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Dana White and Tom Atencio: Fightin’ Words!

There’s no real mystery to the boiling feud that has been brewing between the largest fighting organization in the world and one of the most successful MMA apparel companies in the business. Sure, they used to be good, but that was back in the days when Affliction was one of the UFC‘s biggest sponsors and way before the fight clothing giant announced their intentions to promote mixed martial arts events under their label in the future.

An instant ban was the UFC’s response upon catching wind of the clothing label’s plan to enter into the business of promoting fights. Makes no sense in helping to draw attention to the competition from a business standpoint.

The UFC wouldn’t be where they are today, or should I say if the Fertitta brothers and Dana White wouldn’t have taken the organization from the brink of bankruptcy to make it the mega-company it is today, if they weren’t a competitive bunch. That’s just not how it works.

Self made businessmen like the Fertitta brothers and Dana White get to positions of success and power by being more than just competitive, more than just determined or driven, or even just passionate. In all honesty, the formula for success includes some of all of those previously mentioned traits, but to build the type of empire that the UFC has, and to not just maintain it, but enable it to grow during times like these, one would have to be more than just competitive. One would have to be a downright cut-throat blood-thirsty tycoon to the job done in this day and age.

Big dog eat little dog, it’s the way of the world and it’s worked just fine up to this point for the largest and most recognized fighting promotion on the planet.

They have shown time and time again that they will go through great lengths to take the focus away from any competing promotion’s PPV numbers by running special UFC events at the same time as their competitors in an attempt to draw attention away from their rivals. From EliteXC in the past, Affliction and most recently Strikeforce, if you’re planning on putting on an event worth watching you had better plan on competing with a UFC re-run on Spike TV featuring someone like Brock Lesnar, or perhaps the infamous GSP/B.J. Penn greasing event? That should do the trick. Although the counter programing events aired on Spike TV are far from the final nail in the coffin for any of these promotions, it sure doesn’t help matters.

That’s why many in the mixed martial arts community were reeling from early reports that Affliction was possibly planning to give the UFC a taste of their own medicine by doing a little counter programming of their own. If you’re going to try to pull off something as courageous as trying to counter the UFC at all, you may as well do it like you mean it and go all in with it. UFC 100 was supposed to be one of the most grand in the organization’s long running history, and that was just the event that Affliction was being reported as planning to run their next event side by side with.

When‘s Sam Caplan contacted Dana White on March 22 regarding reports of Affliction possibly trying to counter program UFC 100, the UFC’s outspoken and sometimes controversial president responded to the rumors in a way that only he could.

“How do I feel about them trying to counter-program UFC 100?,” White was quoted as saying. “I love it. I ******* love it. I love it. I don’t like these guys and I want to see them spend more of their t-shirt money. What they should be worrying about is — they’ve already seen first hand that nobody gives a **** about Affliction MMA — what they need to starting worrying about is nobody wants to wear their goofy ******* clothes anymore either. The fad is over and they better start saving as much of that t-shirt money as they can.”

“I don’t like these guys”, “nobody gives a **** about Affliction MMA”, “Nobody wants to wear their goofy ****** clothes anymore”, can you say ‘fightin’ words’? Maybe not fightin’ words, I’ll admit, but strong, harsh, brutal words never the less.

Tom Atencio, no stranger to mixed martial arts with a record of 1-0, stepped up the trash talk a notch at a recent press conference for the “Ultimate Chaos” event scheduled for June 27 where the Affliction VP is set to face off with welterweight Randy Hedderick. He basically stopped just short of challenging his rival to a full on cage match.

“I’m doing something Dana White won’t do and that’s fight,” Atencio took it upon himself to point out. “He talks like a fighter, so why doesn’t he fight? I’m stepping up to the plate and win, lose or draw I attempted it. I don’t ever think he would fight.”

Atencio took it a step further in a recent interview with the boys from Radio where he made it a point to make sure that everyone remembered the infamous “Bad Blood: Dana White vs. Tito Ortiz” 90 minute special that ran on Spike TV in early 2007.

You guys remember the show, the one they advertised endlessly? The one where Tito and Dana were supposed to settle their long lasting differences in an exhibition boxing match? The special that lasted an hour and a half and they talked about how the two were going to duke it out before telling us that it wasn’t going to happen at the end? Yep, that’s the one. The same show that made me chuck my brand new universal remote at my brick wall causing it to explode into a thousand tiny plastic pieces and curse the UFC for wasting an hour and a half of my life.

He just had to bring it up, right when I was beginning to erase the memory from my head.

“I think the fight that was supposed to be between him and Tito, I don’t think that was really ever going to happen,” said Atencio. “I think that was just a big publicity stunt.”

Atencio just can’t seem to figure out why White would have any problem stepping into a cage with him being that the UFC head honcho was willing to put it on the line against a fighter of Tito’s caliber in the past.

“He used to be a boxing trainer or coach, so if he was willing to fight Tito, why wouldn’t he be willing to fight me?,” the Affliction VP was quoted as asking.

Not that White wouldn’t step up to the plate to answer Atencio’s challenge, or that Atencio feels like he could walk through White in an MMA match, but the Affliction move-maker is prepared to let the chips fall where they may.

“I’m not saying I could beat the guy, but let’s fight,” admitted Atencio. “Let’s do it. I mean, I think it would be huge for both of us.

“Sometimes he just comes off as a tough guy, and I think if you’re tough, then be tough. If you’re not, then that’s cool. And I’m not saying I’m tough at all. I’m just saying at least I’m willing to step in the ring. I’ll do it.If I embarrass myself, oh well, I embarrass myself. At least I can say that I did it.”

I can’t think of a single mixed martial arts fan that wouldn’t cough up some of their hard earned dough to watch these two MMA big wigs try to tear each other apart limb from limb. The grudge is a real one, and although White is under no kind of obligation to accept the challenge put forth from Atencio, would it really come as that much of a shock if he did?

  • RoadsideGraphix says:

    I like Dana White and I think he is a ****ing Awesome spokesperson.
    But lets face it…. dude is NEVER going to fight.

    Dana is long past his prime and could you image what would happen if he lost to the “T-shirt Guy”

    I think we have a better chance of booking a match between G.W. Bush & Obama

  • fanoftna33 says:

    this reminds me so much of the monday night wars between wcw and the wwf. near the end while wcw really needed ratings they had there head guy challenge vince macmahon to a fight. eventually wcw went under but the resemblance is there. hopefully for affliction it ends there. I am a 15 year mma fan and really enjoy the affliction events and ufc events, the more the better.

  • s00nertp says:

    anything that means: more MMA = makes me happy.

    Affliction = more MMA = makes me happy

  • MMA-LOGIC says:

    Affliction cross promotion with Dream and others=better than watching a UFC card full of TUF fighters for any true lover of the SPORT of MMA. Dana just sounds spiteful and immature.

  • AK47 says:

    I think the fact that informs the most is the reason Dana White will never fight Atencio: There’s no money in it. Get the out of the cage and start doing your job so we don’t lose another solid mma outlet. After all, maybe Dana is afraid to fight you, but he sure doesn’t have a problem painting your ass red every time you try to book a pay-per-view.

  • JJ Docker says:

    MMA LOGIC I think TUF fighters have proven themselves enough by now to deserve not be the subjects of your disregarding comments. If you don’t enjoy watching Florian, Sanchez, Koscheck, Bisping, Hammill, Swick, Leben, Joe Daddy, Marcus Davis, Jardine, Nate Diaz, Maynard, Lauzon, Evans and Griffin (and probably more I can’t think of off the top of my head) then that’s your prerogative but I find it ridiculous to imagine that if, hypothetically, a card actually did contain all or most of these fighters it wouldn’t be seen as anything other than stacked. I am a “true lover of the sport of MMA”, as you put it, and very much enjoy Affliction cards – who comfortably have the best heavyweight division in the sport – but I also very much enjoy UFC cards. Hating the UFC does not make you a “true lover” of MMA, if anything, it probably means the opposite.

  • Scott H. says:

    JJ Docker: I certainly agree with you, except for one point, specificaly the Affliction heavyweight division.

    The UFC has 20 heavyweights… a division. Afflication has a few guys under contract, but really have 2 out of the top 3 heavyweights, including the clear number one. While Afflication may have the best heavyweights, I don’t think we can take away from the fact that the UFC has an actual division, something no one else has. Afflication would need to get alot more people under contract, and stage alot more fights, for me to think they have a real division. They really only have one fight left, Fedor v. Barrnet, then they are done. The UFC will continue staging Dozens of HW fights a year, for years to come.

  • Angry Mike says:

    Atencio needs to run his business and his org., not his mouth. White will probably take the bait and respond in some fashion, but he shouldn’t waste his time. I don’t wish any ill on Affliction the org. because I love the sport, but I doubt it’ll be in the fight business in 12 months. And they better come up with some new styles soon, because fashion changes and one day soon those shirts will be as stylish as Members Only jackets or MC Hammer pants, if they’re not already.

  • Cathedron says:

    As fun as it would be to see White vs Atencio, it’s never going to happen because Atencio is just trying to get some attention for his business and White isn’t that dumb. The UFC has nothing to gain from it and we all know that after everything with Pride the UFC won’t do anything unless they get the upper hand from it. Regardless, I’d rather see both guys focusing on running their promotions more than talking shit. Atencio really should be focusing on the two businesses he has going rather than training cuz both of them have issues that could kill them in the long run.

    Scott: I totally agree. Having a few great HW’s doesn’t equal a division. They can only play round-robin with Fedor for so long. Affliction doesn’t seem to be taking any steps to actually create a division of any kind and that worries me.

  • notdanawhite says:

    just another example of affliction taking a ride on the UFC’s coattails.

    why in the heck would Dana wanna fight Atencio? i’m sure he’s rather spend his time planning his next multimillion profit making event.

    obviously Atencio get free publicity simply by mentioning it. but the idea as a whole is ultimately stupid.

    Atencio: “A fool and his money are lucky to get together in the first place.” -GG

  • JJ Docker says:

    You’re right, and I knew that, I suppose I put that as to avoid any ‘UFC nut-hugger’-type comebacks; because I’m not. Affliction’s isn’t at all a division, they just have a few top heavyweights in Barnett, Arlovski, Sylvia and, of course, the best fighter on the planet, Fedor. It could be argued that the UFC doesn’t have 4 HW’s with their talents, but it’s also certain that 4 good HW’s is far from a division. UFC’s heavyweight division is, arguably, their weakest, but in reality they are still light years ahead of their competitors in depth while also having a few top 10’s in Couture, Nog and Lesnar. I honestly think at this point, and it almost saddens me to say it, that Lesnar could give any HW on the planet a run for their money. Dare I say it, including Fedor.

  • MMA-LOGIC says:

    If Affliction cross promotes with others then it has a far bigger and better pool of fighters than the UFC does, it is only limited by exclusive contracts like those that UFC fighters must sign can you guys not see that?. They are not limited to 4 HW fighters are they? why say that when in the last 2 promotions they had Buentello, Aleksander, Rizzo, Baby Fedor, Gilbert, Sylvia, Barnett, Arlovski, Fedor and others. So dumb it hurts. The UFC is the limited one because of the nature of its contracts. Anyone who is not on an exclusive contract can fight in Affliction I would think and that is not the case in the UFC unless you sign an exclusive contract (usually). Think about it.
    JJ would you agree that some TUF fighters only make UFC cards cuz they were on the show? would you agree that there may be better fighters out there that don’t make the card because a TUF fighter is on the card?.
    I don’t hate the UFC but if it went under and I still got to see good promotions and good fights I wouldn’t care. Why would I?. I want to see the best fighters fight and I would rather they fought free of exclusive contracts and didn’t have to beg Dana white for a title shot. I just get so frustrated with the crap that goes on in the UFC and the fact that 3 of the 5 divisions are weak and that instead of being a world class company it is becoming weaker and weaker as far as talent goes, more and more TUF fighters and less and less fighters such as Diaz, Sylvia, Arlovski, Belfort, Lindland, Babalu, Ortiz. You only have say 5 great fighters in LW, MW and HW each but then the rest of the division sux and the best of them can’t fight outside of the UFC against other great fighters. Tim Sylvia and Arlovski had to leave the UFC before they could fight the best fighter in the world, Randy tried but was stopped by the UFC. These days I look at upcoming UFC fight cards and there are usually about 2 or 3 fights per card that I would really like to see and the rest I wouldn’t care if I ever saw them, but with Affliction most of the fights are worthy of watching. At least that is the way I feel, I love MMA but I don’t want to watch every MMA fight, just like lovers of baseball don’t want to wach every single game in every single division.

    P.S. I do agree that the “true lover” comment made me sound like a wanker but think of the possible fights we are missing out on because of UFC policy, most of the best ones.

  • Jak says:

    Sorry JJ, but you failed to make any point with your counter point.

    Rizzo, Sylvia, Buentello? Are you joking?

    Out of curiosity, i noticed you put Aleks on your list, how many times has he actually fought for Affliction?…. exactly. Feel free to remove him from your Affliction list.

    Baby Fedor… yeah, he’s much better than the HW’s in other org’s isn’t he…? he stepped up in competition to fight a mid tier fighter and got beat down and looked like an amateur.

    Yvel… i like Yvel, but so what, he’s not even close to a top(rankings or popularity)

    So there is 3 guys anybody gives a sh*t about, AA, Barnett, and Fedor… you really failed to make any point.

    But you were definitely right with the comment “so dumb it hurts”….

    i recommend some Xtra Strength Advil, it might take away the pain from dumb comments… 😉

  • JJ Docker says:

    Jak I’m not sure if you were supposed to be addressing me or MMA-LOGIC with your comment, as you adressed me by name but then continued to dissect MMA-LOGIC’s comments regarding Affliction’s HW division.
    If you were addressing me, my point was made in the first 2 words of my last comment; agreement with those posts above mine.
    If you weren’t addressing me but MMA-LOGIC, then, firstly, make that clear and, secondly, I agree with what you are saying. Affliction doesn’t have a HW division. They have 3 top fighters (although I would argue Sylvia is still a top HW, if you don’t agree then fair enough) that have fought on both their shows, and the others that MMA-LOGIC mentioned are either way outside the top 10 and/or past it (Rizzo, Buentello, Yvel, Baby Fedor). If you read my posts above you will clearly see me making this point.

    And MMA-LOGIC a few points for you to consider;
    “it is only limited by exclusive contracts like those that UFC fighters must sign can you guys not see that?”

    Firstly no one has said they disagree with that anyway and secondly it would still be pretty close as to whether cross-promoting would give them stronger divisions than the UFC – it severely hampers the availability of fighters and, I know you’re going to hate this bro, but Zuffa has most of the top fighters in the world under contract. Look at the rankings on any site, I would estimate 50-60% of fighters are fighting for the UFC/WEC. What is every other promotion in the world going to co-promote to better them? Yeah, I could see that working.

    “The UFC is the limited one because of the nature of its contracts. Anyone who is not on an exclusive contract can fight in Affliction I would think and that is not the case in the UFC unless you sign an exclusive contract (usually). Think about it.”

    There’s not much to think about outside of trying to understand what point you are trying to make. It’s worded terribly but from my position I think you’re saying that the UFC loses out, or is “the limited one”, with its exclusive contracts? Well, hell, it’s worked so far and I think it’s much more of a benefit for the UFC to have their fighters contracted exclusively to them than it is a benefit for anyone else.

    And yeah of course, like you, I want to see the best fighters in the world fight each other, but I never said I didn’t or even implied that. My original point was to question your disregard for fighters that have made their way into the UFC through TUF, as I disagree; I feel that the show has produced some fine competitors that I enjoy watching fight. Inevitably fighters will be handed contracts after the show not entirely on fighting merit but, although I disagree with it like you, I am willing to accept in exchange for Florian, Jardine, Joe Daddy, Bisping, Bader, Evans, Griffin etc etc.

  • MMA-LOGIC says:

    As if you didn’t know what I was saying…petty bro, very petty. I’ll try and speak slowly so you can understand.
    If Affliction does cross promote with Dream and M1 and hold an event in Japan this is who they might have on their card as far as HW’s go:
    Fedor *+
    Aleksander **
    Barnett * +
    Buentello **
    Sylvia *+
    Rizzo **?
    Baby Fedor
    Arlovski *
    Schilt +
    Hunt **?+
    Kharitonov **
    Overeem *
    *= top10, **= top 20, += Past or present Champion of either Pride, K1 or UFC.

    Just to name a few. There may be reasons why some are not available but you can see that the UFC loses this battle surely. If not there is no hope for you.
    Yes the UFC has the best divisions, no doubt. But most of the best HWs MWs and LWs fight out of the UFC and because the UFC does no cross promotion we all suffer, I don’t hate the UFC, I hate the fact that they stop me from seeing the best fighters compete.

    P.S. The last UFC HW champ (Couture) is about 6-6 over his last 12 MMA fights and of those 5 were HW fights and he is 2-3. The UFC champ (Lesnar) is 3-1 in all MMA fights and 1 was against a nobody, 1 was against a 46 year old guy who was 3-2 in his last 5 HW fights, he lost his biggest fight to Mir and his only other victory was over a guy who has only beaten 1 top 20 fighter in the last 7 years. True or not?.So don’t try and say Tim Sylvia is no good or that Monson and Crocop got beaten down in the UFC like other idiots do. Maybe Lesnar is the real deal, maybe he could beat Fedor but will we ever know?. The UFC will surely not allow that to happen, and that pisses me off.

  • MMA-LOGIC says:

    Oh and Jak co promote is written the top… they are trying to cross promote with M1 and Dream. Maybe you should learn to read…it was me not JJ…so dumb it really hurts. What is wrong with Buentello he had a title shot in your beloved UFC buddy.

  • madheartmma says:

    Dana White did/does alot for the sport, everyone knows, but money changes you. You act different. Dana should man up and fight this dude!! I mean he has a good bench press (youtube), HE “WAS” GOING TO FIGHT TITO, RIGHT,? or was it just to make him look tough? OR MAYBE, hanging around fighters all the time, he thinks he’s tougher than he is. He should fight him and squash the dumb shit, he’s starting to sound like a dick…we get the point D.W….your f#@king rich! LOADED RICH !!! YOUUR THE MAN, BUT STOP TALKING BRO..FIGHT A MUTHAF’ER. SO WHAT IF YOU LOSE, people will respect you more, cuz you tried, your “employees”will respect you more.. your fans etc. I mean would’nt he have the edge( Dana)? he’d have the inside track w/ the tips he could get from his “employees”. Then DANA would understand a fighter life,& mind even more. Then he might pay them what they deserve. LET THE FIGHTERS START A UNION, SO THEY ARE TAKEN CARE OF WHEN THEY RETIRE, I MEAN THESE GUYS DESERVE IT!! THEY DIDNT HAVE A COUPLE OF BILLIONARE BROTHERS BACKING THEM UP, SO MAN UP TOUGH GUY….REMEMBER THIS..
    “ARE YOU A [email protected]#%*ING FIGHTER” ? !! Line?
    And while I’m on a roll, why dont you do more in-depth interveiws, fighter backgrounds, training etc. w/ ALL the fighters before the PAY-PER-VIEWS, AND QUIT SHOWING THE SAME CLIP ABOUT THE MAIN, CO-MAIN EVENT FIGHTS OVER & OVER & OVER… for 15-20 minutes before the P.P.V
    WE SEE 5 (maybe more if they are quick) fights for $49.99, We’re not ALL Rich, and lately they been LAME, BORING.. So step it up, or people will lose morale, and pray for another promotion to slay the 1 billion pound gorilla the UFC is. HEy i’m just one guy, with one opinion, and i got save up to order the ufc ppv, and forget about a “goofy” tshirt, I WANT the GSP one, cuz THAT ones cool, I think all the fighter Affliction shirts are pretty cool. That’s why everyone copied that “busy, skull, and bones, chains etc.” shirt idea. THATS WHY YOU GUYS SHOULD BUY A “madheartmma”(trademarked) SHIRT!!


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