Posted 09/30/2013 by Jesse Scheckner in UFC
 
 

The UFC 168 Tour Stops in Miami – Dana White Edition

UFC president Dana White addresses the crowd at the Klipsch Amphitheater at Bayfront.

UFC president Dana White addresses the crowd at the Klipsch Amphitheater at Bayfront.

(Video below.)

UFC president Dana White has been called many things during his tenure as the preeminent 21st-century MMA trailblazer – shrewd businessman, ruthless, vulgar, passionate – yet there is one thing that cannot be denied: his candor.

He is the leader the sport so desperately needed during its direst days, and his direct, often bulldogged approach saved the sport from an early death, rebirthing it – phoenix-like – into the international sensation it is today. The living embodiment of stubborn tenacity, White may still come across rough around the edges – we’d have him no other way – but he has always been generous with his time when dealing with the fans he rightfully credits with being the UFC’s lifeblood.

Former middleweight champion Anderson "The Spider" Silva speaks briefly with White before leaving the event.

Former middleweight champion Anderson “The Spider” Silva speaks briefly with White before leaving the event.

When the UFC 168: Silva vs. Weidman 2 promotional tour stopped off in Miami on Friday, September 27th at the Klipsch Amphitheater at Bayfront Park, White was the first to walk onstage to greet the crowd, speaking briefly before turning the mic back over to the event’s emcee. He remained on site for the full duration of the show, after most of the attending fans had departed and long after most men in his position would have stayed.

Having already been through a long day, it would have been perfectly understandable if White had declined the interview. That he didn’t is a testament to his professionalism.

If Anderson loses, what are your plans for him? He has 8 more fights on his contract after this. Do you think he should maybe go the Rich Franklin route, where he pursues those “money fights,” you know, the fights the fans want to see?
I have no idea, you know. If he loses, it changes a lot of things. We’d have to sit down and see what he wants to do.

You mentioned that you were “glad that happened” when asked about the injury plague in 2012 that you went through. Can you elaborate a little bit on that – why “glad?”
I was glad because I didn’t. If you told me that that was possible before it happened, I would’ve never believed it. Now I know it’s possible and we can get through it.

Chris Leben is fighting Uriah Hall on the main card, which is interesting because Leben was Silva’s first fight in the UFC and Uriah Hall was Weidman’s second-to-last fight before he got the call up to the UFC. You’ve mentioned your disappointment with Hall’s performance in the past and Leben’s on a three-fight losing streak. Is this one of those “loser leaves town” kind of situations?
I don’t know. You know… we’ll see what happens. But yeah, it’s definitely – Uriah Hall needs a win. Uriah Hall needs this win.

What do you make of the bizarre PED-testing ordeal that’s going on between Johny Hendricks and GSP? Do you think GSP needs to become more hands on with his public relations?
I think it’s a little weird, but whatever. Weirder stuff has happened.

White sits patiently between interviews. Before the day is over he'll answer hundreds of more questions, all with his patented filter-free frankness.

White sits patiently between interviews. Before the day is over he’ll answer hundreds of more questions, all with his patented filter-free frankness.

 

Since Demian Maia’s moved down to welterweight, he’s looked incredible. Will a win over Shields earn him a shot (at the title) or do you think he needs to go through a Carlos Condit or a Martin Kampmann?
(He didn’t hear the beginning of the question) Who?
(Thinking he didn’t hear the end of the question) Carlos Condit or Martin Kampmann.
(Looking at the written question) Which guy, Maia? Yeah, Maia’s up there, man. This is a big fight. You know, he beats Shields it’s a big deal. It’s a big win.

Ed Soares’s RFA organization is the first league outside of the UFC to be allowed to officially used the patented Octagon and it’s been officially referred to as a “feeder league,” so to speak. Do you expect more of these kinds of things to pop up as the UFC grows, and how interested are you in those types of things?
They’re all feeder leagues.
But this one’s an official one…
They’re not official. They’re not an official feeder league. That’s not true.
Well, they are allowed to use the Octagon…
Yeah, well they paid for it. Anybody can do that.
Oh, that’s cool. I didn’t know they could do that.
Yeah…

What markets do you believe are next for the UFC and are there any big international announcements you’d like to make, or any kind of areas you’re looking at specifically?
Within three weeks we start The Ultimate Fighter: China.
That’s awesome.
Yeah.
That’s really cool. How are American fans gonna be able to see that? Are we gonna be able to see that on-
Yeah, we’ll figure it out. You know, we like to get that stuff out to everybody all over the world, so we’ll figure out a way to get it out there and translated.
It was disappointing, ‘cause when The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil occurred, I wound up seeing the championship before I even saw the series…
I know. We have so much shit going on. I try to do as much as I can. You know, it’s tough.
You’re doing a really good job.
Thanks.


Jesse Scheckner

 
A freelance MMA, entertainment and business journo born, raised and residing in Miami, FL, Jesse Scheckner is a former semi-serious musician, cinephile and recovering ne’er-do-well committed to nonfiction storytelling. He is the 2014 Florida MMA Awards "Best MMA Media Correspondent" winner and a two-time Miami New Times "Best Of" winner. Follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner to talk about the stuff he writes about with him.