01 Jan Everything we learned from Dana White’s AMA on Reddit
With extra time on his hands until the UFC returns on May 9, Dana White decided to answer fan questions during a recent “ask me anything” session on Reddit.
The Q&A touched on a number of subjects as the UFC president addressed the UFC 249 main event, his favorite KO, tough negotiations and much, much more.
Without further ado, here’s everything we learned from Dana White’s AMA on Reddit.
Problem with Tony Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje?
The new main event at UFC 249 will be an interim title fight between Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje. The winner will then move on to unify the belt with undisputed champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, who was originally scheduled to compete at the April 18 version of UFC 249 until travel restrictions prevented him from returning to the United States from Dagestan.
Rather than waiting until September when Nurmagomedov can fight again, the UFC opted to book Ferguson against Gaethje in the meantime. So why did White make that move?
“Listen f*ckface, Tony’s ready to fight. Gaethje is one of the best in the world,” White said. “This fight needs to happen. Last thing anyone needs to do is keep waiting for Tony vs Khabib. Now mind your f*ckin’ business.”
Who are the best fighters to never hold UFC gold?
There have been a lot of memorable champions in the UFC but there are plenty of fighters who reached great heights in the promotion but never actually captured a title.
That’s why somebody wanted to know White’s opinion on the best fighters to compete in the UFC who never actually won a championship belt.
“[Donald] “Cowboy” [Cerrone], [Urijah] Faber, Wanderlei Silva, [Joseph] Benavidez, [Carlos] Condit. Long list.”
One interesting note — Condit actually did hold a UFC interim title at welterweight following a win over Nick Diaz. He came up short in his bid to become undisputed champion when he fell to Georges St-Pierre one fight later.
What rematch would he like to see?
The UFC has never been opposed to booking rematches, especially when the circumstances drive that decision but there are some great fights that have never been revisited.
So what is the rematch that White would like to see above all others? His answer wasn’t all that shocking.
“I know everybody is gonna go ‘isn’t he awesome’ but it’s true. I would have to say Conor [McGregor]-Khabib. Conor wants that rematch so bad and I would love to see it.”
White has been pounding a drum for some time now in hopes of booking a second fight between Nurmagomedov and McGregor. Considering the first fight ended up as the biggest pay-per-view in UFC history, it’s no wonder that matchup would be high up the priority list.
There have been some famously volatile negotiations between the UFC and fighters in the past. In fact, some contract talks turned so nasty that former owner Lorenzo Fertitta would step in to deal with the situation when White couldn’t come to terms with somebody.
While there’s certainly a long list of tough negotiations over the years, White was specifically asked about the athlete who has been the hardest to deal with as well as the one who made his life the easiest.
“Mark Hunt and Forrest Griffin. You can guess which is which.”
Griffin is still employed with the UFC where he works at the main offices in Las Vegas. Meanwhile, Hunt has filed a class-action lawsuit against White and the UFC in an ongoing battle that’s still playing out in court.
So yeah, White’s got a point when it comes to figuring out who he deems the hardest and easiest to deal with in contract negotiations.
Not every fight can end up as a memorable performance but there are some matchups that fail to live up to the hype that are far more disappointing.
So what fights had the highest expectations yet ended up being the biggest let down?
“Yoel [Romero] vs. Israel [Adesanya], [Derrick Lewis] vs. Francis [Ngannou] and [Tyron] Woodley vs. “Wonderboy” [Stephen Thompson].
A legitimate question
When White was first asked about the looming threat of the coronavirus, he downplayed the possibility that the UFC would be affected. Two months later, the UFC has been forced to cancel or postpone several shows while once more losing out on a marquee matchup between Nurmagomedov and Ferguson.
Despite the losses suffered, White says he still could have promoted shows during a global pandemic but UFC 249 on April 18 was ultimately postponed out of respect to his television partners at ESPN rather than anything to do with the COVID-19 outbreak.
“Not at all, “ White responded when asked if he overlooked the threat of the coronavirus. “I could have done that fight. I didn’t out of respect to ESPN.”
White also addressed the UFC’s long-running reality series The Ultimate Fighter, which hasn’t aired since 2018.
First off, White answered which of the seasons is his all time favorite and that ended with an easy answer.
“TUF 1 no brainer. It started everything.”
It turns out White’s most embarrassing moment in the UFC also stemmed from an appearance he made on the reality show. Back in Season 8, White was dealing with a raucous house filled with athletes that included perennial troublemaker Junie Browning.
Rather than kicking anybody off the show, White told the fighters that they weren’t competing on Survivor where a person is voted off the island. What followed was a moment that has continued to haunt White for years to come.
“This ain’t f*cking Survivor and sh*t. ‘Let’s vote em off.’ You f*cking beat em off. That didn’t sound good, did it?”
According to White, that moment lives in infamy as the time he turned the brightest shade of red in his entire tenure with the promotion.
I’ve been putting up other people’s mistakes all week, now it’s my turn. #BeatEmOff @UFC #lol #flashbackfriday
For all the intense rivalries between coaches on the show, White said that nothing failed to make it to television so what we see is what we get when it comes to those battles.
“The cameras don’t stop rolling on TUF. Everything good that happens, you guys get.”
And finally, White confirmed that The Ultimate Fighter isn’t dead and there are plans in motion to bring the series back.
“TUF is coming back SOON.”
What’s next and who’s coming back
White also addressed several fighters on the UFC roster, who are either expected to return this year or come out of retirement.
First up was Jon Jones, who defended his light heavyweight title earlier this year but also faced scrutiny after he was arrested on DWI charges back in March.
“Yes, Jon Jones will fight this year.”
Former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez might be back on the market after he was reportedly released from his contract with World Wrestling Entertainment but White apparently doesn’t see him coming back.
“I love Cain. He retired from UFC.”
Anthony “Rumble” Johnson is also preparing to make his return to action after coming out of retirement but there’s still no word on when he’ll book his next fight.
“I’ll give him somebody in the top-10,” White said. “Let’s see what the landscape looks like when he comes back.”
There are a long list of highlight-reel knockouts throughout UFC history but when asked about his favorite, White had to point to a recent finish that resulted in the fastest KO ever recorded inside the octagon.
“When I give you this answer everyone is going to think it’s because I don’t like Ben Askren,” White said. “And it’s just not true at all. I do like Ben. But it’s hard not to pick Masvidal vs Askren.”
Masvidal’s flying knee was almost universally ranked as the best KO of 2019 and it might just go down as one of the greatest finishes in the history of the sport. Sorry, Ben.
In the past, White documented some serious health issues he dealt with due to an inner ear condition called Meniere’s disease, which can cause vertigo and hearing loss. White eventually got that under control thanks to a stem cell procedure he had done in Germany.
More recently, White faced another severe issue, which he revealed after a fan talked to him about suffering through an accident where they became a paraplegic.
“I said on the thread earlier, I have had some health problems,” White said. “I was actually paralyzed for three days not too long ago and it was f*ckin’ horrible. I would like to think I could deal with it, but I don’t know. Sorry to hear this happened to you.”
The exchange speaks for itself but we really don’t want to see proof when it’s all said and done.