As the UFC begins negotiations on a new TV deal that will begin in 2019, UFC president Dana White is already seeing some dirty tactics being played.
White reacted to a statement he heard from FOX host Colin Cowherd ahead of UFC 217 less than two weeks ago that he looked like he wished he had gotten out of the mixed martial arts business along with his friends and former owners Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta, who sold the company in 2016 for just over $4 billion.
White erupted in reaction to Cowherd’s claims and said that veteran radio host had no idea what he was talking about much less that he’s somehow an authority on the UFC’s business.
“I saw [Colin] Cowherd comes out today and says that I’m burnt out and I want to be on a sailboat with the Fertitta’s and all this bulls–t. F–k you Colin Cowherd,” White shouted during a media scrum in New York via TSN. “You know nothing about me or this business so keep your f–king yap shut.”
White says he believes Cowherd’s statement stems from the fact that the UFC is entering the final year of its television deal with FOX, which means the promotion could possibly switch to a new network in 2019.
When the UFC signed with FOX back in 2011, the company dealt with similar fallout from their previous television partners at Spike TV and White says this is no different judging by Cowherd’s sudden change of opinion.
“I’m not going after anybody but for Cowherd to come out today and say the s–t that he said, especially for a guy for a long time who has been one of our biggest fans. Now our deal is up with FOX and Cowherd’s talking s–t about stuff he has no f–king clue what he’s talking about,” White said.
“It’s 100-percent what’s going on. It’s dirty f–king business tactics and Cowherd is a guy, I’ve been on his show many times and I’ve known him for a long time and it’s f–king dirty. F–k you.”
White’s comments were made a day after the UFC 217 pre-fight press conference when he responded to a question from the media and said that 2017 would be the UFC’s most successful year in history.
Of course, White’s claims were called into question because the UFC seemingly hasn’t enjoyed a very strong year on pay-per-view thanks to the absence of both Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey.
White fired back by saying that no one — Cowherd included — really knows what’s going on behind the scenes at the UFC and trying to say otherwise just isn’t being genuine.
“When people come out and open their f–king mouth about s–t that they shouldn’t be talking about because they know nothing about it, it’s my favorite thing,” White said.
“Yesterday, it’s not like I was out trying to say [how] the business is doing, that guy asked me a question. How’s life been since the last time you were at Madison Square Garden, I said funny you should ask we’re going to be No. 1 and No. 3 [in live gate], I want that No. 2 spot, too, and this is the best year in the company’s history, period.
“The s–t that gets written, it’s crazy. People who have never built a business, people who know nothing about running a business, people who have never had people who depend on a paycheck from them, all have advice and want to talk about your business when you know absolutely nothing about this business.”