Jan 7, 2012 Dana White Interview – MMA in New York “I guarantee it’s going to happen this year”

MMAFightCorner.com:  Joining us on the Fight Corner is, without a doubt, one of the biggest and most recognizable figures in professional sports today, UFC President, Dana White.  How are you doing today?

Dana White: I’m good.

MMAFightCorner.com: Do you feel the need to tone it down at all now that the UFC is airing on FOX?

Dana White: Not at all.  I don’t think I’ll be toning anything down anytime soon-it is what it is.  FOX knew what they were getting when they got in business with me.   You’ll see the same UFC.  All the things that you see on FUEL and FX will be the UFC the way you’ve seen it the last ten years; except, obviously, with FOX’s touches to it.  FOX sports is one of the most recognized and most respected sports channels out there.   David Hill, the guy who runs FOX, has revolutionized sports on FOX, so I want their input and their touch on this thing, too, so it’s all good.

MMAFightCorner.com: How close are you getting to having MMA sanctioned in New York?

Dana White:  Real close.  It’s going to happen and I guarantee it’s going to happen this year.

MMAFightCorner.com: Do you have a fight ready for when it’s sanctioned?

Dana White:  No.  It’s going to depend on when it happens, timing, and everything else.  It would be nice to go in there with, probably, Jon Jones.

MMAFightCorner.com: You’ve had a week to sit back and reflect on the Brock Lesnar retirement.  What are your thoughts?

Dana White:  In this sport if you think you want retire then you absolutely positively should retire.  The way I look at this Brock Lesnar thing is, whenever a guy decides he wants to retire I’m totally cool with that.  In this sport you have to be here 100% mentally-you can’t be half in, half out.  What this guy has been able to do in the short amount of time in this sport is phenomenal.  He’s brought a lot of fun and excitement to the heavyweight division and to the UFC.  I think it was a great run-everybody had fun and I have no problem with him retiring.

MMAFightCorner.com:  The UFC reality show acted as a catalyst here in the states.  Now we see you guys taking the show down to Brazil.  Is that the formula you are going to use to take this global?  Are we going to see the UFC in every  major international television market?

Dana White:  Yep! We start filming the Ultimate Fighter live on FX here in March.  I will have already shot the Ultimate Fighter Brazil.  The Ultimate Fighter India should probably be 2013.   We’re working on Canada and Australia.  What I want to do is get the Ultimate Fighter going in all these different countries then the winner of each country fights each other then you end up with one winner.

MMAFightCorner.com: The last trip to Brazil was such a major event for the UFC-it almost has a historic feel to it.  This card competitively seeking for a die hard fight fan is very exciting but it lacks a lot of those key Brazilian superstars.  What are your expectations for this card?

Dana White: Vitor Belfort’s on this card.  The first time you go into a new market it’s a big deal.  People get pumped and excited about it.  At the end of the day you guys gotta remember that people are going to buy these cards based on the fight.  We’ve had nothing but a long streak of ‘sick, lose your mind, crazy good’ fights.  That’s what we do, that’s what we provide and that’s what people are buying it for. I guarantee you the fight  in Brazil next weekend will be a sick card and we’ll have tons of great fights and that’s what people care about.

MMAFightCorner.com: Cyborg just failed her post-fight urine test-testing positive for steroids.  You announced that she was getting stripped of her title and the women’s 145-pound division was going away.  Do you feel that women’s MMA will ever develop, or is this the beginning of the end?

Dana White: We’ll see how this whole thing plays out, but I always have the feeling that it will be like boxing.  There was a moment there when female fighting was kind of a big deal. You had Christy Martin, Lela Ali, and Mia St. John-there were girls fighting that people were interested in, and then it just faded out and went away.  Here’s the thing that’s different: mixed martial arts is a new martial art-it’s what people are taking all over the world. Who knows, maybe more and more women get into it, more and more women do it and the divisions blow up-I don’t know we’ll see.

MMAFightCorner.com:  In Strikeforce, the heavyweight division will be wrapping up soon.  You’ve said that the Strikeforce fighters are staying put.  Are there any plans of UFC fighters going to Strikeforce or anyone outside the UFC that you’re looking to pick up? 

Dana White:  The reason that we got rid of the heavyweight division and were sticking to just a few divisions is because they are not doing enough shows a year.  We’re doing like six shows a year and if you go back throughout history, when we first brought this thing we were doing five shows a year because we only had so many weight classes.  You have to build depth, you have to build stars and that’s what we’re going to do over the next year in Strikeforce.  I don’t know if that division where Cyborg is will go away, we’ll see what happens.

MMAFightCorner.com: What are your thoughts on new fighter like Ronda Rousey? What are her chances against a fighter like Miesha Tate?

Dana White: I like her.  You ‘re going to have these one-armed fights in these girls who bust out and become stars and that’s great, but the question is who do you have beyond them?  The couple that are out there can only do so many fights before you run out of people to fight.

MMAFightCorner.com: What are your thoughts on amateur mixed martial arts?

Dana White: There is no such thing as amateur mixed martial arts right now.  Any guy that puts on amateur fights just doesn’t want to pay the athlete-that’s it.  An amateur division does not exist because there’s no payoff for the athlete-that’s why I don’t accept amateur fights on the Ultimate Fighter.

MMAFightCorner.com: Thanks so much for taking time out of your day to join us on the Fight Corner.

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