It’s hard to think of anyone in mixed martial arts as ring tested and battle proven as Vernon “Tiger” White. An original member of the Lion’s Den, White has been involved in the sport since the very beginning. Over the course of sixteen years the 37 year old father has been involved with virtually every major promotion on the planet and has fought the very toughest competition the game has had to offer.
His record reads like a who’s who list of the some of the very best to have ever fought. Guys like Lyoto machida, Chuck Liddell, Vladimir Matyushenko, Kazushi Sakuraba, Frank Shamrock, Jeremy Horn, Mario Sperry, Pedro Rizzo and Bas Rutten have all traded blows with ‘The Tiger’ at some point during their illustrious carers. The resume is staggering.
White is far from done in the game. In an exclusive interview with FiveOuncesOfPain.com the dangerous veteran confirmed that he has signed to face off with UFC veteran Josh Haynes at the upcoming Wargods event, hopes to face off with Mike Whitehead in a kickboxing match, and is in talks to possibly face off with Kimbo derailer, Seth Petruzelli sometime very soon.
Fresh off of an eight month suspension for the use of a diuretic (commonly used to help shed water weight), White is eager to get back in the cage and return to his old form.
A changed man, the former IFC and King of the Cage champion recently turned his life around when his fiancee gave him an ultimatum. ‘It’ drugs or me’. That was all he needed to hear. The two have since been married and White has been clean ever since. Making the changes that needed to be made and recently becoming a father for the first time has given White an all new perspective on life.
Cory Brady: Has this recent time off kind of helped you to spend that extra time with your baby boy?
Vernon White: This time off has actually been great that way. It’s hard because I haven’t been able to make any money but I’ve bonded with him like my dad never bonded with me, so it’s kind of cool
Cory Brady: So you had to actually fight just hours after he was born? That’s crazy! What can you tell me about that?
Vernon White: Well, it started the night before the fight. My wife started going through labor pains and she woke me up at about two or three in the morning. I didn’t really get any sleep that night, and then at seven in the morning, she started having worse pains than before so we went to the hospital. I was at the hospital all day with her. He was born at 3:26 and I had to be at the arena at 4:30, so it gave me just enough time to get back to the Hotel and get back to the arena. I ended up fighting at nine that night. I won the fight but the commission took it from me and suspended me because I took a diuretic.
Cory Brady: Can you talk to me a little about your suspension for the use of a diuretic? I know it’s normally used to help shed water weight, is that what you used it for?
Vernon White: Yes, it was. I actually checked on the website, I checked my contract, And I checked on the Nevada State Commission site. It didn’t say that I could not use a diuretic. Then my wife checked in deeper aand found something on the website that stated that you could only use one certain type of diuretic. When I brought that to the athletic commission’s atention, they said ‘Yeah, it says that it’s okay, but we won’t let you use it.’. What I don’t understand is how their website says one thing is okay and another isn’t, how they justify that all of it is bad when somewhere else it says it’s okay. Even my opponent’s trainer asked if it would give me any type of advantage, and they said no.
Cory Brady: When we can expect to see your return to action?
Vernon White: The suspension is over as of March so I’m ready to fight. I’m going to be fighting Josh Haynes on April 25th in Reno, Nevada in a co promotion with Ken Shamrock Productions and Wargods.
Cory Brady: So how do you feel about this match up with Josh Haynes? What are your thought on him?
Vernon White: I believe that Josh Haynes has a big mouth and I need to shut it. He was telling some of our guys that he’s going to be spanking me in April. He can be sure that I’m not going to run from him like his last opponent and let him get a split decision. He’s going to know that he was in a fight, especially after he’s looking at his face in the mirror.
Cory Brady: Have you been focusing on anything specific, or just your whole game?
Vernon White: I’ve kind of been focusing on my strength for this one. He was whining and complaining, and now they want me to fight at 195 pounds, knowing that I normally fight at 205 pounds. He thinks that he’s going to run through me at 195, but they don’t know how easy it is for me to get down to 195 pounds, I just decide to fight at 205. The only thing for me is, I’ve just been working on my strength so I don’t lose anything when I go down there. I think I’m goiing to be the stronger guy and a lot of people comment on how fast I am at 205, so he’s going to have his hands full once I make that drop. He’s going to have a lot of words to eat after this fight.
Cory Brady: Do you still talk to Ken pretty regularly?
Vernon White: Oh yeah.Ken’s actually getting ready to have another fight on March 21st. I’m holding the pads for him and helping him to get ready. I’m a little bit excited about it because it’s going to be the first time that I’ve been able to be in Ken’s corner while completely sober. I’ve stopped drinking and I’ve stopped taking drugs, so now, I can be there for him. The other times I was in his corner, I was out partying the night before or whatever so I couldn’t be there for him the way I should have on the day of the fight. Now my life has changed. I’ve done a 180 degree change so I’m excited about helping Ken for this next fight.
Cory Brady: So what gave? What was the breaking point for finally wanting to turn your life upside down?
Vernon White: Well my fiancee at the time, basically told me that it was either her or drugs, and I chose her. We ended up getting married, had a child and I gave my life back to God. I’m actaully working to get a degree online and I’m studying to be a pastor right now. I have also started a Tae Kwon Do class for the children at my church. I feel like if I can give back to some of the kids and help them take a different path that I did, it would be all worth it.
Cory Brady: Are you under contract with anyone, or are you a free agent at this point?
Vernon White: I have KO Dynasty and their talking with Affliction to see if they’re going to honor my contract. I’m still going to fight for Ken Shamrock and Wargods whenever they want me to, and I’d like to get back in and fight with the XFA, because the XFA wanted to build a fight between myself and Mike Whitehead in kickboxing, and I’d love to have that fight. He wanted no part of me on the feet when we fought in the IFL so that would be interesting. They’re also talking about a possible fight with me and Seth Petruzelli. I would love to get that one going.
Cory Brady: You’re one of the most experienced fighters in the game but a lot of people don’t realize that you are still fairly young at 37. How many more years can we expect to see you compete?
Vernon White: I’m thinking that maybe at fory two or forty three I’ll quit. I want to keep going as long as I can to show people that you can still be a christian and go out their and use the talent that you were given. God gave everyone a special talent, and it’s up to you to use that talent.
Cory Brady: You’ve fought so many of the toughest guys that are out there. Who are a couple of the absolute baddest, toughest dudes you’ve ever fought?
Vernon White: I’d have to say Vladimir Matyushenko, Pedro Rizzo and Sakuraba. A lot of people would like for me to add Chuck Liddell to that list but I can’t, because if his finger hadn’t gone into my eye, then I probably wold say thatbhe was one of the toughest, but he doesn’t rank in that list right now.
Cory Brady: In the wake of the whole GSP greasing allegations, do you think there is a serious problem with cheating in the sport?
Vernon White: There are some guys in the sport that have a way of punching with their fingers not all the way open, but they leave their knuckles extended so the knuckle can go right in the eye, which can cause severe damage. As far as I’m concerned, you need to close your fists and fight like a man. I don’t have anything against Chuck or GSP, they’re doing what they feel they need to do to win, but sooner or later someone’s going to do it to them, and then they’ll realize what it feels like. My eye took 38,000 dollars to fix. Maybe they’re waiting until someone gets their eye taken comletely out.
Cory Brady: Is there anyone that you would like to thank?
Vernon White: I want to thank everyone that has been behind me from the beginning. I have nothing but love for all of my fans. I would love to have some sponsors to thank. Anyone out there looking to sponsor Vernon “Tiger” White, give my manager a call. I also want to thank God, Ken Shamrock, my wife and I want to say ‘I love you’ to my son.