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Luke Rockhold explains beef with Dana White: ‘He f—ked me from the start’

Luke Rockhold may have come up short in the final fight of his mixed martial arts (MMA) career this past weekend (Aug. 20, 2022), but that hasn’t stopped the former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight titleholder from expressing himself as only he can.

Going into his co-main event contest against Paulo Costa at UFC 278, Rockhold was seemingly more vocal than ever before. Whether he was lambasting the promotion at media day or talking down to his opponent, no punches were pulled.

The biggest highlight out of Rockhold’s shots taken, however, had to be his thoughts on UFC fighter pay and his targeting of Dana White. For Rockhold, the reason for his vitriol goes back farther than just the recent years since UFC was purchased by WME-IMG as he previously mentioned.

“Why do you think I’m so mad at Dana? Because Dana never gave me a chance,” Rockhold told The MMA Hour. “From the moment I came in the UFC, he never gave me a f—kin’ chance. Wrote me off. Never highlighted my years in Strikeforce or anything I did on the wins, only my losses.

“Dana White controls the narrative of what the public perceives and he f—ked me from the start and it took me 16-17 years to come back and have a fight like that and earn my respect,” he continued. “Nothing I did in the past mattered until now? Alright. That’s why I feel the way I feel sometimes, you know? That’s why I say the things I say. You gotta understand the power that you have in that situation with the narrative that you create, the public believes what they want to believe, what you tell them to believe.”

Rockhold suffered a unanimous decision defeat to Costa in Salt Lake City, Utah, but dug deep unlike he’d been known to do in the past (watch highlights). Visibly tired as early as round two and dealing with a broken nose, Rockhold continued winging and connecting with big shots, seeking victory. It ultimately wouldn’t be enough for a two-fight skid-snapping victory but he did take home $50,000 for a “Fight of the Night” effort.

Retiring after the loss, Rockhold goes down as one of the Middleweight division’s more under-appreciated talents, crossing over to UFC when Strikeforce was bought out in 2013.

“Everyone else garnered their attention coming in and I looked like this kid, you know, I don’t know,” Rockhold said. “This kid that no one wanted to respect, I guess. From him and so on. They made me go down to steroid-ville in f—kin’ Brazil and fight Vitor [Belfort]. Everybody else got respect and was going into world championship fights and in consideration for. I got nothing. Two-time defending Strikeforce champion. Coming in there and, ‘You haven’t done s—t.’ Had to go fight Vitor when they knew what they were doing back then. Protecting him and motherf—kers juiced to the gills. I had to get cleaned by him, knocked down, and belittled by everybody then build myself back up. I’m good at building myself back up.”

For complete UFC 278 results and coverage click here.

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