USA Today recently posted a Q&A session with Dana White where he trudges out some of the same old tired analogies that he always does and also some new ones. Let’s take a look at this gem of an interview.
On the PRIDE deal:
Realistically, the only company that I considered as big as the UFC, and it was over in Japan, not in the United States, was Pride. What I wanted to come away from Pride acquisition obviously was talent and that library. I wanted that library.
Oh really? The library you never use? Sure, you can see the fights on UFC On Demand if you really want but why pay for them when you can find them online in all kinds of different places? And when was the last time the PRIDE library was even used to great effect? Never has it been used to really hype a fight to the extent that a casual fan would want to buy a pay per view because a PRIDE guy is fighting. As for the talent, we all know what happened regarding the talent. It didn’t come with the deal and whose fault is that ultimately? If the UFC had done its due diligence in regards to buying PRIDE maybe we wouldn’t have to hear these questions anymore.
On the WEC:
The WEC has actually turned out to be 10 times the product Pride ever was.
This has to be the biggest farce of a statement that has come out of White’s mouth in the past few month. Ten times the product? I’ll give White credit, the WEC puts on great shows that don’t disappoint. But there has never been a time where I have thought to myself that a WEC show could be the best show of the year or a better product than PRIDE. PRIDE sold out massive arenas in Japan with more fans than even a UFC show could dream of doing. The WEC shows are lucky to get 10,000 people in the venue. For as much good as White has done for the sport, it’s statements like this one that make you want to pull your hair out sometimes. It’s disrespectful to the product that was PRIDE and he might as well be pissing on their grave.
On fighters outside the UFC:
No other organization has anybody worthy of fighting the UFC champion. If you look at CBS, they have Kimbo Slice fighting, this guy was fighting in your backyard last weekend, you know what I mean?
There are, honestly, no guys outside of the UFC that I’m interested in right now. When I say that, I mean in other organizations.
It’s this kind of closed-minded approach that also rubs me the wrong way. You’re telling me that Gesias Calvancante or Shinya Aoki isn’t worthy of fighting B.J. Penn? I know you have to pimp your product and for the most part the UFC does have the best fighters in the world. But don’t act like there aren’t great MMA fighters out there who aren’t in the UFC because there most definitely are.
Also, to that effect, the future of the UFC has to come from somewhere. So Dana is admitting that he needs the other leagues to farm talent from but then goes back and says that there’s no one out there that he’s even interested in? Please.
On a television deal:
At the end of the day, what we’re really in is, we’re in the pay-per-view business. My job and my crew’s job here at the UFC is, we sit around and we create new ways to build our pay-per-view business, you know? To expose people to mixed martial arts, to expose them to the athletes, to learn.
Exposing people to mixed martial arts through pay per view? As opposed to a television deal? Doesn’t make much sense. Make people pay for your product, like UFC 71, and end up with a one minute fight that didn’t appeal to anyone but hardcores. Or, give them the opportunity to watch a bunch of fights for free on network television. I think this is a telltale sign that the UFC has no real interest in negotiating a television deal right now and are happy where they’re at in the pay per view business. I can’t blame them, they’re making money hand over fist. But don’t act like you’re putting on pay per views to expose people to the sport. You’re in the pay per view business to make money, period.
On the atmosphere at UFC events:
People are always asking me, can you bring your kids to a UFC event? Yeah, if you would let your kids watch professional boxing, you should absolutely bring your kids to a UFC event. Basically the people at the UFC event are the who’s who from Las Vegas, the who’s who from L.A. and a ton of hardcore fans who are very respectful people — most of these people are martial artists themselves.
Obviously Dana has never sat in the crowd at a UFC event because he has no real perception of the type of people that go to events. It may be all glitz and glamour down on the floor but in the stands it’s a different story. The hardcore community is extremely small. Those who train? Even smaller. The larger contingent of the fans at the events are those who want to see two guys bash each other in the face, have zero problems screaming obscenities, and watch pro wrestling every Monday night. I’ve been to three different UFC events, two in Columbus and one in Cincinnati. I sat in three different ticket price areas and I found the same people around me no matter where I went: assholes.
On The Ultimate Fighter:
I don’t think so. This thing’s in its seventh season. I start shooting season eight next week. Think of all the greatest television shows in the history of television, how many of them have gone eight seasons?
Denial. This is what we call denial. White refuses to admit that the product is stale and that the ratings are dropping. One episode this season was the lowest rated episode ever in the history of the series. The fact that there’s so many seasons has to have something to do with the fact that the UFC is pumping out seasons as fast as they can. Has Spike TV even had time to notice the ratings drop? Sooner or later the jig is going to be up.