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Dana White: “Money is the biggest detriment to the fight business.”

There is no pretending that the UFC isn’t having issues with injuries in 2012, and they all seem magnified in the wake of the cancellation of UFC 151. Shortly after the conclusion of the UFC 152 conference call, it was announced Quinton Jackson and Jose Aldo were out of their fights at UFC 153. In an hour, the main and co-main event were in shambles, and UFC fans were left asking what’s with all of the injuries? According to UFC President Dana White, “The only way it can be explained is it’s a string of horrible (expletive) luck.”

White had a lot to say when he sat down with MMAFighting on the reasons why the injuries seemed to be piling up.

“I’ve been so (expletive) tired of answering this question over the last couple of days about fighter insurance, there’s too many events, the lists goes on and on,” explained the upset executive. “”The biggest (expletive) problem is we got too many rich guys. Money is the biggest detriment to the fight business. Back in the old days when we were just getting going, dudes had to pay the (expletive) rent.”

In White’s opinion, as soon as the UFC grew, everything changed, declaring, “Once the money starts to pile up. You get some of these guys who have a few million in the bank, getting punched in the face everyday isn’t too (expletive) cool. But when guys are (expletive) hungry and they want that (expletive) money and want to get out there and get more of it and more of it and more of it.

To help prevent injuries, some fans and media members have said the UFC should add lifestyle clauses to their contracts like forbidding the fighters from riding motorcycles.

“Yes, I could put in the contracts, ‘You’re not driving a (expletive) motorcycle,'” White said. “But I’m not with him. If I say, ‘No (expletive) motorcycles,’ and a fighter rides a motorcycle anyway and hurts himself, what am I going to do,” asked White rhetorically.  “We can’t hurt him worse than he already hurt himself. Now he’s not going to make any money for a year-and-a-half. He’s not going to fight. He just lost a year-and-a-half of his career. He’s going to hurt himself more than I could ever hurt him.”

Then there is the oversaturation argument, but White feels the number of shows they put on on is necessary if fans want the UFC to develop top fighters in so many weight classes, stating, “The more money, the more weight classes, the more fights, it’s what needs to be done for the sport to grow. And there’s demand for it. It’s not like we’re putting on all these fights and (expletive) three people are showing up. We’re still breaking records and all these different things.”

Of course, White wasn’t wholly negative, adding that he feels it is not time to panic and that things are getting better by the day.

“Everything is awesome. Everything couldn’t be going better. It seems like every day when you turn on the (expletive) computer, there’s all this doom and gloom. The UFC is a fad, this, that, and everything else from all these dumb (expletives) who don’t really know what’s going on, what the plans are, what we got teed up,” White concluded. “We’re gonna shock the world again in the next two years.”


  • AlphaOmega says:

    Probably true about the money to some degree, but then again if the money wasn’t there, would there really be as many fighters as there are now? I also don’t think the UFC is putting on to many events, I think they are just having bad luck with people getting injured, things happen, you can’t stop fighters from getting hit in training because that’s what they are suppose to do, and you can’t predict if a fighter will get ran over on a motorcycle.

    I guess the camps could slack off a little on training, or change it up to lessen injuries, but I think that’d have an adverse affect on the fights, maybe not put them in as good of shape, or make more fighters fight smart and work the point system.

  • Dufresne says:

    I think as far as the money goes, the biggest problem is that once you get a couple mil stashed away, the $100,000 isn’t enough incentive anymore. I don’t see pro football players having this issue, and I think it’s because while they may have a few mil in the bank, their contract is still worth enough to risk it. In other words, make the incentive big enough and guys will still be hungry for it.

  • AlphaOmega says:

    True but if you make the money to much then you end up like Affliction and elite xc

  • Angry Mike says:

    Without money there’s no business of any kind. If White has under performers or goldbricks in his org. he can tell them they’re on the shelf indefinitely, or he can cut them. If they’re title holders, he can insist they fight or have a fight between the top two contenders for an interim belt. White controls the carrot (money) and he also has the stick. Don’t whine, wield them.

  • Richard Stabone says:

    Dana seems in over his head with the growth of the UFC. Look, things change when the revenue/paydays start to skyrocket.That’s the nature of the beast. Look at the other major pro sports leagues from their early days to the massive contracts today… it’s a night & day difference, and of course the mindset of the athletes has changed over time.

    DW needs to be able to recognize the shifting dynamics that come with the UFC’s expansion, and be able to adapt as president of the organization. It’s a coming of age for the UFC… for example, guys are no longer going to put their career or position in the divisional pecking order at risk to help Uncle Dana save a card. These are (expletive) professionals he’s dealing with, who are going to handle their careers accordingly, with professional trainers/advisors in their corner providing guidance. Dana might as well get used to it rather than yell & cuss & call well-respected figures in the MMA world things like “weirdo” and “goofy.” DW has to realize when he does this type of stuff it’s him that comes off looking like more of an ass than the person(s) he’s attacking.

    I know I’ve been harping on DW a lot lately… I just find his behavior especially wacky of late. Granted, he’s been dealing with a ridiculous run of bad luck, but pull it together man… you’re the president of an enormous (and growing) professional sports league. Try to act like it. But overall, I mostly like the guy. He’s an entertaining bastard who works really, really hard and for the most part seems to focus on delivering entertainment for us fans. He justs loses it once in a while and I’m not sure if he’s gonna be able to keep it together long term, and adapt with the changing dynamics of the UFC.

    When Dana talks about money being evil, my first thought is he doesn’t want to share the pie. The UFC is obviously growing, and the revenue along with it, but the fighters should be content to make what they make and focus on punching each other in the face!! Go Dana!

    In the other major pro sports leagues, there are labor agreements that dictate how the revenue pie is shared between the athletes & the suits running the league. For the UFC it’s still the wild wild west, with the UFC maintaining a stronghold on the overall balance of power. That’s gonna gradually have to shift as the sport continues to grow, and I just don’t see Dana being able to properly represent the company thru that transition. He should eventually slide over into a less consuming role with the company, where he can focus on the promotional aspects and interaction with the fans.


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