Dana White made a mistake by not exhausting all resources to make Jones-Silva superfight happen (Yahoo! Sports)


  • Share on Tumblr
  • submit to reddit

Dana White is notorious for his long workdays and for going to great lengths to try to achieve the impossible.

He so badly wanted to sign Fedor Emelianenko a few years ago that he flew to an island near Venezuela to negotiate with the Russian’s management team. The security arrangements alone for that meeting are probably worthy of a book.

But coming off UFC 153, the indefatigable White should have spent his days, as well as his nights, working to put together a fight between light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and middleweight champion Anderson Silva.

It's the fight that mixed martial arts fans want to see more than any other. It's the fight that would do the biggest business. It's the fight that would match the Nos. 1 and 2 rated fighters in the world.

It's the only fight that made sense and it was White's job to try to get it done.

He doesn't always come through – who does? – but he rarely fails to exhaust every effort in the process.

This time, though, he failed, and in a big way. Instead of pushing and prodding and demanding and cajoling Jones and Silva to fight each other in a match for the ages, he took the easy path.

[More Kevin Iole: Giving Chael Sonnen a shot denigrates light heavyweight title]

Confronted with an injury to Jones' right elbow that will keep him out until April, White opted to have Jones spend the next few months in Las Vegas coaching on "The Ultimate Fighter."

That was a good choice. Jones has gotten a lot of bad media recently and could use the exposure the reality series will bring him.

The bad part is that White opted to pair Jones against Chael Sonnen, the trash-talking self-proclaimed gangster from West Linn, Ore., who is not only coming off a loss, he's yet to win a fight at light heavyweight in the UFC.

Without question, Sonnen talked his way into the match, which he readily admitted on an often-surreal conference call Wednesday.

"As far as talking my way into it, what do I care about that?" Sonnen said. "So what? I talked my way into it. I wanted it and I got it. I talked a cat out of a tree earlier today. I'll do whatever I want. I've gotten plenty of jobs I wasn't qualified for and I went in and I got promoted anyway."

That flies in the face of what White said he would allow when he was asked on a Las Vegas radio show on Aug. 21 if he'd give Sonnen a title shot were he to beat Forrest Griffin at UFC 155.

The Griffin-Sonnen bout is now canceled since Sonnen will be on "The Ultimate Fighter," but White's remarks at the time were unequivocal.

"Yeah, he's a long way away," White said during the interview with Dave Farra and Dave Mahoney. "He's not coming off the Silva fight and just talking his way into a 205-pound world title shot. He's going to have to beat a couple of the best in the world, you know? If he beats Forrest, we'll shoot him right into the top five. Let him beat some of those guys there and we'll see what happens."

[Related: Dan Henderson lays into Dana White for Sonnen-Jones matchup]

White's explanation for why that changed doesn't wash. He told Yahoo! Sports on Tuesday, and then said repeatedly during the conference call on Wednesday that other contenders turned the fight with Jones down. But he was referencing the match with Jones at UFC 152, which became necessary when Dan Henderson was injured and pulled out of his fight with UFC 151. Several fighters declined to fight at UFC 151 on short notice, but Sonnen agreed to take on Jones.

But Jones then shocked White by opting to decline that bout, saying he didn't think he had time to properly prepare for a fighter with a different style. As a result, UFC 151 was canceled and Jones wound up fighting Vitor Belfort at UFC 152 on Sept. 22.

Machida turned down a chance to fight Jones at UFC 152 because he didn't feel he had enough time to prepare. But it's disingenuous to use that as the reason for pairing Jones and Sonnen at TUF, given White's comments to Farra and Mahoney and the fact that Machida was never offered the TUF coaching gig. He would have taken that opportunity.

It should never have come to this, though. White should have been working like the madman he is in order to convince Jones and Silva to fight each other in April.

White talked about putting on a fight in the cavernous Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, when he had a show big enough to fill it. Without question, Silva-Jones would have been that fight.

There's been great angst among most MMA media over Sonnen's selection, with much vitriol directed at White.

That vitriol, though, is misplaced. White is simply doing what a wise businessman does, selling his customers what they want to buy.

[Also: Is Jones-Silva superfight going the way of Pacquiao-Mayweather?]

The blame for the match should be placed on those who will tune in to watch the reality show to hear Sonnen taunt and berate Jones for 13 weeks, and to those who will plop down $50 to see them fight in April.

White is simply reacting to what the fans want.

People will tune in to the reality show, which will move off of Friday nights, an FX executive confirmed during the call, to see if Jones comes unhinged by Sonnen's constant trash talk and mind games.

Jones, though, handled himself quite well on Wednesday. He had been reluctant to fight Sonnen before, saying he didn't believe Sonnen deserved it, but reconsidered as he realized what it could do for him.

"My decision didn't have anything to do with finances, it really had to do with just getting over this chapter in my career," Jones said. "I'm trying to move forward and do a lot of amazing things. The UFC 151 cancelation was a [low point] of my career. Beating Chael Sonnen, and then after that, beating Dan Henderson, it would help me to have closure on both situations.

"That's what this is about for me, putting closure to the Chael Sonnen invasion of my career."

If that’s the case, Jones made the right choice.

It's White who erred. His decision will sell tickets and pay-per-views, and many will say that's ultimately all that matters. But giving a guy coming off a one-sided loss and with no wins at the higher weight provides way too much of a WWE-feel to this.

Going all out to make a Silva-Jones fight would have made everyone more money and made the sport look good.

Instead, this is one of those times where it feels like Vince McMahon is running the UFC.

Other popular content on the Yahoo! network:
Robinson Cano lounges in dugout chair during Game 3
Dan Wetzel: Nike, Livestrong abandon Lance Armstrong at wrong time
Thunder hire Serbian coach to run D-League team/a>
Y: Music: Super Bowl XLVII Halftime Show act announced

view original article >>

Related News

  • 29 days ago
  • 2441 views

Photo of the Day honors goes to this instagram shot of Dana White submitting Kazushi Sakuraba. Dana White is currently on the tail end of his Asian trip where he made huge announcements for the Hong Kong and Japanese media. The UFC president is very active in social media, and he did show some of the more interesting moments he had in the region. He had stuff like visiting the Bruce Lee statue, or comparing Roy Nelson to Sumo Wrestlers, and this one, where he goofs around with a certain Japanese more

  • 24 days ago
  • 54 views

Pat Miletich is the latest inductee to the UFC Hall of Fame. UFC president Dana White confirmed the news, which has been rumored for the past several days, to MMAFighting.com on Tuesday. The 48-year old Miletich had an almost incalculable influence on the sport of mixed martial arts, first as one of the sport's great fighters and then as the head of one of the first true elite MMA gyms. The pride of Bettendorf, Iowa was the first holder of what is now known as the UFC welterweight title, current more

  • 24 days ago
  • 69 views

In his first video blog for Saturday’s UFC 175 event, UFC President Dana White takes us on the road with Mike Tyson and to Asia for PR duties.Filed under: News, UFC, Videos more

  • 24 days ago
  • 143 views

In UFC president Dana White's latest video blog, we go behind the scenes of his appearance with Mike Tyson on the Jim Norton Show, and then it's off to Asia for a promotional tour. more

  • 24 days ago
  • 172 views

Fight week, blog week! Dana White's video blog series is back for UFC 175: "Weidman vs. Machida," which takes place this weekend (Sat., July 5, 2014) at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. Follow White, who is joined by Mike Tyson (what a DICK!) during a New York media appearance, before he departs for an all-Asia tour (Hong Kong, China, Japan) to handle some very important business (more details here and here). Michael Bisping vs. Cung Le, Stun Gun Kim (he's not thrilled) and much more

  • 24 days ago
  • 98 views

In the latest edition of Dana White's pre-event UFC video blogs, we take a backstage look as White, Michael Bisping, Cung Le, Roy Nelson and Mark Hunt embark on a media tour to New York and across Asia in advance of UFC 175 , which takes place on July 5, 2014 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. more

  • 23 days ago
  • 31 views

B.J. Penn could be on the brink of a career rebirth at 145 pounds on Sunday night, when he meets Frankie Edgar in his featherweight debut. Or, the 35-year-old former welterweight and lightweight champion could be on the brink of retirement. If Penn loses to Edgar in the main event of The Ultimate Fighter 19 Finale at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, his boss is going to suggest he walk away. "This is B.J. Penn's last fight possibly," UFC president Dana White said Tuesday on FOX Sports 1. "If he w more

  • 23 days ago
  • 52 views

UFC president Dana White has broken his silence on the Chael Sonnen situation. While the UFC issued an official statement on Monday -- announcing that the company and FOX Sports were cutting ties with Sonnen, who failed his second Nevada Athletic Commission drug test in less than a month -- White himself had not spoken directly on the situation. Tuesday night on FOX Sports 1, White spoke on the matter, saying it wasn't easy to cut someone he considers a friend. "You know, its never easy making d more

  • 23 days ago
  • 50 views

After he failed two random drug tests in a one-month span, the UFC and Fox severed ties completely with Chael Sonnen on Monday. more