The President of the Ultimate Fighting Championships, as well as producer of the successful "The Ultimate Fighter" T.V show spent some time with MMA Ring Report's own "Sushiboy" and had a frank discussion about everything from the 155 pound lightweight division, Pride, "The Ultimate Fighter" and of course boxing reality TV show " The Contender".
The President of the Ultimate Fighting Championships, as well as producer of the successful "The Ultimate Fighter" T.V show spent some time with MMA Ring Reports own "Sushiboy" and had a frank discussion about everything from the 155 pound lightweight division, Pride, "The Ultimate Fighter" and of course boxing reality TV show " The Contender". For all that and more read on for MMARRs pre April 9th Interview with Dana White.
Arnold Lim: First of all, thank you very much for spending time with us today.
Dana White: My pleasure Arnold.
MMARR: I wanted to talk a little bit about your own martial arts history first, apparently you were a very seasoned amateur boxer, with quite an extensive record in the amateur boxing ranks, I was told that you were almost at one time considering going pro. Can you tell me a little bit about that?
DW: I was considering going pro but I never did and it messed with me for a long time. I think I stopped letting it mess with me when I was about 31 or 32. I really wanted to do it bad, but there is always that fine line of
It takes a lot of heart and a certain type of person to decide I want to be a pro fighter and I am going to dedicate my life to it. Because there is always that fear in the back of your head that you are going to wake up and be 33 or 34 when it is over, and have not made it and have nothing. That is why I have so much respect for the guys that do, put it all on the line and go for it and decide that that is what they want to do with their life and give it a shot.
MMARR: Does it make it that much harder for you to tell a fighter that just lost in the UFC that we are going to terminate thier contract knowing that you went through a similar situation back then?
DW: Absolutely, I know exactly what they are feeling and what it is like. You know it is one of those things that make this business tough. There is a lot of guys contracts that we have terminated, that I like a lot you know. I think a lot of people feel Phil Baroni was in the UFC longer then he should have been. The thing that I like about Phil is that Phil is a warrior, he likes to fight. Fighting means more to him then anything and that attitude that he has is what I respect and like about him. That is why he was with us for so long.
MMARR: You started off as a boxer and now you are the president of the UFC. How did you discover the UFC and how did you discover mixed Martial Arts in general?
DW: I was turned onto the UFC by
I saw the first one and then it kind of disappeared and I never saw it again after that. I didnt know what had happened to it. One night I bumped into John Lewis, I had known John Lewis and I bumped into him at the Hard Rock Hotel. Frank Ferttita and I wanted to try submission fighting wanted to check it out and wanted to see what it was like and we started training with John. That is how we got introduced to it.
MMARR: We cant go through an interview without mentioning obviously the Ultimate Fighter. Randy Couture mentioned in one of the earlier episodes that the fighters are going to be representing the sport as well as themselves. How would you rank their representation of the sport and MMA as a whole?
DW: As far as The Ultimate Fighter is concerned?
DW: It is a catch 22 because, in any sport or any company or anything, and you go behind the scenes and you can see what is really happening and sometimes it is good and sometimes it is bad. I mean we all know the great thing about this sport is how great the athletes are and how hard they train. But there is a lot of things that happen behind the scenes that arent that fabulous. You know you got to take the good with the bad. As far as the television show, I think it is a great Television show and I think it has brought a lot of mainstream exposure to the UFC and to the sport of MMA and it did what it was supposed to do.
MMARR: You put yourself front and centre on the TV show, you are also a member of the TV show, do you find that when you are walking around that people notice you more then before?
DW: Yeah definitely
MMARR: Will there be a second season of the Ultimate Fighter based on the strong ratings of the first one?
DW: We are working on that right now. We are working on seasons 2 and 3.
MMARR: IF you have a second or third season will you be going with the same format?
DW: We havent really gotten into that right now, we are negotiating right now but yeah it would be similar, it would be the same yeah
MMARR: How did it come about that Jason Thacker came to represent Canada or Thacker became a member of the The Ultimate Fighter?
DW: He sent in a tape, just like everyone else did. There was a situation where there were other guys that represented Canada that didnt make it into the show for one reason or another.
MMARR: So he just ended up being the last one standing as far as the Canadians go?
DW: Pretty much.
MMARR: You guys usually have about 6 events per year. How will the Ultimate fighter affect that? Do you think that some time in the future that you will have more then 6 events per year?
DW: Yeah definitely, probably this year or next year. We will be doing a lot more. We have a lot of good things going on right now.
MMARR: When you say a lot more can you elaborate on how many more like 8 a year or 7 a year or 9?
DW: Yeah in that ballpark, I dont know yet, I dont like commenting on things until the deal is done. When the deal is done we will announce it.
MMARR: What is the status of UFC Japan. You said you dont like to announce anything before it is signed announced for that or any fights signed at all for that?
DW: No we dont right now. It is going to be June 12 though. And we got April 9th and April 16th, two shows back to back, we are wrapping up this show, so we are a little buried right now. We should have an announcement really soon for Japan.
MMARR: You are obviously busy but do you have any idea where UFC 54 will be after Japan?
DW: Probably Mohegan Sun. That is tentative, that is not for sure.
MMARR: The winner of the show is scheduled to get a six figure contract as mentioned on the show. Can you elaborate on that, is it a multi-fight deal?
DW: It is a three year deal.
MMARR: So it is a yearly deal instead of a fight deal?
MMARR: After the Spike show on April the 9th and you have your final winners, how long will it be before they fight in the UFC on the regular PPVs?
DW: You mean the winner?
MMARR: Yeah the Middleweight and Light heavyweight winners.
DW: They will fight soon within the next couple of shows.
MMARR: There has been a lot of talk about dissolving the 155 pound division. I understand you are not having champions there now. Do you think that with the UFC T.V Show that the UFC 155 division will make a comeback?
Yves Edwards and Josh Thomson hamming it up at the weigh ins
DW: yeah, the 155 pound division isnt going anywhere, it is just that we cant hold a title in that division right now.
MMARR: The WWE will no longer be with Spike, how do you feel about not having that show lead into The Ultimate Fighter?
DW: That is not for sure that they are leaving Spike. That deal isnt done yet. Whoever makes WWE an offer, Spike has the right to match.
MMARR: So IF the WWE were to leave, do you think that would affect The Ultimate Fighter show in any way?
This is the end of part one. In part 2 Mr. White talks about the boxing reality TV show "The Contender", Sylvester Stallone, and having the winner of the two reality shows, face each other.