Unsurprisingly, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White’s reaction to the recent creation of Mixed Martial Arts Athletes Association (MMAAA) is a bit more colorful than the evergreen statement that the world’s leading mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion last week.
White was a recent guest on “UFC Unfiltered,” telling show hosts Jim Norton and Matt Serra that he isn’t mad that several of high-profile fighters, including former Welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, among others, have publicly backed the organization. However, he questions the decision to work alongside former Bellator MMA owner — and rival UFC promoter — Bjorn Rebney, who White still affectionately refers to as “Bjork.”
“The only thing that I need to know is that the biggest scumbag in the history of combat sports, Bjork, is involved in this thing,” he said. “Listen, there are three unions out there right now battling against each other. And, if you’re a fighter, all these guys are looking to get in your pocket — it’s a business where guys are going to make money. As a fighter, if this is what you want to do, you need to figure our whose hand you want in your pocket. And I guarantee you don’t want Bjork’s hand in your pocket.”
Let me just take a brief moment to remind Mr. White about this gem:
This video, and the toxic venom that White spat at Elite XC’s Gary Shaw, never gets old no matter how many times you watch it ... even more than eight years later. Indeed, Shaw more than likely eclipsed Rebney — who White claimed is a “piece of shit” whose only motive is current unemployment (and, accordingly, money) — in the the scumbag department, but that’s neither here nor there. Regardless, the feelings are mutual.
White then shifted gears to address the concern that fighters who publicly support MMAAA like St-Pierre, Tim Kennedy, Cain Velasquez, T.J. Dillashaw and Donald Cerrone, might be black-balled or face retaliation. White offered a less-emotional, measured response, perhaps even some rare words or practical wisdom from the $360 million man.
“I’m not mad at all [at the fighters],” he said. “At the end of the day here is the reality: The fighters can go out and do what they want to do — they are all grown men. We all have paths to walk down in life and this is what these guys [decided to to].”
He did, however, take time to single out Welterweight standout Donald Cerrone, who was charged with “boat rage” back in 2013. White — who basically takes credit for getting “Cowboy” acquitted on all charges — doesn’t understand why his phone didn’t ring before the announcement.
“I was shocked that [Donald] Cerrone didn’t give me a call,” White said. “He has headlined three [UFC events]. Never held a title in WEC or UFC. And, a couple of years ago, he was on his boat and gets into a beef with a guy on another boat and he’s in big trouble. Who does he call? He calls me. What do I do? I go out and find him the best criminal defense lawyer and spent $100,000 of my own money. So, when I see ‘Cowboy’ standing up there I’m like, ‘really?’ Listen, no one has thicker skin than me. So, it just gets to a point where it’s, ‘whatever.’ It’s all good.”
Cerrone will fight Matt Brown in the co-main event of UFC 206, which takes place this Saturday (Dec. 10, 2016) inside Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Kennedy, too, will be in action against Kelvin Gastelum. It will likely be the first time that both fighters cross paths with White and Co. since the surprise MMAAA announcement.
Talk about pre-fight tension.