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Where There’s Smoke: Dana White addresses unfolding TUF 11 drama

It all began on March 13 when several of the most respected websites in the mixed martial arts community, including, independently received information through sources they deemed “rock solid” enough to go to press, indicating that a bout between Chuck Liddell and Rich Franklin was brewing for the near future.

While a match up between the two extremely popular former champions is without a doubt front page material on any given MMA news day, the reports wouldn’t have had nearly the impact they would have had it not been for the fact that the public had been anticipating a third clash between “The Iceman” and Tito Ortiz following the conclusion of the eleventh season of The Ultimate Fighter, on which they were both featured and billed as coaches.

Then it was no more an an hour later that received information from multiple sources close to the situation indicating that Franklin had actually been tabbed to help assist with coaching duties on the upcoming television show in the wake of Ortiz’ absence as well. also reported that they had received the same information in their initial report regarding the possible match up between Liddell and Franklin, with John Morgan stating, “Those same sources suggested that Franklin was possibly brought in as a replacement coach to finish out the season’s filming, and “Ace” now meets Liddell as an opposing “TUF” coach.”

The reasoning behind the possible departure of Tito from the filming of TUF 11 was a complete mystery at the time.

However, it wasn’t any more than a few hours later that UFC President Dana White relayed the following set of messages on his Twitter account immediately prior to heading off to a boxing match between Manny Pacquiao and Joshua Clottey in Dallas, Texas.

Not true! We are doing couture vs franklin not chuck.
2:43 PM Mar 13th via web

Nothing happened to tito. Tito and I are cool.
2:50 PM Mar 13th via web  

Five Ounces, along with the bulk of the mixed martial arts media community that aren’t terrified to pick up a telephone, then began to hit the pavement via text messaging, email and open dialogue to attempt to make some sort of sense out of these most recent developments for you, the fan.

It was just four days later that 5 Oz received information from extremely reliable sources indicating that Ortiz had suffered a neck injury to the tune of multiple herniations in the neck that may have forced him out of the taping of TUF 11, along with the anticipated second rematch with Liddell.

When White was asked his thoughts on how he would go about handling the reports surrounding TUF 11 during Sunday evening’s “UFC on Versus” festivities , the president of the UFC took a neutral stance, neither confirming or denying anything.

“I don’t know. I mean, if that’s the case, and that’s true, I guess you’re just going to have to watch and see what happens,” said Dana during a recent coversation with Steve Cofield from Cagewriter.

So, is Dana upset about any information you may have been leaked regarding the circumstances surrounding the upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter? Not the least bit, because the only true way to get to the bottom of this constantly unfolding scenario is going to be watching the eleventh season of The Ultimate Fighter along with everyone else.

“Nah, this stuff happens,” said White. “I don’t know what anybody thinks was leaked, or what people think is right, and what is wrong. There are always going to be rumors out there – whether it’s a fight we’re putting on, or The Ultimate Fighter, or what happened there – there’s always going to be rumors. What’s fact and what’s fiction? You’re just going to have to watch the show to find out.”

White laughed when asked if he would lie on his Twitter account in regards to anything that he has stated about the circumstances surrounding TUF 11 in the past, stating, “Lie is a big word. You never know. Like I said… I have to… Listen, you guys [the media] know how I am. You’ve all dealt with me, and you ask me the questions, I’ll tell you the answers. But there are some times that I have to – you know – that I have to do what I have to do.”

You can view the conversation below:

  • Dufresne says:

    If Tito really does have the neck injury that’s being reported, he wouldn’t be able to coach or fight so it’s entirely plausible to think that him and Dana are still “cool.”

    Then again Dana and Tito could be back at each others throats and they’re just trying to hype the new season of TUF which is significantly harder without a guy like Kimbo to over-hype and two coaches that are passed their primes.

  • brandnewpride36 says:

    “you know, do what I gotta do”…

    ok mafia boss White haha. he easily could have said, hey I’m a promoter, and i have to do what is necessary to promote fights and keep peoples interest peaked, but in Dana White fashion, he knows just what to say….

  • kevmma says:

    i’m tellin you.. nothing happened to’s all just hype.. and it’s going to make people watch.

  • OMNIpotus says:

    Guys… if Tito died or anything else, Dana couldn’t say anything to the press. Everyone involved with the show in any way, all the way down to caterers and chauffeurs, has signed an NDA and would be sued out of existence if they disclose anything about the show. Dana can’t say anything relating to the show.

  • blue says:

    I think it is hard for the average fan to appreciate how talented Dana is at what he does. But the more I learn about him, I also learn to appreciate his ability. It becomes more transparent to me how he was able to save the sport of MMA while MMA was being condemned while other promotions continue to fail in a time when MMA is almost embraced.

    This doesn’t mean I excuse Dana White for being a total prick, he is still what he chooses to be, a total prick. But he’s also a tremendous promoter and a real asset to MMA.

  • Rece Rock says:

    I appreciate DW…


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