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Midnight Mania! Luke Rockhold slams ‘tyrant’ Dana White’s ‘belittling’ negotiation tactics

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UFC 239: Ultimate Media Day Luke Rockhold Dana White Sean Strickland Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

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There’s a great deal of talk about how UFC manages its roster of athletes. UFC President Dana White is currently in the midst of a very public feud with an active all-time great in Jon Jones, labeling the former longtime champion scared ahead of a potential bout with Francis Ngannou. It’s a common negotiation tactic for White and UFC; no fighter wants to look afraid.

Yesterday, Jones found an unlikely ally in former rival Daniel Cormier, who claimed the idea of Jones fearing Ngannou as “absurd.” Now, Cormier’s team mate and former Middleweight champion, Luke Rockhold — who, for those who forget, once was chasing a fight with “Bones” himself — went on the Rippin’ It podcast to slam White and his “mafioso” negotiation tactics.

“Fighting is like a mafia. They have these very mafioso-type tactics in negotiations, they try to f–k with you. I’m not having any of it,” Rockhold explained (transcription via BroBible). “If you don’t know your worth someone will tell you your worth and it’ll be less than your worth, so know your worth. Once I lost the world title, Dana White came up to me and tried to beat me down mentally and I was like ‘f–k you,’ straight up. I was like I’m going to go do my own thing, if you’re going to try and offer me this and that bull–it, you know who I am and what I did, that’s the only reason I went out and got a modeling contract so I could leverage myself.”

The face of Ralph Lauren’s “Polo Blue” had more harsh words for the UFC President, describing White as a “tyrant” and wannabee fighter.

“We don’t have the governing body. We’ve got an egotistical guy that’s a bit of a tyrant,” Rockhold said. “No one is going to try and fight you, you’ve got to put your ass on the line, stand your ground, take risk, otherwise you get treated like a b–ch. It’s unfortunate, a guy like that, he thinks he can fight, he thinks he’s a fighter. I don’t understand why he’s trying to belittle all the fighters when you’ve never fought a day in your life. You’re a promoter. We need a governing body to give people what they deserve, he doesn’t play the game right.”

At the moment, Rockhold is in the process of returning to 185 lbs., and he recently announced that longtime team mate Khabib Nurmagomedov was going to be acting as one of his primary coaches. Given all those talk, however, I wouldn’t expect Rockhold to receive an easy match up in his Middleweight return.


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