There’s another new Dana White interview available. The latest White interview is available at ESPN.com.
I’m assuming some of you are getting a little tired of all the Dana interview stuff I link to but whenever the man speaks, it’s usually news.
Here are some of the more notable exchanges from the interview:
ESPN.com: When’s the HBO deal going to get done?
DW: It will be done very soon, in a matter of weeks. People don’t realize this stuff isn’t easy to get done.
Dana can be premature with his announcements but he has a habit of making them happen after he announces them. I’m starting to believe that he will get a deal done with HBO. HBO needs an answer to EliteXC on Showtime. So much so that it wouldn’t surprise me if they were to do a deal with another promotion if a deal with the UFC couldn’t be reached. I think the UFC knows this and that they don’t want a startup taking that HBO slot. I’ve been told that Dana was none too happy when Pro Elite reached a deal with Showtime. The UFC was talking to Showtime about a possible deal right up until an accord with Pro Elite was signed.
ESPN.com: Fedor Emialenenko–when will he be in the UFC?
DW: We’ll have him soon. We’ll have him before the end of the year.
ESPN.com: What’s the process? Do you talk to his agent? To Bodog?
DW: We don’t talk to Bodog. We talk to his managers twice a day.
ESPN.com: Twice a day?
DW: It’s not easy to get these contracts done. It takes time and a lot of work. There are a million sticking points. Every guy has his own set of issues, what is important to him. Plus, we have our set of standards. It takes time and a lot of negotiating. There are a lot of trust issues in this business. We want people to trust us. We’re having fun. We love this business. You won’t find people who love this sport who promote it as much as us. We really, truly love this thing. We bought this and were investing in this when we were losing millions of dollars and nobody cared about it. It never looked like we were going to make it on pay-per-view, let alone free TV. At the end of the day, we don’t want guys who are unhappy fighting with us.
This is another deal I believe will get done. Bodog paid Fedor a ton of money to fight in April. When I interviewed Calvin Ayre he said they were still talking to Fedor but I have to believe that any new offer they’ve made is significantly lower than the first because the April PPV may not have drawn more than 13,000. Most people don’t like negotiating backwards which is why I see Fedor winding up in the UFC.
ESPN.com: Did you watch Showtime EliteXC’s Phil Baroni vs. Frank Shamrock two weeks ago?
DW: I had dinner at the Palms, and I had them put it on in the room because I wanted to see Baroni knock his head off. It didn’t work out that way.
ESPN.com: What did you think of their skill levels?
DW: They both looked bad. Phil’s a good friend of me, so it’s unfortunate. Frank Shamrock is not going to fight anybody near the top-10 level.
ESPN.com: You wouldn’t be tempted to bring back Frank for a big event?
DW: Who knows? But Frank is such a moron. He’s so hard to deal with. He really is a jackass. If I could get it done, maybe I would. Look at me and Tito. We don’t get along at all. You won’t ever find two people who work together talk more s— about each other. Tito’s an idiot. He’s a complete, absolute moron. But we can do business.
ESPN.com: So why not kill two birds with one stone. How about Tito vs. Frank Shamrock?
DW: Frank Shamrock would never fight Tito Ortiz. Tito would crush him. Frank’s not going to fight anybody serious. He’s going to very carefully handpick his opponents, and continue to play the smoke and mirrors game.
Whoa, saying Frank would never fight Tito is not the smartest thing to say considering Frank fought Tito in ’99 and won. Now, I’m not saying Frank would get in the cage with him today because I think Ortiz would crush him.
While on the topic of Frank’s win over Tito being overrated by some, I also think Shamrock could see Tito would be a star and wanted to get a win against him before he reached his peak so that he could tout it later. That’s exactly why I think Frank wants to fight Cung Le. Once Cung Le gets a ground game, there’s no way Shamrock will beat him. But if he exploits him now and Le becomes a huge superstar, it helps Shamrock’s legacy to have that win on his resume.
It’s also not smart because Tito will be a free agent after his next fight. If he leaves the UFC then a Frank vs. Tito main event might not be such a stretch if the money is right. Because the two would be the biggest names outside the UFC, have a history together, and are big-time talkers, I could see the two coming together for a big pay day.
In general it’s not a good idea for Dana saying he is even remotely open to the idea of Frank fighting for the UFC again because the only way he’d consider putting his grudge aside and going back is if he couldn’t make money anywhere else. Say what you want about him, but Frank is making money.