According to UFC President, Dana White, the financials for UFC Long Island last night (Sat., July 16, 2022) were phenomenal. The main event? Not so much.
During the UFC on ABC 3 post-fight press conference (watch it here), White announced that the gate for the event was $2.11 million, the 19th straight sellout for UFC, and the highest grossing Fight Night ever. It was also the highest-grossing sporting event ever held inside UBS Arena, which is located at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York.
Unfortunately, fans didn’t exactly get their money’s worth after the headline fight between Yair Rodriguez and Brian Ortega ended via anti-climactic injury four minutes into the first round.
“It sucks,” White said. “It sucks. It’s a rough sport and these things happen. And it looked like it was shaping up to be a great fight so, you know, these things are going to happen. What are you going to do? It sucks.”
Asked if he planned on rematching Ortega and Rodriguez, White said it wasn’t looking likely.
“[Ortega] probably needs shoulder surgery now,” he said. “I had shoulder surgery. It’s a nightmare, and it takes a long time to recover from. We’ll see what happens. I’m not even thinking about that right now. But ... awesome that they both want to do it.”
As for what could be next for Rodriguez, one reporter suggested an interim title fight between “El Pantera” and Josh Emmett.
“Volkanovski, I think is gonna have surgery on his hand,” White said. “I think there’s something wrong with his hand. You’re asking if that’s [an interim title fight] a possibility? I like it. I don’t hate it.”
White also opened up about the Charles Oliveira vs. Islam Makhachev Lightweight title fight set for UFC 280 in Abu Dhabi. When asked whether Oliveira would still be getting pay-per-view (PPV) points despite being stripped of the title at UFC 274 for missing weight by a half-pound, UFC’s president said, “Yeah, yeah, I think he does. I mean, he’s the champ, but technically he’s not the champ.”
“We tried to make the Dariush [vs. Makhachev] fight, [Dariush] broke his ankle,” White explained. “That fight [Oliveira vs. Makhachev] makes sense in Abu Dhabi. Everybody wanted to do it, I think everybody wanted to see it, so here we are.”
This was White’s return to post-fight press conferences following a short stretch that saw him notably absent from events. White revealed he had been on vacation and commented on a number of events he’d missed, including the Israel Adesanya vs. Jared Cannonier fight.
“He won,” White said simply about Adesanya. “I mean, I don’t know if it was the performance that he wanted to give, or that he was selling leading into that fight. And the other thing is, I don’t think his opponent was very aggressive, either. So, it takes two to make a great fight.”
“It won’t happen in the next fight. When you’re sitting here in my position, you can’t give too many guarantees.... I absolutely, positively guarantee you that the next fight that Israel Adesanya fights will be absolutely bats—t nuts.”
Adesanya is expected to face Alex Pereira in his next Middleweight title defense. Pereira is a two-division kickboxing champion who also happens to hold two wins over Adesanya in that sport — one of them a devastating knockout.
For complete UFC Long Island results and coverage click here.