UFC 73 Conference Call Transcript

Here is the transcript of the conference call Dana White did with reporters for UFC 73. Thanks OCregister

UFC PRESIDENT DANA WHITE

On “UFC 73: Stacked”:

“This next card ‘UFC 73: Stacked’ … we’re excited about it. It’s called ‘Stacked’ because it’s one of the most stacked cards we’ve ever had. We have Heath Herring vs. (Antonio Rodrigo) ‘Minotauro’ Nogueira. Nogueira is one of the best heavyweights in the world and has been for a long time. (He is) a former PRIDE champion and this will be his first fight in the UFC. Two title (fights) that night. Hermes Franca will be taking on (UFC) lightweight champion Sean Sherk and Nate ‘The Great’ Marquardt will be trying to take the (UFC) middleweight title from Anderson Silva. We also have Season 2 winner Rashad Evans of ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ taking on Tito Ortiz. Kenny Florian is in there on a swing bout and also on that card is the return of Stephan Bonnar.”

On the war of words between Tito Ortiz and Rashad Evans:

“I mean, it’s typical Tito stuff. Tito always starts a fight before the fight. It started at … I don’t even remember what UFC it was, but he came over and got in Rashad’s face and I’m sure it’s escalated from there.”

On the situation with the fighters under contract with PRIDE, were some of them complete free agents or were their contracts transferable to the new ownership:

“Their contracts were transferable. They were under contract with PRIDE Worldwide, the company we own. These guys were never contracted to fight in the UFC. They didn’t have UFC contracts, so what happened is while we’re figuring this mess out, these guys need fights. These guys need to fight, so we’re bringing them over and getting them over here. But as far as legally getting it done right, they were under contract with PRIDE Worldwide, which is the company we own, and some of the guys we’re bringing in to sign UFC contracts.”

On Tito Ortiz’s image and whether he is misunderstood sometimes:

“(Laughs) No. Tito is not misunderstood. I’ve had my dealings with Tito over the last six years. Tito is who he is. You know the history with me and Tito. He doesn’t call himself the ‘Huntington Beach Bad Boy’ for no reason.”

On whether Tito’s image is good for the UFC or not:

“I don’t ask anybody to not be who they are. You know, this isn’t the WWE. Different guys have different personalities. Tito is who he is. Tito comes in and Tito always gets in great shape. He comes in and fights. Do I like all of things he says and all of the things he does? No. I’m not crazy about it most of the time. But Tito is who he is. I’m not going to go ask Tito to not be Tito Ortiz.”

On whether Tito has changed over the years:

“He’s always been like that, but I think he’s matured a lot. I think Tito has matured as a person and as a fighter, definitely. I don’t always see eye-to-eye with him, but, yeah, I think he has.”

On Tito’s personality:

“How would I describe Tito’s personality? You are asking a guy that doesn’t get along with him 90 percent of the time. I don’t know. Tito is who Tito is, you know. I’m sure he feels the same way about me.”

On many of the advertisements for UFC 73 and how Tito and Rashad are getting a lot of the attention even though there are two title fights:

“That’s not necessarily true. On the commercials, we have everybody on there. We have Nate (Marquardt) and Anderson (Silva). We have Sean (Sherk) and Hermes (Franca) and Tito and Rashad. In some of the markets, it depends on the market, We did billboards with Tito and Rashad and in other markets we did them with Sean and Hermes and others with Anderson and Nate. There are different reasons for doing them in the different markets. But, obviously, Tito Ortiz is a very popular fighter. In some of the markets where a lot of people know Tito, him and Rashad would have been on the billboards as opposed to one of the title fights. We’re very tricky guys. We know how to market this (stuff).”

On the UFC doing its own drug testing for UFC 72 in Belfast and whether any fighters tested for banned substances:

“As far as I know everybody did (come up clean). Nobody has come up to me and said anybody tested positive.”

On all the fighters that failed post-fight drug test’s for FEG’s “Dynamite!!USA” card at the Coliseum earlier this month and whether he will re-enforce to his fighters about the drug policy:

“Whether it happened in that show or not, all of the fighters in the UFC know what our position is on steroids and what the athletic commission’s position is on steroids. You know, it’s not that everybody tested positive in that show. These guys know they can’t use them, they are not supposed to use them. I think if you look at how many fights we put on a year, and the percentage of guys that test positive for anything in the UFC, it’s a lot lower than these other shows out there. They beat us in one show with what we will probably have in one year. That’s always an issue for us.”

On whether he will re-enforce that point with UFC fighters since California tests every single fighter:

“No. I certainly hope that none of my guys are using any performance-enhancing drugs. Everybody in the UFC knows the policy. Listen, everybody in the country knows the policy. Steroids is the hottest topic out there, right now, especially now with this thing that just happened a couple of days ago. I mean, believe me, man, everybody knows that you shouldn’t be taking steroids. It’s like me having to tell all of my fighters, ‘Hey guys, listen, don’t snort any cocaine before this next event because we’re going to California.’ You can’t use cocaine. You can’t use steroids. You can’t use anything. I mean, everybody knows this.”

On UFC 76 on Sept. 22 at Honda Center in Anaheim and whether Mauricio “Shogun” Rua will make his UFC debut on that card:

“Yeah, that’s going to be at Honda Center. I can’t confirm it (Rua), yet.”

On what kind of measures the UFC takes aside from the commission when a fighter tests positive for a banned substance:

“We’re not happy about. We invest money in these guys and build them up and they test positive for steroids. It hurts everybody. It hurts the sport. It hurts the UFC. It hurts the fighter. I mean you don’t have to be a (expletive) rocket scientist to figure out what’s going to happen to you if you take steroids and you get caught using them, or cocaine or marijuana or any other illegal drug.

“What we’re working on, right now, not even that our guys need it. You have guys here and there that pop up and test positive. If you look at our history over the last six years, it hasn’t been that bad. But what we want to do now, Lorenzo (Fertitta) and I were talking about this a couple of weeks ago, is put together these seminars for these guys about steroid use.”

On Sean Sherk’s style of fighting:

“He’s been standing up a lot more. His standup has improved incredibly. Sean Sherk is a very well-rounded fighter.”

On whether Mirko “Cro Cop” Filpovic’s next opponent will be Cheick Kongo at UFC 75 in London or not:

“Yes. He’ll be fighting Cheick Kongo.”

On what he attributes the explosion of MMA to:

“We’ve been busting our (butts) for six years and getting out there and making it available to the masses here in this country. From the minute I got involved in this sport I thought it was amazing. I thought the athletes were incredible. Not only as athletes, but as human beings. I knew if we got this thing on television people would feel the same way. We’ve done a lot of hard work and spent a lot of money and we got there.

On whether MMA is growing fast or faster than he expected:

“We’re not mainstream, yet. We haven’t even scratched the surface of how big this thing can be and how big it’s gonna be.”

On his thoughts about Royce Gracie testing positive for steroids:

“I was shocked. Royce didn’t look like he was on steroids to me, but apparently there are a lot of steroids out there that don’t make you look like you are on steroids.”

On the rumor about Ken Shamrock fighting in the UFC again:

“I don’t know where that rumor came from. There are a lot of rumors and internet (stuff) in this business. Some knucklehead ran out and started talking about it, but it was never true.”

On MMA not quite being mainstream, yet:

“Mainstream to me is if I walk down on the strip and started asking everybody on the strip, ‘Who is Shaquille O’Neal?’ and everybody answers the question. That’s mainstream to me. I don’t feel the UFC is there yet. I think it’s gonna be. We’re already the biggest combat sport in the world. We’re bigger than WWE. We’re bigger than HBO boxing. My point is I don’t think we’ve even scratched the surface of how big this sport is going to be.”

On the future of PRIDE and if it will be back:

“There are always rumors out there. I always say exactly what’s going on about this company and what we’re doing. If I don’t say it, it’s probably not happening. As far as PRIDE, we need to get these guys some fights, right now, so we can figure this thing out. They went out of business for a reason because that company is a mess. We’re trying to figure it out and fix it. We’ve got a lot going on, right now, with the UFC and opening our offices over in the U.K., getting over into Europe next year. So it’s going to take us some time to figure this thing out. It’s a lot more complicated and a lot more messed up than we thought it was. PRIDE is a very powerful brand and I loved the Super Bowl thing, so I don’t know. I honestly couldn’t answer that question, right now. We bought it with the intention of running it, but it is a seriously messed up company. So we’re trying to figure it out.”

On the rumor that the HBO deal is dead and whether there are any new talks with Spike TV or ESPN:

“You guys have some (bad) sources. The HBO deal is far from dead. No, we never said we were doing a PRIDE event in California in June. Yeah, we have a lot of television. Every year, I pride myself on … every year we’ve taken this thing to another level. This year is no different. Wait until you see what we’re working on, right now. We keep breaking records and we keep blowing people’s minds and we’re going to continue to. The things we’re working on, right now, are going to rock the entire industry again.”

On the possibility of the Quinton Jackson-Dan Henderson fight being a unification fight:

“No. What we’re doing with that thing is we’re respecting both (the UFC and PRIDE) titles. The UFC title is the UFC champion and we’re respecting Dan as the PRIDE champion. Quinton will walk out with his belt if Dan wins and vice versa.”

On the possibility of matching UFC fighters against the WEC:

“Here’s the thing that’s happening with the WEC, the WEC what makes that different from the UFC is they focus on the lighter weights. They have a lot of lighter weight fighters in the WEC. That’s our goal with that company.”

On being at total odds against Tito Ortiz, who happens to be one of the biggest stars in the UFC:

“It’s one of those things where Tito and I don’t ever see eye to eye. You know, we’ve been fighting for a long time with each other. But at the end of the day it’s business. It’s great for me having Tito around and it’s great for Tito being around. We deal with it.”

On putting Tito out in front on promotions even though they have a personal conflict:

“It’s business at the end of the day. Tito is a good fighter. He comes in to fight. He does his promotions. He does what he is supposed to do. Tito does his job and I do mine and it works out for everybody. I just had Neil tell me why do I put Tito in so much of the promotion? Tito is a star in the UFC. At the end of the day it’s business. Tito and I, when we are around each other, we have our moments. We tolerate each other.”

On the possibility of resigning Tito when his contract with the UFC expires:

“When Tito came back into the UFC, Tito and I hated each other. I mean, it made me sick to my stomach when he would show up at shows and I would have to look at him and Tito and I got a deal done then. Tito and I aren’t on those types of terms anymore and I’m sure we’ll get a deal done again.”

On the rumors that production and announce team being the problems with the HBO deal:

“To be honest with you, I’m not fighting with them about any of that stuff. I think the deal is coming along. I think we are right about there.”

On the reports that HBO executive Chris Albrecht’s resignation has affected the HBO deal:

“No, that’s not true. Chris Albrecht got involved later on in the deal. Chris was a guy that I liked and I trusted. But no, that’s not true.”

On the possibility of Chuck Liddell fighting Wanderlei Silva on Sept. 22 at Honda Center:

“No. That’s out of the question. There are all these rumors about Chuck and Wanderlei fighting in Anaheim in September and all this crazy (stuff). I said at the press conference after the (Liddell-Jackson) fight, ‘Well, now Chuck and Wanderlei would make more sense.’ And off of that there are all these rumors about Chuck fighting Wanderlei. I’d love to see Chuck fight Wanderlei, but I’ve been saying that for five years.”

On when Chuck Liddell might be ready to get back in the Octagon:

“I don’t have an opponent for Chuck, yet, but we’re talking about November.”

On the next places in the U.S. that will feature UFC events:

“The next place we’re going to go, they just got passed, is Michigan and Chicago. Those are the two places we’re going to go next as far as new cities go.”

On Paulo Fihlo going to the WEC and whether he was considered for the UFC:

“Yeah. He’s a great fighter. We’d like to have him in the UFC, but the WEC is going to get a lot of great fighters too. Wait until you hear about some of the fighters heading over to the WEC.”

On the UFC terminating the final fight on Ken Shamrock’s contract:

“Yeah, and I know Ken Shamrock is flipping out saying, ‘Dana thinks he’s this,’ and, ‘Dana thinks he’s that.’ Listen, Ken Shamrock has lost every fight but one that he’s had in the UFC, OK. This has nothing to do with him personally. I like Ken Shamrock. If I saw Ken Shamrock tomorrow, I’d say hello to him and see how his family is doing. You know, Ken Shamrock needs to think about retiring. It’s one of those things where I don’t even know, actually, it would be stupid of me to say that. I was thinking about saying it would probably be hard for a commission to sanction him for a fight, but Kimbo Slice and what’s his name … Ray Mercer just fought, so I guess that’s probably not true. Ken has lost every fight he’s had in the UFC but one since he’s come back with us. He’s just not at that level anymore. He’s not at the level of a UFC fighter.”

On Franck Shamrock’s performance against Phil Baroni:

“He won the fight. I think Frank Shamrock is going to fight a lot of guys that aren’t top contenders. That’s what you are going to see with Frank Shamrock. But, again, you are asking somebody that is very biased. I can’t stand that guy. He is an idiot.”

Comments

  1. Realwun says:

    Two things I got from this. First, Dana is probably half and half on weather or not to just do away with Pride, or get it going again. He also mentioned that if it gets going again a Super Bowl type event would probably be in the works among the two organizations.

    Two, the Rampage vs. Henderson match is just an exhibition, three rounds, and both fighters will walk away from the match with their titles. Kinda sucks to me.

  2. yeah the jackson vs henderson fight is huge but not as huge as a unification fight I think they should get rid of Pride all together because it is so confusing right now and it will be a very long time if ever till they fix it and get it running and that doesnt garuantee success anyways so to me UFC is the place to fight and Pride is history I just wish UFC would put great cards like stacked all the time. They have the talent and the fighters to do it why they dont kills me.

    Tito and Dana will always fight and hate eachother but the both sort of repsect eachother deep down. and UFC 75 and 76 will probally be very explosive considering Shogun will probally fight and that wont even be the main event and 75 with Cro Cop vs Kongo that should be fight of the night because someone is getting knocked out out both of them want nothing to do with the ground unless its their opponent hitting it and Ofcourse the fight with Henderson and Rampage if true that its not a Title fight will be very disappointing in a sense but still will be the best 2 fighters in a cage since fedor vs nogeuria. Look for Nogeuria to make a huge impact in the UFC becuse he is the opposite of cro cop but then again he isnt because he has a good stand up but his ground game is world class and the best a heavy weight has ever been on the ground so theats what im saying about this Until next time.

  3. Damn dave u about discussed everything and i agree with both of u guys but u guys didnt talk about Frank Shamrock who is a very good and cocky fighter who could be good for the UFC but dana doesnt like him I doubt u will see him in the UFC and alot of New fans we never even know who he is and also Paulo Filho going to WEC that sucks. He would easily be in the top 3 Middleweight fighters as far as talent if not #1 Idont think Anderson Silva is that good. I think he will lose at UFC 73 by Unanimous dec./or by tapout Luteer had anderson mounted and he sucks. And Rich is an overrated fighter as well most Middleweights are there because they r not good enough to beat LHW's. E#veryone knows 205lb class is the best by far then Welterweight and then Heavyweight but Fedor hasent fought for a while and it will be along time before we even see him with a contract with everyone wanting him and stuff i still thin he will sign with UFC but it will be a while and a log time before we see him fight in the UFC. I am curious to see how Gonzaga handles Couture because he looked very good against Crocop but I think Cro Cop took him lightly so That is one thing I am concerned with and also with Fedor not fighting in the UFC the heavyweight division will remain weak.

  4. Realwun says:

    We will never ever see Frank Shamrock in the UFC octagon again. He doesn't even like it there, EliteXC gives him too much freedom on his fights and promotions, he gets a lot of money from them too.

    Gonzaga is a super talent but I know that Couture will find a way to avoid his initial rushes and take the fight through the distance. That is his best chance he has at finishing off Gonzaga or getting the decision. I'm going for Couture because of his experience and knowledge of the sport.

    The fighter I don't know to much about is Marquardt and I'm anxious to see how he does against Silvia. Everyone is saying that he will get rolled, but I'm hoping its at least a good fight.

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