads of money," believe me. When I talked the Fertitas into doing this all of their business guys were like, "Are you out of your f_cking mind?Why are you doing this? You are going to lose all of your money in this thing, are you crazy? " But you know what? [The Fertitas] were passionate about this. They trained in this stuff, they loved it too and we f_cking went for it, you know? And we had all the best intentions when we did it. And we still do now.

IF: You decided to bring back your video blogs after you said you would stop doing them after the controversy with one of them regarding things you said about Loretta Hunt and other epithets you used. Why did you decide to bring them back?

DW: I was upset last week because all these mainstream f_ckers use me. All these people who don't even cover us at all, took this blurb out of context and ran with it. Anyone who knows me or watches the vlog knows that I wasn't talking about gay people. I have gay and lesbian friends, people who I respect. The fact that they went and ran with what I said and labeled me anti gay upset me so much. It's like being labeled a child molester or a racist. That's what it was like, these motherf_ckers are going to go out there on CNN or whatever and say I'm anti gay.

IF: MMA has been such a small community for so long, it seems like its harder for you to keep doing things and saying things the way you do now that others are paying attention. Is it harder or less enjoyable for you?

DW: Its been less enjoyable. At the end of the day I'm going to be me. Worst comes to worst, I'll f_cking walk away before I not be me, you know what I mean? I'm going to be myself. The reality is though that as we get bigger, a lot of the bigger companies we do business with have no f_cking balls whatsoever. They will f_cking tuck d_k and run in thirteen seconds. And I didn't build this thing to what it is by being a p_ssy.

IF: So is that why you decided to continue your vlog?

DW: Yeah, exactly. At the end of the day, too, I'm not going to let anybody stop me from being me. F_ck it. And you know what the thing is too? I don't really care about these other…its f_cking obvious that I'm not big business, you know? I don't run my business like that. I'm not a corporate guy. I don't care about them, f_ck them. None of those people were there to help us build this business anyway. None of those people were tripping over themselves to help me build this business when it was forty four million [dollars] in the f_cking hole. You know who did? The fans. The fans are the people that I connect with. I'll hang out with the f_cking fans all day, all night and I love it. That's the thing that I sat there and thought about. Especially when people were telling me, 'don't do it. Don't stop the vlogs because at the end of the day you are f_cking us, you are not f_cking them. We like it, we enjoy it." So I said, "You are right." I'm not going to stop being me and I'm not going to take away the relationship I have with the fans, good and bad. The people who love to hate me and the people that don't.

Не се опитвайте да броите колко пъти думичката "fuck" и нейните вариации бяха използвани. Иначе едно от най-стабилните интервюта с Dana, които съм чел.

Edited by neshev
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