You may not always agree with Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White's approach or delivery on mixed martial arts (MMA) matters, but one thing you can also count on is for the brash boss to be open with his opinions on things.
He may not always stick to those opinions. He may also eventually deny that he ever said it. But, he never tries to sugar coat things.
It's been a decent year for White and the UFC, but it's also been a very challenging year. Highlighting the list of obstacles is the cancellation of its first-ever event, which occurred after Dan Henderson was injured, and UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones refused to take a replacement fight versus Chael Sonnen, causing UFC 151 to be buried under the Las Vegas sand.
White appeared on AXS tv's "Inside MMA," where he shared his feelings on the highs and lows of his time presiding over the largest MMA organization in the world, specifically talking about this last year of roller coaster twists and turns.
As far as White is concerned, the sport is as great as it ever has been, but there are a few things he'd like to see changed -- things that he thinks have the potential to eventually ruin all of MMA:
White started off by giving one last recap of his feelings about the event that never was: UFC 151. He's still feeling the residual effects of the fiasco, and the week of the proposed fight card, he was confronted, face-to-face, with the impact that the decision had on countless fans:
"Let me tell you the way I look at it. In 12 years, we never had to cancel an event. We always delivered the show, and I was proud of that. But, all good runs and streaks come to an end, and that one came to an end. Now we need to get on another 12 year run. The thing that really bummed me out would be breaking the streak. I honestly never thought we'd ever have to cancel a show. The Thursday night, the week of the show, I went to dinner at The Mandalay Bay, and there were so many people in town. Yes, you could have refunded your tickets, but so many people got cheap flights, the cheapest flights you could get, and they got their rooms, and they couldn't get out of that. So, they still took the trip to Vegas. The collateral damage of cancelling an event like that is bigger than people even realize."
Finishing up on the point, White made sure to take one last jab at his nemesis, Greg Jackson, making sure that we are still aware of just how much he places the blame squarely on the doorstep on the infamous trainer:
"I think I was open and honest and a little emotional, when it first went down, and, I'll tell ya, Greg Jackson told him, 'If you take this fight, it'll be the biggest mistake you ever make in your whole career.' Every time I say it, I laugh. No disrespect to Chael Sonnen, but it's the most insane thing I've ever heard in my life. Jon and I will talk, and we'll figure this thing out."
Dana went on to talk about one of his other, major pet peeves: MMA officiating. He's a big fan of instant replay being used in the sport, as well as the athletic commissions doing a better job of hiring referees and judges who understand the sport.
He hopes to see both objectives implemented, one day, but he believes the commissions and the people who run them are gumming up the works:
"I'm with you on the instant replay. Every other major sport has instant replay. Fighting needs to do it. Especially with how bad the officiating has been: judges and reffing. Instant replay -- that's it. They got this thing with combat sports, these athletic commissions have this thing where it's like, once a guy makes a decision, it can't be overturned. It's insane! Guys are gonna make a mistake! You can't be at all the angles. You can't see everything. This sport is so young. There's a lot of guys that are unqualified to ref and judge this sport. Instant replay makes sense, and it'd be awesome, because the thing that people don't understand is, once you make a decision, and it's a bad call, that's this guy's life...forever. It's a career changer. You make a mistake in a baseball game, and there'll be 190 more opportunities to make up for it. They'll be okay! You make a mistake in fighting, and it hurts this guy immensely.
It has to get better. If it doesn't, everybody's in trouble. I consistently call people out, and we're doing everything we can to try and stop this from happening. I think it's one of the worst things that can happen, if a guy loses a fight, that didn't really lose that fight. It effects their money. It effects everything. I mean, Jon Jones has a loss on his record that isn't right. That wasn't a loss. He should be undefeated right now. We should be able to go out and promote Jon Jones as the undefeated, undisputed Light Heavyweight champion, but we can't, because there was a guy reffing a fight that didn't belong there."
Currently, the only realistic superfight for "The Spider" seems to be one opposite Georges St. Pierre. White feels confident that St Pierre and Silva are going to fight (sooner rather than later), but he also thinks the idea of Silva fighting Jones isn't as outlandish a concept as some people might think:
"So, here's how this whole thing has gone down, and you guys have seen it play out. Anderson and 'GSP' were talking like they didn't wanna fight. Now, if St. Pierre beats Carlos Condit, he's saying he wants to fight Anderson, and Anderson is saying he wants to fight him. So, that fight will probably happen first. Now, Anderson and Jones are saying, 'We don't wanna fight. We're buddies.' But, he didn't wanna fight Rashad Evans either, and that happened. So, as you start to get to a point where Anderson is, in his career -- he's beat everyone. He's broken every record in the UFC. If he beats Georges St. Pierre, I guarantee you he'll be eyeballing Jon Jones next."
The superfight may never go down. UFC 151, for sure, will never go down. The good news is that UFC 152 is scheduled to take place LIVE from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on Sept. 22, 2012. Barring a major injury or three, it's shaping up to be a very intriguing card.
And you can read all about it right here.