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Attention UFC Fighters: Only Give Interviews With “A Point” From Now On (Whatever That Means)


(Shown wearing the t-shirt of a band that would obviously approve of limiting self-expression.)

It’s no exaggeration to say that Dana White was upset by Matt Mitrione’s appearance on “The MMA Hour” this Monday. I’m not just writing about, you know, his rant against transgender MMA fighter Fallon Fox. I’m writing about Matt Mitrione simply agreeing to be on the show.

While addressing reporters at yesterday’s UFC on FOX 7 media conference call, Dana White discussed his stance on Mitrione’s controversial statements. And while he was obviously upset with Mitrione for referring to Fox as “a lying, sick, sociopathic, disgusting freak,” he seemed to be more annoyed over the fact that “Meathead” was giving what he deemed to be an unnecessary interview. Via MMAmania:

It’s one of those things, it’s just a pain in the ass. You know what I mean? First of all, he didn’t even need to be doing an interview. And I’m going to talk to these guys. The only time these guys need to be doing interviews is leading up to fights. It ended up being a nightmare for him.

What was the point of that interview? There’s no point in it. Now it’s causing him a bunch of headaches and problems for no reason whatsoever. He just fought and he wouldn’t fight again for another few months. And he is still over there enjoying himself in Sweden. What was the point of doing that interview? What was the upside to that interview? There was none. No upside.

White’s comments create an interesting conundrum for his fighters: Title shots are being given to the most popular fighters – regardless of where they stand in the division – yet fighters are also expected to limit their opportunities to talk to the media. The number of fights you win doesn’t matter nearly as much as the number of tickets you can sell (ask Johny Hendricks), but if you’re coming off of an impressive victory – like Matt was – you’re supposed to decline these “pointless” opportunities to gain new fans. Also, if you’re a relatively unknown prospect who just scored an impressive victory on the preliminary card, you’ll probably be passing up the only opportunities you’ll have to talk to the major media outlets. Deal with it.

The joke of it all is that some of the UFC’s most popular fighters have given some pretty “pointless” interviews in order to build their own fan-bases. Did the world need to read about how Rampage Jackson felt about video games? Or did we need to hear Dan Hardy explain his tattoos to appreciate him as a fighter? Or was Chuck Liddell debating who would win a fight between a gladiator and an Apache warrior really that important? Maybe not in a direct sense, but the freedom that fighters have had to be themselves while talking to the media has been part of the appeal of being an MMA fan for me. I doubt I’m in the minority here.

This isn’t to say that Dana White had no reason to be upset with Matt Mitrione for his over-the-top comments, but rather, that blaming the timing of the interview is not the right solution. Restricting when fighters can give interviews simply because one fighter said something really stupid is no different than the knee-jerk “Let’s create a law to regulate _______” discussions you’ll hear after a tragic news story. Hopefully the UFC does not crack down on when and where fighters can give interviews.

And if they do, well, we haven’t pissed off Bjorn Rebney yet.

@SethFalvo

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gdxbcmcg- April 12, 2013 at 11:03 am
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Thumblaster- April 10, 2013 at 4:02 pm
Rage, hey I fuckin' love those guys but zach, that fuckers a communist at heart, he would like to censor the free speach of everyone who does'nt buy into his pinko bullshit. Oh yeah and free leonard pelltier, he only commited murder.
smellypiratehooker- April 10, 2013 at 2:32 pm
Ya, but see here's the problem Dana. Ariel didn't ask him any questions about about Fallon Fox. Loose lips Matt took it all upon himself to run his mouth in a way that would have been obvious to anyone with half a brain, that this will kick up flak. What he did was actually not much different than had he tweeted it. When you tweet something, you are usually just stating a thought or opinion on something, which is pretty much what he did accept he used some bullshit comedy segment as his vehicle for launching into a hate speech. To get to my point, interviews are not to blame, lack of common sense is your culprit.
crappiefloper- April 10, 2013 at 2:29 pm
-bottle of vodka on the table

Oh, also, fuck you Dana. Is it written in the contract to have interview approval go thru the UFC, with pre approved statements and topics? Then shut the fuck up. Of course that dumbass(Meathead) is accountable for his words and deeds, but that's a separate issue
Mr_Misanthropy- April 10, 2013 at 11:57 am
Dana White is a beluga whale penis.
algiersheadkick504- April 10, 2013 at 11:51 am
Fallon fox is ruining this sport for people one way or the other
Kintamachikara- April 10, 2013 at 11:39 am
Goes to show what an idiot Dana is... blowing shit out of both sides of his mouth at once. I say the UFC has succedded in spite of him; not because of him.
And you know what they say, "if at first you don't succeed; keep on sucking til you do suckseed."
towelie- April 10, 2013 at 11:19 am
great photo and caption.
El Guapo- April 10, 2013 at 10:38 am
Champ, ESPN's on the phone. They want to interview you about winning the title on Sportcenter's Sunday conversation. It's a great opportunity to finalize the Nike and Gatorade sponsorsh..
"THIS IS NEITHER THE TIME NOR THE PLACE! THERE'S NO POINT! ALL HAIL DANA ZORP!"
Billytk- April 10, 2013 at 10:29 am
Is Dana really this stupid to not see the point of the interview (and all athlete interviews) is to promote the athlete and increase their fame and thus their sponsors, or is this once again Dana just trying to keep the fighters under his thumb and say only the UFC should be in the spotlight not the individual fighters
SethF- April 10, 2013 at 9:50 am
@Sopapo

Not saying I don't look forward to it, but I'm sure Korean Zombie and Ricardo Lamas have an issue with a lightweight with zero featherweight fights getting the next title shot.
ReX13- April 10, 2013 at 9:48 am
All this talking about upside, somebody needs to go upside dana's shiny bald head, amiright?
Fried Taco- April 10, 2013 at 9:47 am
And in other news, up is down, and left is right.
ReX13- April 10, 2013 at 9:32 am
Also, that's some delicious irony in the photo/caption
ReX13- April 10, 2013 at 9:32 am
This just in: Zuffa has hired combat sport pioneer The Iron Shiek as its new Talent-Media Coordinator.
Sopapo- April 10, 2013 at 9:29 am
i know the Diaz St Pierre was completely bullshit but Pettis Aldo? come on thats fucking nuts! thats Mayweather vs Martinez type of fight.
CagePotatoMMA