The Question: As Mighty Mouse Rips Him, Is Dana White Still an Asset to New UFC?

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The Question: As Mighty Mouse Rips Him, Is Dana White Still an Asset to New UFC?

Post by Hamilcar on Fri Jun 09, 2017 4:11 pm

The Question: As Mighty Mouse Rips Him, Is Dana White Still an Asset to New UFC?

By Chad Dundas



Longtime flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson became the latest athlete to go public with his grievances about his UFC bosses Monday, posting a detailed recounting of his ongoing frustrations to Imgur.

In it, Johnson discusses the behind-the-scenes wheeling and dealing surrounding his next title defense, for which flyweight contender Ray Borg, bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt and former 135-pound champ TJ Dillashaw have all been floated as opponents.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the main targets of Johnson’s vitriol are UFC President Dana White and head matchmaker Sean Shelby, who the fighter accuses of using "bullying" tactics throughout their conversations. Johnson also rails against the UFC's apparent apathy about promoting his fights and what he sees as the disrespect he's been showed throughout the negotiating process.

At least some of Johnson's anger is believed to be in response to White's recent appearance on the UFC's company-controlled Unfiltered podcast, where he called Johnson's refusal to fight Dillashaw "insanity," via MMAjunkie.

"For years, I have been a company man and kept quiet, accepting fights, doing as they asked and always remaining humble and grateful for the opportunities provided to me through mixed martial arts," Johnson wrote in his statement. "Unfortunately, UFC's mistreatment and bullying has finally forced me to speak out."

Johnson later doubled-down in a fiery appearance on Monday's The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani.

Johnson certainly isn't the first fighter to take issue with the UFC's hard-nosed management style and in recent years, more and more recognizable names have singled out White as the prime target of their complaints. Considering last year's sale of the UFC to Hollywood megatalent agency WME-IMG for more than $4 billion, the rising tide of fighter discontent raises questions about White's bombastic, sometimes obnoxious persona both backstage and in front of the cameras.

Joining me to discuss exactly what all this means is fellow Bleacher Report lead writer Scott Harris.



Chad Dundas: Scott, for longtime observers of the UFC, very little of what "Mighty Mouse" alleges in his recent statement is surprising. Because of that—even though all we have so far is his side of some of this story—much of it has the ring of truth.

We've known for years that the world's largest MMA promoter takes an iron-fisted approach to every negotiation. White himself has made a cottage industry out of being a swaggering loudmouth.

For a long time, you could argue that was exactly the sort of public leadership the UFC needed, as it fought for acceptance and airtime in the mainstream sports landscape. But now? It seems to me perhaps that approach is no longer useful.

Because while not much of what Johnson says is shocking, it is surprising that it's Johnson saying it.



This is a guy who has been a rock for the UFC since winning the 125-pound title in 2012. He's fought at least twice a year every year since, while amassing 10 consecutive title defenses and blowing away the rest of the best flyweights in the world.

Along the way—by his own admission—he's made few waves. Until now.

And really, if Demetrious Johnson is publicly ripping you for the way you've treated him throughout his career? Brother, you've got problems.

Scott, we can talk about Johnson himself in a minute, because his position inside the company is an interesting one.

Firstly, though, what are we to make of White and the UFC getting called on the carpet by one of their most successful champions? And in the era of the "new" WME-IMG-owned UFC, does this macho negotiating style actually do more harm than good?



Scott Harris:
You're absolutely right about the nature of the statement. The content wasn't surprising. What was surprising is that someone went on the record, and very, uh, thoroughly at that. White's treatment of fighters is usually described in whispers, thanks entirely to the treatment itself.

As for said treatment, yes, it has run its course. Put aside how grating and off-putting it is. Put aside the bully tactics. After all, White's personality is not exactly unique in the world of MMA or beyond—cough—Trump—cough.

Let's instead make a business case for White—or, to be more precise, against him. Generally speaking, White's stated basis for denying Johnson's demands (according to Johnson's statement) was that flyweights don't "sell" or "draw." That is accurate, but only to a point.

Cards headlined by Johnson and other lighter-weight fighters do not perform well in TV ratings or pay-per-view buys. But that doesn't mean flyweights and men's bantamweights are devoid of value to the company. These divisions are not loss leaders or personal vanity projects. Clearly, White and other UFC leaders did not establish these divisions out of love for these fighters. Perhaps Johnson can't sell one million pay-per-views, but he is still a champion and he still draws eyeballs and darn sure delivers the goods, as evidenced by the fact that he just tied the UFC record for consecutive title defenses and has never lost as a flyweight. At the very least, he makes a strong card stronger.

And there's where White's tactics appear to fail a basic cost-benefit analysis. Why would you ever alienate your own champion? And not only a champion, but the top fighter on the UFC's own pound-for-pound ranking? Aren't WME-IMG and the UFC in the business of making and promoting stars? How does this advance that cause? Where else do you see a top official make a disgruntled athlete where there wasn't one before, for absolutely no discernible reason beyond ego? Maybe White isn't unique, but his tendency to let his little head make decisions for his big head certainly doesn't benefit the UFC's bottom line. In the scrappy early days, when the UFC needed a tough and loyal ally, this made sense. It doesn't anymore.

https://img.bleacherreport.net/img/article/media_slots/photos/002/685/226/4ad36ad19ab35d4577d8f78e066fac5a_crop_exact.jpg?h=533&w=800&q=70&crop_x=center&crop_y=top

Chad: The idea that a guy like Johnson "doesn't sell" drives me crazy. Here's a man with a legitimate blue-collar success story—Johnson worked in a factory while his UFC career was just getting started—who has painstakingly built himself into perhaps the best mixed martial arts fighter in history while putting up a 26-2-1 record since 2007.

He comes preloaded with a fanbase outside the UFC's usual fight audience, as Johnson is something of a well-known figure in the video game-centric Twitch community (whatever that is). He's a smart, thoughtful family man who enjoys a sorcerer's apprentice-type relationship with his coach, MMA pioneer Matt Hume.

On top of all that, the dude spits hot fire pretty much every time anybody puts a microphone in front of his face. After defeating Wilson Reis in April, Johnson got on the mic and literally declared that he is a better fighter than beloved legends Georges St-Pierre and Anderson Silva ever were.

You can't sell this guy, UFC? Really?



And that brings us back to White.

Through his 16 years as UFC president, it has seemed like the company only understands one way to promote its fighters. Either they come pre-made in the badass Chuck Liddell/Brock Lesnar/Ronda Rousey mold or the UFC can't seem to figure out what to do with them.

Now that we're nearly a year into the WME-IMG era, shouldn't we see evidence that things are changing? If there was one thing the bona fide entertainment giant seemed like it could improve on in this sport, it was promoting fighters and building stars.

So far? I don't know that we've seen any evidence of that.

Scott, what's the end game here? During his appearance on The MMA Hour, Johnson said he'd be willing to continue working for the UFC if they could all put this ugliness behind them.

Does Mighty Mouse carry on being the Octagon's most dominant champion? Or is this a deal breaker of a situation?



Scott: When it comes to the UFC's history of making stars, an old quote from The Simpsons comes to mind: "We've tried nothing, and we're all out of ideas!" That definitely applies to Johnson, and in the case of White's purported behavior, they've tried less than nothing. He failed to adequately promote Johnson, then blamed him for the shortcoming.

However, I do want to be fair here. Johnson spent a good chunk of his career taking a very guarded stance opposite any microphone. He tended to lapse into cliches and general blandness, though he did turn that around after Conor McGregor's emergence cemented once and for all the indispensable role personality plays in MMA success. (And while I personally find his fighting style electrifying—and 15 stoppages in 26 wins demonstrates that—some people fairly or not do find him boring to watch.)



Anyway, to your question about the end game, the UFC owners have a few choices. They can find some way to part ways with Johnson, they can mediate some kind of resolution between Team White and Team Mouse, or they can part ways with White.

To date, outside of some staff layoffs, the WME-IMG brain trust has been basically invisible, at least to the public. They seem content to let White be the face of the company. What kind of ROI [rate of investment] do they believe they are getting on him right now, I wonder. Can they really believe there is no one, literally no one else, who can do what White does? White has institutional knowledge, no question; he is the institution. But at this point, is that a good thing? So much has been made of WME-IMG's buttoned-down approach to governance. Does White fit that approach?

I imagine White will stay, that cooler heads—whomever those heads might actually be—will prevail. But until WME-IMG leaders step forward and fully imprint their own stamp on their $4 billion investment, this kind of dissonance will continue. That wouldn't be surprising. The surprising part may come, as it did today, when more and more athletes come forward to challenge it.

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Re: The Question: As Mighty Mouse Rips Him, Is Dana White Still an Asset to New UFC?

Post by CDF47 on Fri Jun 09, 2017 4:16 pm

Shouldn't have messed with Mighty Mouse

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Re: The Question: As Mighty Mouse Rips Him, Is Dana White Still an Asset to New UFC?

Post by westcott123 on Sun Jun 11, 2017 7:30 am

I read a quote from Dana and he said Connor McGregor is the best pound for pound fighter on earth

McGregor 0
Mighty mouse 10

I know they said mighty mouse fights "cans" .,,yet they call Fedor a "can crusher" for not signing to the ufc and yet a guy in mighty mouse who is one of the most dominant champions ever and they call him a can crusher.
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Re: The Question: As Mighty Mouse Rips Him, Is Dana White Still an Asset to New UFC?

Post by CDF47 on Sun Jun 11, 2017 8:13 am

westcott123 wrote:I read a quote from Dana and he said Connor McGregor is the best pound for pound fighter on earth

McGregor 0
Mighty mouse 10

I know they said mighty mouse fights "cans" .,,yet they call Fedor a "can crusher" for not signing to the ufc and yet a guy in mighty mouse who is one of the most dominant champions ever and they call him a can crusher.

I just saw the video where Dana said that. Mighty Mouse is breaking records with title defenses. I think he is clearly above Conor in the P4P best ranks.

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Re: The Question: As Mighty Mouse Rips Him, Is Dana White Still an Asset to New UFC?

Post by westcott123 on Sun Jun 11, 2017 9:01 am

CDF47 wrote:
westcott123 wrote:I read a quote from Dana and he said Connor McGregor is the best pound for pound fighter on earth

McGregor 0
Mighty mouse 10

I know they said mighty mouse fights "cans" .,,yet they call Fedor a "can crusher" for not signing to the ufc and yet a guy in mighty mouse who is one of the most dominant champions ever and they call him a can crusher.

I just saw the video where Dana said that.  Mighty Mouse is breaking records with title defenses.  I think he is clearly above Conor in the P4P best ranks.
https://www.google.com.au/amp/mmajunkie.com/2017/06/dana-white-responds-demetrious-johnson-egregious/amp

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Re: The Question: As Mighty Mouse Rips Him, Is Dana White Still an Asset to New UFC?

Post by westcott123 on Sun Jun 11, 2017 9:03 am

westcott123 wrote:
CDF47 wrote:
westcott123 wrote:I read a quote from Dana and he said Connor McGregor is the best pound for pound fighter on earth

McGregor 0
Mighty mouse 10

I know they said mighty mouse fights "cans" .,,yet they call Fedor a "can crusher" for not signing to the ufc and yet a guy in mighty mouse who is one of the most dominant champions ever and they call him a can crusher.

I just saw the video where Dana said that.  Mighty Mouse is breaking records with title defenses.  I think he is clearly above Conor in the P4P best ranks.
https://www.google.com.au/amp/mmajunkie.com/2017/06/dana-white-responds-demetrious-johnson-egregious/amp

I haven't seen the video yet but I will check it out
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Re: The Question: As Mighty Mouse Rips Him, Is Dana White Still an Asset to New UFC?

Post by Rocksoldier84 on Sun Jun 11, 2017 10:27 am

westcott123 wrote:I read a quote from Dana and he said Connor McGregor is the best pound for pound fighter on earth

McGregor 0
Mighty mouse 10

I know they said mighty mouse fights "cans" .,,yet they call Fedor a "can crusher" for not signing to the ufc and yet a guy in mighty mouse who is one of the most dominant champions ever and they call him a can crusher.

So, you're a "can crusher" if you don't sign in the UFC and you're a "can crusher" for being a dominant champion in the UFC. So how are you not a "can crusher"? Also, why the fuck do people act like Dana is the one who is the only one with the power to bestow the title of "pound for pound fighter in the world"? Also, nice to see that Dana's standards have plummeted. Won the Featherweight Title in impressive fashion but then was upset by Nate Diaz, barely got by the second fight, talked his way to a Lightweight Title shot, won it, but has made a grand total of 0 defenses over two title reigns. Nice to see avoiding title defenses, talking your way into title fights, and wasting everyone's time on a boxing fight instead of defending your title makes you the best. I know Rousey is likely finished but Dana doesn't have to suck Conor dry.
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Re: The Question: As Mighty Mouse Rips Him, Is Dana White Still an Asset to New UFC?

Post by Hamilcar on Sun Jun 11, 2017 11:03 am

Rocksoldier84 wrote:
westcott123 wrote:I read a quote from Dana and he said Connor McGregor is the best pound for pound fighter on earth

McGregor 0
Mighty mouse 10

I know they said mighty mouse fights "cans" .,,yet they call Fedor a "can crusher" for not signing to the ufc and yet a guy in mighty mouse who is one of the most dominant champions ever and they call him a can crusher.

So, you're a "can crusher" if you don't sign in the UFC and you're a "can crusher" for being a dominant champion in the UFC. So how are you not a "can crusher"? Also, why the fuck do people act like Dana is the one who is the only one with the power to bestow the title of "pound for pound fighter in the world"? Also, nice to see that Dana's standards have plummeted. Won the Featherweight Title in impressive fashion but then was upset by Nate Diaz, barely got by the second fight, talked his way to a Lightweight Title shot, won it, but has made a grand total of 0 defenses over two title reigns. Nice to see avoiding title defenses, talking your way into title fights, and wasting everyone's time on a boxing fight instead of defending your title makes you the best. I know Rousey is likely finished but Dana doesn't have to suck Conor dry.

Exactly.

I think at this point, if you're a "can crusher" it means you are so good you make everyone you fight look bad.

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Re: The Question: As Mighty Mouse Rips Him, Is Dana White Still an Asset to New UFC?

Post by westcott123 on Sun Jun 11, 2017 4:20 pm

Rocksoldier84 wrote:
westcott123 wrote:I read a quote from Dana and he said Connor McGregor is the best pound for pound fighter on earth

McGregor 0
Mighty mouse 10

I know they said mighty mouse fights "cans" .,,yet they call Fedor a "can crusher" for not signing to the ufc and yet a guy in mighty mouse who is one of the most dominant champions ever and they call him a can crusher.

So, you're a "can crusher" if you don't sign in the UFC and you're a "can crusher" for being a dominant champion in the UFC. So how are you not a "can crusher"? Also, why the fuck do people act like Dana is the one who is the only one with the power to bestow the title of "pound for pound fighter in the world"? Also, nice to see that Dana's standards have plummeted. Won the Featherweight Title in impressive fashion but then was upset by Nate Diaz, barely got by the second fight, talked his way to a Lightweight Title shot, won it, but has made a grand total of 0 defenses over two title reigns. Nice to see avoiding title defenses, talking your way into title fights, and wasting everyone's time on a boxing fight instead of defending your title makes you the best. I know Rousey is likely finished but Dana doesn't have to suck Conor dry.

I know it is fucked isn't it ? Of course I was using Fedor as an example on how screwed up it is they simply don't like DJ cause his 5ft3 and doesn't trash talk . With the mayweather bout its all dollar signs everyone knows conor is going to get picked apart from Floyd . I say let the ufc go down this path it is good news for us in the end because eventually fighters will leave and new prospects will signed with either bellator, Rizin, ACB etc and the ufc will either get rid of Dana or collapse personally I hope for the latter
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Re: The Question: As Mighty Mouse Rips Him, Is Dana White Still an Asset to New UFC?

Post by westcott123 on Mon Jun 12, 2017 2:00 am

Rocksoldier84 wrote:
westcott123 wrote:I read a quote from Dana and he said Connor McGregor is the best pound for pound fighter on earth

McGregor 0
Mighty mouse 10

I know they said mighty mouse fights "cans" .,,yet they call Fedor a "can crusher" for not signing to the ufc and yet a guy in mighty mouse who is one of the most dominant champions ever and they call him a can crusher.

So, you're a "can crusher" if you don't sign in the UFC and you're a "can crusher" for being a dominant champion in the UFC. So how are you not a "can crusher"? Also, why the fuck do people act like Dana is the one who is the only one with the power to bestow the title of "pound for pound fighter in the world"? Also, nice to see that Dana's standards have plummeted. Won the Featherweight Title in impressive fashion but then was upset by Nate Diaz, barely got by the second fight, talked his way to a Lightweight Title shot, won it, but has made a grand total of 0 defenses over two title reigns. Nice to see avoiding title defenses, talking your way into title fights, and wasting everyone's time on a boxing fight instead of defending your title makes you the best. I know Rousey is likely finished but Dana doesn't have to suck Conor dry.

They hate on mighty mouse even though he is 5ft3 he would make them his bitch also standing up to Dana and the ufc and you know how much they hate that
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Re: The Question: As Mighty Mouse Rips Him, Is Dana White Still an Asset to New UFC?

Post by Rocksoldier84 on Mon Jun 12, 2017 11:06 pm

Here's a question, when was the last time Dana was an asset? When he breeded the Zuffa Zombies years ago?
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Re: The Question: As Mighty Mouse Rips Him, Is Dana White Still an Asset to New UFC?

Post by westcott123 on Tue Jun 13, 2017 6:22 am

Rocksoldier84 wrote:Here's a question, when was the last time Dana was an asset? When he breeded the Zuffa Zombies years ago?

If a person was to guess 2007 more like 2005  the whole asset thing most likely came from the "he saved mma" i admit yes he played a big part in making mma main stream 1 the fertitas bought the ufc and pumped money into it 2 tuf 3 the fans who paid for it 4 pride collapsing
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Re: The Question: As Mighty Mouse Rips Him, Is Dana White Still an Asset to New UFC?

Post by InfinityLens on Tue Jun 13, 2017 9:31 pm

Not much opportunity for FlW outside UFC, I guess he could try to become the FlW champ and Rizin and BW champ in Bellator.

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Re: The Question: As Mighty Mouse Rips Him, Is Dana White Still an Asset to New UFC?

Post by Hamilcar on Wed Jun 14, 2017 12:26 am

Rocksoldier84 wrote:Here's a question, when was the last time Dana was an asset? When he breeded the Zuffa Zombies years ago?

I believe the UFC grew inspite of him, not because of him. He hurts the culture of MMA.

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Re: The Question: As Mighty Mouse Rips Him, Is Dana White Still an Asset to New UFC?

Post by Rocksoldier84 on Fri Jun 23, 2017 2:11 am

Hamilcar wrote:
Rocksoldier84 wrote:Here's a question, when was the last time Dana was an asset? When he breeded the Zuffa Zombies years ago?

I believe the UFC grew inspite of him, not because of him.  He hurts the culture of MMA.

Good example is The Ultimate Fighter which many credit for helping get MMA mainstream and Dana was against it at first. There's the moments he came off embarrassing from the Loretta Hunt controversy to flip flopping on TRT.
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Re: The Question: As Mighty Mouse Rips Him, Is Dana White Still an Asset to New UFC?

Post by Hamilcar on Fri Jun 30, 2017 12:35 pm

From Ben Fowlkes and Chad Dundas's "Breakfast of Champions"

Dana White sat down for a long chat with MMAjunkie’s John Morgan recently, and among the many newsworthy tidbits to come out of it was a look at Demetrious Johnson’s immediate future. White still isn’t happy about Johnson’s refusal to fight T.J. Dillashaw without financial guarantees from the UFC, and he expressed that frustration thusly:

“You want Ray Borg, we’ll give you Ray Borg,” White said. “I’m sure the fans will be clamoring, and ticket sales will be through the roof and pay-per-views will be off the charts.”

Again, that’s Dana White, professional fight promoter, telling us what’s next for the most dominant champion in the company right now. We have some questions:
What’s your goal here? You crank up the sarcasm to tell us that, what, your next flyweight title fight – the one that will break a UFC record for consecutive title defenses if Johnson wins – is going to be some total dog shit that no one will watch? How does that help you, exactly? You know, seeing as how it’s your event.
What makes you think a fight between Johnson and Dillashaw would do so much better? Dillashaw has been the main event for two UFC pay-per-views. The better of the two did just slightly over 200,000 buys. It’s not exactly like Johnson is turning down Conor McGregor here.
Remember that thing Johnson said in his open letter, the part where he said that he was reluctant to accept the offer of points on the pay-per-view, since it wouldn’t amount to shit if the UFC didn’t bother to promote the fight? Kind of seems like you just proved his point.

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Re: The Question: As Mighty Mouse Rips Him, Is Dana White Still an Asset to New UFC?

Post by westcott123 on Fri Jun 30, 2017 5:37 pm

^^ yep exactly like a typical Dana ^^ translation "I and I the 1% are not going to make big bank out of this fight" . like I said typical Dana as soon as someone doesn't play ball well yeah . As for DJ he never said 'I will never fight TJ,' like he said he wants TJ to make the weight and have a contender fight .
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Re: The Question: As Mighty Mouse Rips Him, Is Dana White Still an Asset to New UFC?

Post by Rocksoldier84 on Fri Jul 07, 2017 11:51 am

Hamilcar wrote:
Rocksoldier84 wrote:Here's a question, when was the last time Dana was an asset? When he breeded the Zuffa Zombies years ago?

I believe the UFC grew inspite of him, not because of him.  He hurts the culture of MMA.

I honestly don't know what he did to make UFC grow other than put in long hours. If anything, The UFC just stumbled on to success. They lost $44 million dollars over four years and were ready to give up before TUF became a huge hit. Speaking of TUF, White was against it and if it were up to him, they never would've done it so he brilliantly was against The UFC's most successful idea. Meanwhile, UFC also became number one because PRIDE suffered a massive scandal and Strikeforce had investors that weren't in it for the long haul. It can be argued that UFC would not have been so big if PRIDE and Strikeforce stuck around. I also have to bring up that people talk about what he's done with the sport, but how is he helping the sport when he trashes other companies and fighters not in the UFC while trying to control the media North Korea style?
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