I’m at the Earls Court Exhibition Centre for the UFC Fan Expo. Dana White’s Question and Answer session has just finished, with the UFC President struggling manfully to answer questions from fans from all across Europe with a variety of accents. As is often the case with these events, much of the time was taken by people asking for freebies or when the UFC would be coming to their home country but there were some interesting points raised.
White was asked about why he banished Paul Daley from the UFC after sucker punching Josh Koscheck at UFC 113 when other fighters such as Chris Leben have been forgiven for drug test failures. White explained that whilst steroids are always going to be a problem and sanctions are passed down by the athletic commission but that in the ten years Zuffa had owned the UFC there had never been a similar incident. White made clear that somebody taking liberties with their opponent made him “sick” thinking about it and that he hopes that by banning Daley from the UFC he “sends a message”.
There was another sharp exchange, this time surrounding Fedor with a fan pressing White on the need to sign the legendary Russian heavyweight when his contract with Strikeforce expires. White was clear that he had tried to recruit Fedor, making M-1 Global a deal that he “bets they wished they had signed now” but that he would “never say never” about Fedor coming into the UFC. White made the point that Fedor hadn’t been facing top competition since 2005 and when the fan answered back that “Fedor’s record speaks for itself” White responded to laughter from the audience “so does Muhammad Ali’s…should I sign him!?!”. White also had pointed words for Fedor’s current employers, noting that Strikeforce seems to be having problems getting its fighters to sign, something that he put down to their decision to let their fighters compete outside the organization. For this reason he made it clear that whilst he gets on well with Alasdair Overeem and would like to see him in the UFC that Overeem would never be allowed to compete in both UFC and K-1.
In terms of discussion of future matchups; White revealed that contrary to previous reports Jon Jones may not be fighting Ryan Bader next as Bader has issues that he needs to address and that World Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo may move up to 155Ibs very soon. Talking of the WEC, he hinted at some future changes to UFC’s sister organization saying that “he is working on something big” when asked about merging the two organization’s lightweight divisions. He said that should Michael Bisping win tomorrow night, he would still be two more fights away from earning a shot at the World Title and that Anderson Silva vs. George St. Pierre will probably happen if both fighters make two more successful defences of their world titles. If made, the fight would take place at 185Ibs. He also repeated his comments made earlier this week, that a victory will make Jake Shields the number one contender at 170Ibs.
In response to a request for the return of one night tournaments, White made clear that such events will never return to the UFC saying that they “don’t prove who is the better man, just who is the least bust up (from previous fight)”. When talking about future expansion plans, he said that the organization would hold an event in South Korea before it is able to return to Japan and that France was the main priority for further European expansion. They are also currently working on breaking into the lucrative Indian market.
Tags: Dana White, Mixed Martial Arts, UFC 120, UFC Fan Expo