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MMABay?s Sunday supplement: A little ?White? lie: Defending Dana


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this is a interesting article i found on mmabay definitely worth a read :


UFC president Dana White once again found himself in the position of resident punch-bag for the MMA media this week, in the aftermath of the ?Franklin-Ortiz-Liddell-gate? scandal. It?s certainly become fashionable to jump on every faux-pas Dana makes; but is anyone really considering the other side of the story?


I?ll be the first to admit, when it comes down to the business of promoting the UFC, Dana White is as ruthless as they come. Many point to the UFC?s highly restrictive promotional and fight contracts as Exhibit A. MMA legend Ken Shamrock recently found out to the tune of $150,000 that any fighter wanting to challenge White and company in court is more than likely going to wind up unsatisfied and considerably poorer. Randy Couture had similar results when he tried to test the UFC?s mettle back in 2007/8.


Exhibit B would be White?s tyrant-like need to be the only Sheriff in town when it comes to MMA promoters. Affliction, Elite XC and most recently Strikeforce have all felt the wrath of Dana?s counter-programming and talent-scaring antics. He?s threatened to blacklist anyone who appears in rival promotion?s video games, performed public hatchet jobs on promoters and fighters outside the UFC umbrella and thrown together last minute shows to oppose crucial live events, stealing viewers and the futures of more than one competitor.


But guess what? That?s his job. He isn?t in this business to make friends or play nice. He?s here to drive the UFC to the top and make sure it stays there; at the last count, he?s doing pretty well. It?s a deep seated part of the human condition: when someone makes it to the top it becomes almost an instinct to knock them down. The brash, bullish attitude that allowed him to make such an impact in the arena of public awareness is now derided by fans and journalists alike as ?unprofessional? and detrimental to the UFC?s continued success. White is demonised in the online community for everything from fighter pay to the quality of cards, Fedor not being in the UFC and the cancellation of M*A*S*H*. Ok, I might have made one of those up, but the point still stands.


This time though, White?s vilification seems to have gone a step further. In a movement started by numerous well respected online MMA sites and blogs, Dana was accused for the first time ever of outright lying to the fans that have fuelled his meteoric rise to fame. The offending remarks were captured on video for Sportsnet?s MMA Connected. When asked whether Tito Ortiz and Chuck Liddell, coaches on season 11 of The Ultimate Fighter would headline the card, White starred strait into the camera and sealed his fate?


?Absolutely. The definite main event is Tito vs Chuck Liddell. That?s definitely the main event.?


The interview took place in early April, after the TUF season had wrapped. Also around that time, a leaked picture (taken by a member of the crew hired to pull apart the TUF gym post-show) revealed Rich Franklin?s picture hanging in place of Ortiz? on the TUF set. Speculation ran riot; Did Franklin step in solely for the filming of the show, or would he replace Tito in the coaches fight as well? Had Tito been forced to stop filming due illness, only to return for the fight? Would Couture face Liddell for a record 4th time?


All our questions were answered on the 13th of April when tickets officially went on sale for UFC 115. The worst kept secret in MMA was confirmed; Franklin would indeed take the place of ?The Huntington Beach Bad Boy?. The online community was in uproar. Many sites reposted the video of Dana?s above claim to fuel the fire. It seemed that White had genuinely been caught red handed?


There is much criticism directed towards the MMA media. A lot of it is fair. The sport is still in its infancy compared to boxing or football, and so is the media that covers it. Sensationalism is rife, even amongst some of the supposedly respectable MMA journalists. White found himself jumped on by a proverbial pack of jackals. People were so hell-bent on taking chunks out of Dana that objectivity went completely out of the window.


There are two very important things to remember when it comes to UFC fights. 1) Nothing is official until it is announced on UFC.com and 2) There is a very important line of text added to the bottom of every UFC press-release when fights are announced that reads ?Card subject to change?. Ortiz-Liddell was never official confirmed by a UFC press release. Even if it had, the ?subject to change? caveat is there for a reason; injuries and withdrawals are commonplace in MMA.


One thing almost every site that jumped on the ?Dana lied to us? bandwagon failed to mention is that The Ultimate Fighter? is paid for by SPIKE TV. It?s their show and it costs them millions of dollars to stage, film, produce, advertise and broadcast. Cast members sign contracts with SPIKE, not just the UFC. Part of those contracts are confidentiality agreements with the TV network; agreements that have costly repercussions. Ortiz himself recent revealed that by breaching the agreement without SPIKE?s consent, individuals would be liable for a $5million dollar lawsuit.


The fact is, the terms of the confidentiality agreement apply to Dana as much as they apply to anyone else. White could not have revealed Ortiz?s departure without breaching his contract with SPIKE! TV. That?s pretty black and white as far as I?m concerned. The trouble is, there is so much freedom of information online at present that fans almost feel entitled to know everything ahead of time. The truth is that they don?t; just as networks do with any other TV show, SPIKE has the right to protect their investment.


To the UFC?s credit, as soon as tickets were put on sale, Franklin was officially confirmed as Liddell?s opponent. Had they sold a single ticket with Ortiz on the bill, then they would have been guilty of wrongdoing. Whether the revelation will cause TUF?s ratings to dwindle now that there will be no Liddell-Ortiz payoff, or increase in anticipation of the circumstances that see Tito leave, remains to be seen. Could White have handled the situation better? Absolutely. Should he lose credibility for trying to protect the integrity of his reality show? Absolutely not. Dana was just doing what he always does; what?s best for TUF and what?s best for the UFC.


To all those eager to make White the scapegoat for an unfortunate situation; before you scribe your holier-than-thou diatribes against Dana, take a moment to reflect on the fact that without him, you?d likely be whiling away your days in a very different line of work. I realise that this article will inspire numerous comments regarding the proximity of Dana?s nuts to my mouth, but I could care less. In the years since Zuffa took over the operations of the Ultimate Fighting Championship and saved it from dwindling into nothing, he?s provided me with some of the best MMA in my 14 years of following the sport.


So you know what? I?m not going to get my panties in a twist over a comment made in a video on an obscure Canadian TV network. I?m going to give Dana White the benefit of the doubt. Why? Because he?s earned it.

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Great read, and i agree 100%, nothing should be held against Dana for keeping to his contract, he is an honest man, and it would have been dishonest for him to break his confidentiality agreement with spike.


Dana is a good guy, but you have to have your game face on when your running a business like the UFC, he comes across as a ****, but thats because he has to be. Look how far he has brought the sport (Not just the UFC, but MMA as a sport!)

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