The shaky relationship between Roy Nelson and Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White continues to be just that -- shaky.
And despite that, even if Nelson insists otherwise, White says if "Big Country" continues to climb the ladder to the top of the UFC heavyweight division, his personal feelings towards the fighter won't get in the way of him earning a championship fight.
"Roy loves to say I'll never give him a title shot," White told Kevin Iole in recent interview with Yahoo! Sports. "But dude, beat someone and then I'll give you the shot. Roy is knocking off these guys ranked six through 10, but when he gets to fighting the top five guys, he can't do the same thing. You're not going to get a title shot for beating No. 6 and No. 8. You have to beat the top guys."
Ever since Nelson joined the UFC roster after winning season 10 of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) reality show, he has had a compelling, yet extremely unstable, relationship with his boss.
From White's attempts to convince Nelson to take his fighting career more seriously by getting into better physical shape to the 36-year-old being a "huge pain in the ass" during his coaching stint on TUF 16, there is no love lost between the two clashing personalities.
Nelson (19-7) is currently on a three-fight win-streak, with all the victories by way of first-round knockout, and is next scheduled to face the unranked Stipe Miocic at UFC 161 on June 15, 2013.
The Las Vegas resident believes he could get 10 first-round finishes in a row, but the "business" and "politics" surrounding the world's premier mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion will forever prevent him from ever getting a crack at UFC gold.
Regardless of his feelings towards the heavy-handed slugger, White firmly denies that notion, citing his relationship with former light heavyweight champion and UFC Hall of Fame inductee Tito Ortiz as an example of successfully doing business with someone he doesn't personally care for.
"Look, everyone knows how I feel about Roy, and everyone remembers how I felt about Tito [Ortiz]," White said. "But I never prevented any fight for Tito from happening. If [Nelson] goes out there and beats the guys ranked head of him, then yeah, he'll get [a title shot]. But he's not going to get one just by talking about it and doing whatever the hell he is trying to do. He's going to have to fight for it, just like everyone else."
Ultimately, this latest exchange is just another bump in the road in a relationship that, despite a continuous back-and-forth in the media, has lasted approximately four years without any major incidents taking place in the public.
It seems as though Nelson and White will never be able to see eye-to-eye, and the UFC's head-honcho believe a lack of intelligence from his fighter is the reason it will stay that way going forward.
"Let's be honest. He's just not a smart guy," White said of Nelson. "He's just that guy who is irritating. He thinks he's smart, but he's an absolute pain in the ass."
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