UFC president Dana White is often accused of being the Vince McMahon of mixed martial arts.
He doesn’t so much mind the comparison to McMahon when it comes to being one of the greatest promoters in the world, but he immediately shoots down any notion that he coaxes his fighters into public personas like McMahon’s scripted professional wrestling promotion.
Numerous fighters – like UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre – predicted that Chris Weidman would upset Anderson Silva at Saturday’s UFC 162 in Las Vegas, and he did.
So many fighters were either picking Weidman for the win or at least endorsing his skill set as a “bad match-up” for Silva that calls rang out across the net that UFC officials were pressing their fighters to say Weidman had more than just a chance.
“I saw a ton of this (expletive) on the internet, like we were getting the fighters to say, like we were playing up this whole thing on how fighters were saying this guy could beat Anderson Silva,” White recounted in a UFC 162 post-fight scrum with reporters.
He refuted such assertions, pointing out that, not only does he not have that kind of influence over his fighters, but that most of them would publicly call him to task for suggesting it.
“First of all, half of them wouldn’t (expletive) do it,” explained White. “Second of all, if I could talk some of them into it, the first thing they’d say when they were (expletive) pissed at me is, ‘Do you know what he (expletive) did? He made us go out and say that we thought Chris Weidman was gonna win.’
“We don’t tell anybody to do anything.”
That’s not wholly true. White admitted there is some instruction given to his fighters, but it’s not in the form of specifically what to say in regards to promoting their fights or others.
“You know what I tell you to do? You gotta do PR on Tuesday, you gotta go over here and do radio on Thursday, you gotta sign your contract, don’t swear on free TV. All this (expletive), I do tell them to do,” he continued.
“The other thing I never do, I never call a guy and say, ‘Listen, you need to start talking some (expletive) okay?’
“There’s gonna be fights where guys talk (expletive), and there’s gonna be fights when guys start hugging and loving each other. Do I love that? No, but it is what it is.”