With UFC 207 just a couple days away, UFC President Dana White opened himself to media questions. He was asked an arsenal of questions about Ronda Rousey, upcoming events, and other topics. It’s not often White sits down with the media anymore, so this was well received. The UFC 207 Dana White interview video is below.
If you don’t feel like watching, look no further, I put the highlights below. Enjoy!
UFC 207 Dana White Interview Video:
UFC 207 Dana White Interview Highlights:
Ronda Rousey receiving “preferential treatment”
Of course, a popular topic was UFC 207 headliner Ronda Rousey and her lack of media appearances. According to Dana, this was a part of Rousey’s bargain when negotiating her comeback. She asked to do no media so she can focus on the fight; something she arguably didn’t do as well in the build up with Holly Holm. The UFC obliged.
“She has done a lot for us,” Dana said. He even stated that Rousey has done more mainstream media than any other fighter. Many were quick to call the UFC out on them giving Ronda preferential treatment, but according to Dana, she has earned it.
This isn’t the first time the UFC has granted this wish; when Conor McGregor returned to rematch Nate Diaz at UFC 202, he too wanted to do very little media. Usually, the UFC is very strict on ensuring their fighters show up for these obligations as it helps sell tickets and PPVs.
WME-IMG’s involvement and potential conflict of interest with Rousey
According to Dana, the new owners of the UFC, entertainment collosus WME-IMG, are not involved with any of the match making. He said,
“WME has nothing to do with what I’m doing over here. WME is obviously the new owners of this thing, [but] I’m still doing everything. Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell are not involved in anything to do with the fights that are being made, [and] they’re not involved with the production of the UFC. Everything is exactly the way it was.”
Dana also commented on the thought of there being a potential conflict of interest since Ronda Rousey is a client of WME. He denied this and said Ronda’s “prefential treatment” this time around is a one-time thing and is well-deserved.
Mike Goldberg leaving?
Dana confirmed the rumors that UFC 207 will be Goldberg’s last time commentating for the UFC. Furthermore, Dana said that he does know who will be replacing him, but obviously didn’t say who it is. Dana added,
“We have guys right now from [John] Anik to several fighters who are involved in [commentary]. But I’ve had a plan for a couple years now that I’ve been waiting for it to play out, and it’s now playing out.”
Who knows what this “plan” is of Dana’s, but it will likely be met with criticism. There are rumors of Jim Rome being a potential replacement.
Cain Velasquez and last-minute heavyweight match making
UFC 207 took a major hit when Cain Velasquez was pulled from his bout against Fabricio Werdum. The two were set to rematch on the main card, but unfortunately Velasquez was not cleared by the athletic commission. They deemed him unfit to fight despite Velasquez and his camp claiming otherwise.
In the UFC 207 Dana White interview, the UFC president seemed to support the athletic commission’s decision. According to him, the decision to pull Velasquez stemmed from an ESPN interview Velasquez gave a week earlier where he admitted his severe back pain; even saying he couldn’t stand upright for more than 10 minutes. Velasquez’s side of the debacle can be viewed here. Nevertheless, the commission took action and revoked his license to fight, leaving Werdum without an opponent. The UFC tried to make some last-minute match making: Junior dos Santos at UFC 207, and Alistair Overeem at UFC 208.
According to Dana, Werdum turned down both. However, Werdum has previously said that he never turned a fight down. Dana said Werdum demanded a lot of money for these fights, the UFC could not comply, therefore the fight did not get booked. In Dana’s eyes he sees this as Werdum turning the fight down.
Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Tony Ferguson “not happening”, Jose Aldo more likely
Top lightweight contender Nurmagomedov and Ferguson have been calling each other out for years. They’re undeniably the two best lightweights in the world outside of champion Conor McGegor, but it’s unclear who will get the next title shot at McGregor. There were rumors about Khabib and Tony fighting each other in Russia, but Dana shot that down. He said Tony demanded to be paid the same amount as Khabib, but according to Dana, Tony just signed a new contract and wants him to honor it.
Recently-promoted UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo on the other hand seems a more likely option for Khabib. Dana seemed rather optimistic when he said Aldo called out Khabib and wants to fight him for an interim lightweight title. Of course, this would mean entirely skipping over Tony Ferguson, but it sounds like the ball is in Khabib’s court.
Cyborg’s potential failed drug test
According to Dana, he was suspicious about Cyborg after she turned down two title fights. The UFC recently created a women’s 145 lb division, mainly so Cyborg can attempt to get a UFC belt. However, she turned down two fights and claimed that she couldn’t make the weight in the given time. It’s no secret that Cyborg’s weight cuts are among the worst in the sport, but perhaps she was avoiding signing a fight to get out of drug tests. Nevertheless, a random out-of-competition test by USADA was flagged. “I wasn’t shocked. It made more sense why she didn’t want to fight for the 145 lb title,” Dana said.
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