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Gary Shaw rips into Dana White

As most of you know by now, I’m a huge fan of “Mr. Sunshine” Steve Cofield’s work on Fox Sports Radio out of Las Vegas. Steve is a general sports talk show host by trade, but shows mad love to boxing and MMA on his program.

Steve’s interviews with MMA figures are always top notch and I’m not sure why a TV outlet or fight promotion hasn’t hired this guy to do their post-fight interview. It’s not like he needs another job though, because he already hosts like 50 radio shows.

In addition to his radio work, Steve has also been submitting MMA columns to His latest submission is an article discussing the current growth pattern of the UFC and MMA. In it, he has quotes from UFC president Dana White, EliteXC live events president Gary Shaw, and fighter/commentator Frank Trigg.

The Shaw quotes are especially noteworthy, as he shows no mercy in going after White, challenging the UFC president in a number of areas, such as:

“It was easy for UFC before there was competition. There was no other choice in the past. Once you have choices, there’s a problem,” said Shaw. “You can’t stuff a pay-per view down the throat of the fan every month if there are other choices out there. I don’t know what their real pay-per-view numbers are, but I guarantee you they’re not doing the 700,000-800,000 pay-per-view numbers now. And you don’t hear them bragging about it.”

Shaw also believes that EliteXC is promoting its fighters in a different fashion than the UFC:

“Their philosophy is different than ours. No one is bigger than the fighter in Elite XC. In UFC, no fighter is bigger than Dana and the company. My thought is the athlete is the single most important component of our company. We’re more interested in making great, fan-friendly fights than who we’re going to pick to be our next champion.”

Is it possible UFC could be headed for the same fate as Vince McMahon’s World Wrestling Entertainment? WWE saw record profits in the late ’90s, only to plateau and fall back over the last seven years.

“It’s just like the McMahons. No wrestler was allowed to be bigger than Vince,” said Shaw. “UFC’s model is flawed. They keep recycling stars. If you ask people about UFC fighters, they will give the same four names. For as long as they’ve been around, they really haven’t developed many big names.”


  • Mike Wolfe says:

    Isn’t this coming from a guy whose organization is featuring a fight between Tank Abbott and Kimbo Slice as the main event? This guy is talking out his ass.

  • FIghtFanTN says:

    I don;t know Gary Shaw, but I think he is a bit deluded. Who is he trying to kid, if the UFC had it so easy, why did basically go bankrupt before it was bought by the current owners. They had no competion then, by this guys POV.

    I appreciate him sticking with his philosphy, but he will never be a force in the business if he continues thinking that way. If his customer the “fan” isn’t his “most important component” in his company, then he will end up with a bunch of overpaid athletes no one wants to watch.

    Competition is great, but don’t whine when you aren’t the biggest dog in the yard.

  • Kelvin says:

    Actually, I couldn’t disagree more with Shaw…while Dana DOES love the spotlight…and the fighter’s ARE the most important thing….it would be stupid of a company to not promote the brand(UFC) somewhat because every ‘star’ does not have the same drawing power…but if you think about it…there’s alot of fighter’s in the UFC more popular than Dana

    In terms of developing new talent…well since Zuffa has created TUF…they’ve developed stars which are legitimate fighters..

    Forrest Griffin, Diego Sanchez, Josh Koscheck, Matt Serra is more popular now than ever…lol. All of these guys have headlined or co headlined PPV events and UFN’s.

    I just think Shaw is a hater.

  • Evan says:

    A way to get his name and EliteXC’s name out there.

  • Rashad #1 says:

    #3 I agree wholeheartedly

  • Evan says:

    “It was easy for UFC before there was competition. There was no other choice in the past. Once you have choices, there’s a problem,”

    Is he trying to say here that EliteXC is more competition than PRIDE was?

  • Tyson says:

    I disagree as well. He is trying to gain publicity and is ripping another company to draw attention to his own. The UFC has big names, because many of the UFC fighters have been so dominant i.e. hughes,liddell,franklin, couture.. New fighters for the future is what the UFC goals are. If he cant see that, then he is misinformed.

  • Davey D says:

    Has Shaw seen himself on TV? The whole bit with him and his cronnies throwing hats on people and that jazz is re-dic to me.

    Watch Kimbo’s fight again. Afterwards, you’ll see him talking to Bas. Gary “No Neck” comes by to make his rounds and Bas does this funny as hell look at him and gets the hell out of the way. Hilarious stuff right there.

    There is no compare this or that, between Showtime and the UFC, it’s not even close. It’s isn’t even on a Big Brother/Little Brother level yet.

    Gray Shaw needs to worry about his own chit. I would bet that if his “stars” flet the need to move on elsewhere because of competition or what have you, wherever that may be, they would.

    With all that said, I’ll still watch their shows because I have Showtime and enjoy watching MMA. If Tank beats Kimbo, I don’t think he will BUT it wouldn’t do Mr. Shaw any good.

  • Sam Caplan says:

    Yeah, the hat stuff has to stop. Also, while I agree that the fighters should be bigger than the promoter, Shaw hurts his argument by insisting on following the boxing tradition of entering the cage/ring after the main event. If a promoter wants to congratulate a fighter, they have plenty of access to him after the fight. They don’t have to do it on camera. I’ve been critical of Shaw doing this for awhile now. Promoters only belong in the cage after a fight if a new champion has been crowned.

  • Kelvin says:


  • Mike Rome says:

    Honestly, his whole argument is fairly ridiculous. BUyrate news for UFC was very solid all year. Ironically, the only drop in numbers was a result of the absence of big Tito Ortiz fights, who is one of the guys who is a one-man draw thanks to the UFC.

    It’s also not like Gary Shaw released the buyrate information for Shamrock/Baroni.

  • paddiosf says:

    Shaw is dreaming, EliteXc is so far off the radar from competing with the UFC ….

  • bubbafat says:

    I have to point out to Fight Fan that prior to Zuffa purchasing the UFC, th Fertitta’s held alot of influence within the NSAC. It was also a different political environment in regards to MMA with John McCain referring to it as human cockfighting. I’m just throwin’ it out there, but, hypothetically, there may have been some conflict of interest as far as a certain commission’s pressure on a certain MMA promotion to put them into the gutter. So, whilst said MMA promotion is about to file bankruptcy new owners come in and bail them out. I’d also like to point out that, contrary to popular belief, Zuffa was not responsible for the implementation of the unified rules, but the previous owners were. I haven’t named any names because this is all in my imagination and I wouldn’t want it to be interpreted as slander.

  • Mike Wolfe says:


    Interesting theory, but I don’t know how accurate. In the recent CNBC show about MMA and UFC, the previous owner basically said that he was burned out, happy to sell the UFC, and had no regrets. The moderator asked about regrets more than once, which would’ve given him the chance to complain if he felt he’d been strong-armed. Also, White said that he spent $30 million of the Fertittas’ money on the UFC before it started to turn around. Based on the info in the CNBC piece, there’s no way the prior owner could have or would have spent that kind of money.

  • flassasin24 says:

    “If you ask people about UFC fighters, they will give the same four names. For as long as they’ve been around, they really haven’t developed many big names.”

    Any “fan” who can only name four UFC fighters, that same man has most likely never heard of EliteXC, let alone name a SINGLE fighter.

  • dsid says:

    lol, sounds like Shaw’s a little jealous of White. And as for the rest of it, he’s talking out of his ass…

    With TuF and with what the UFC has done for guys like Liddell, Ortiz, Couture and on and on, the UFC has made these guys into absolutely huge stars. In fact, while he’s saying you can name the same 4 guys, you can probably name 40 ufc fighters before you can name 5 EliteXC fighters.

    I’m all for competition and I hope some other good shows continue to emerge, but Shaw seems to speak with hope and envy and try to paint it as fact.

  • TomK says:

    “Recycling stars”? Does he not know who works for? I can’t think of more than 3 star fighters that EliteXC has established other than Kimbo (who really established himself long before EliteXC got him), Jake Shields, and KJ Noons. Other than that, any other talent EliteXC has is “recycled” from Pride and the UFC. Nick Diaz is great and all (even though he has a subpar record during his UFC stint) but he’s basically a UFC reject — and he’s one of Elite XC’s biggest stars. Until they come remotely close to being a legitimate rival to the UFC, Shaw should quiet down a little. He’s acting like Dana White without being able to back it up, and it’s really turning me off from his product.

  • bubbafat says:

    A couple million bucks for a recognizable trademark and turn key operation.
    For A: an established recognizable trademark B: they anticipated that with an influx of approximately 30 to 40 million, the sport would take off.
    My point was that the previously held position of the new buyers in any athletic commission that was putting pressure on the sport, combined with some sort of long term agenda could be viewed as a conflict of interest.
    I’m aware that the previous owners were burnt out, but that could have been caused by the upstream battle they were fighting, with said commission.

  • Gabber says:

    Yeah man, first off I would have to agree with Sam. Seeing the EliteXC brass in the ring after the fight pisses me off every time. And I would also have to go along with the talking out his ass sentiment.

    UFC has made stars that aren’t jokes…Joe is about to fight BJ Penn FFS. What about spoting and marketing the talent of GSP? They also hooked their horse to the MFS cart a long time ago, now Sylvia is going for the belt again. Not to mention Forrest dominating Shogun..a PRIDE wrecking ball. Jardine smoked Liddell, one of the “four fighters” you can name. 😛

    This dude makes me ill, too bad he’s hired some decent talent.

    Nice to see you avoiding the hometown favoratism Sam.

  • lawdogk says:

    Gary Shaw is a retard. Put on a suit you fat piece of shit. What about WEC there are some names there that were unknowns until Zuffa grabbed that company. IMO WEC is better than EliteXC. Yeah they got Diaz, Lawler and Ninja good stars but they are just waiting for there turn to be in the UFC. Only reason we know of them is from UFC/Pride.

  • jaydog says:

    If there’s a single undeniable fact in that story (or at least Shaw’s quotes) it’s, “You can’t stuff a pay-per view down the throat of the fan every month if there are other choices out there.” I don’t know what the PPV numbers are. Personally, I hope they increase for the UFC as MMA gains exposure and new fans. However, speaking for myself, I don’t think I’m nearly as compelled to see every UFC event now that there are so many other opportunities to see relatively high level competition on a regular basis. And, let’s face it, the UFC has disappointed with some of it’s cards of late (as they decide to raise the rates!). IMHO, the UFC is soaking it’s fans and pushing fans to other promotions (and illegal viewing websites). Nonetheless, I love a good MMA ppv party.

  • Shawn says:

    Gary Shaw is an idiot.

    When I first heard him talking about making more weight classes so that fighters weren’t “hurting themselves” by cutting weight and this and that, I knew he was a moron. The simple fact of that is a guy is going to cut as much as he can to be bigger on fight night. Making more weight classes available will not deter this in any way. Some guys won’t as much and stay closer to their real weight and others will cut even more. It’s a stupid idea from a stupid mouth.

    Now he comes out talking about how the UFC hasn’t built stars. That is entirely nonsensical and simply not based in reality. Couture, Liddell, Ortiz, Hughes, Franklin, GSP, Griffin, Serra, Rampage, etc. etc. etc. The UFC blends brand promotion with fighter promotion and that is the correct business model. They intertwine with each other. Randy Couture coming out of retirement and fighting for the UFC title against a giant was a great promotion for Couture the fighter as well as a great story and match-up that promoted UFC the brand.

    How does Shaw go about promoting “stars”? He got on TV and set up a promo video telling us how KJ Noons is going to be the first person to hold a belt in MMA and boxing at the same time. KJ Noons is not a “superstar”. KJ Noons is a prospect. Making that claim would mean that Shaw is psychic. If by blatantly advertising fighters as much better than they are is the best way to be a promoter than Shaw is on a roll. I’m not saying the UFC or anyone else in the fight business doesn’t do that from time to time; it’s simply a necessary evil in certain instances. But for Shaw to criticize the UFC when he has his own serious mistakes is stupid.

    And talking about making “fan friendly” matches and not worrying about “who the next champion” will be doesn’t make sense from the standpoint of a fan, a fighter, or a promoter. As a fighter I want to know that if I perform well consistently I could move up the ranks and fight for a title. As a fan I want to know that the fights I’m watching mean something and the winner moves up the ladder in the division while the loser must go home and regroup. As a promoter I want to keep my fighters and my fans happy because that is simply the best way to do business in the fight game. Shaw’s matches have come off as meaningless at times. I’ll use Noons again: in his highly touted Showtime debut he was KTFO’ed by the always entertaining Krazy Horse. Noons came back and won one fight and the next thing you know he was fighting for a championship belt against Nick Diaz who was coming off a win against the man considered to be the #1 lightweight in the entire world.

    Again, Gary Shaw is an idiot.

  • Rob says:

    This is a rough, rough piece of “journalism.”

    Shaw: “Is it possible UFC could be headed for the same fate as Vince McMahon’s World Wrestling Entertainment? WWE saw record profits in the late ’90s, only to plateau and fall back over the last seven years.”

    WWE’s highest profits came in the 2000’s. I know this is predominately MMA but why mention something else just to get it wrong?

    Shaw, “I don’t know what their real pay-per-view numbers are, but I guarantee you they’re not doing the 700,000-800,000 pay-per-view numbers now.”

    LOL. Seriously? Get an Observer subscription please and stop writing articles based on wild speculation and assumptions. 71 did 675k I believe — which is close to his 700 figure. 79 has a 600k minimum estimate last I heard … I’m not an “MMA journalist” though so …

  • Dan says:

    UFC has not developed fighters?? Some of their top fighters have come from THEIR OWN REALITY SHOW. Shaw has it right with the fighter first mentality, but other than that he is a moron – Forrest Griffin, Keith Jardine, Diego Sanchez, Josh Koscheck, Joe Daddy, Michael Bisping, Matt Serra – all of these men are Ultimate Fighter alum and all are known to any decent MMA fan

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