UFC president Dana White participated in a media conference call along with B.J. Penn and Sean Sherk this afternoon, and we learned a little something about everyone before it was all said and done. For instance, is it awkward for Sherk and Penn to be on a call together after everything they’ve said about one another in the past few weeks? Kind of, yeah.
For instance, B.J. Penn is legitimately angry about Sean Sherk’s (alleged) steroid use. And no, there doesn’t seem to be any doubt in his mind about Sherk’s guilt:
“As a guy who’s never taken performance-enhancing drugs, I’m used to waking up everyday and being sore and being in pain, and to think that someone out there is using performance-enhancing drugs, it bothers me. I’m a purist. I live to fight. I really think I’m a better fighter than I am an athlete. To think that someone would take this pure thing that I love and pervert that, I can’t deal with it.”
Sherk responded, sounding more tired of steroid questions than anything else:
“I know what I did and I know what I didn’t do. I went above and beyond what I needed to do to prove my innocence. I think anyone who looks at the evidence knows that. I think the commission knows I didn’t do it. They shorted my suspension, but they didn’t want to overturn it because then they have to worry about a lawsuit.”
And here’s where it got a little uncomfortable.
B.J. chimed in after this answer to say:
“You heard it there. Sean Sherk has never done steroids in his life.”
“That’s right,” replied Sherk. A punctuated silence followed. And then Dana White talked more shit about Tito Ortiz.
White was asked what he thought Tito’s future in MMA would be, whether he would have a future in the UFC, and whether White felt that the problem was that Tito felt he was bigger than the sport and the organization. Dana had this to say:
“I think Tito’s made it very clear what his future in the UFC is. The UFC is where the best fighters in the world fight. What’s the last significant win Tito had? He beat Ken Shamrock. He fought to a draw with Rashad Evans. He beat Forrest Griffin when he was just off The Ultimate Fighter, and there are some people who think that Forrest won that fight. To be honest, I have no interest in being in the Tito Ortiz business.
“The reality is the UFC brand plus big stars equals success for everybody. Tito’s a fucking moron. He’s one of the stupidest people I’ve ever met in my life. I put up with his shit when he was a good fighter. He’s not a good fighter anymore.”
And what does Dana think of Elite XC’s debut on CBS later this month? Well, he’s no fan of leading with Kimbo as a representative of the sport, because “this is a guy who was fighting in your backyard three months ago.” While his timeline may be slightly off, he did make a good point:
“I need these other places to exist. That’s a common misperception, that I don’t want them to exist. These younger fighters need a place to work their way up, and everyone wants to work their way up to the UFC.”
Hard to argue with that. Oh, and if you’re wondering whether B.J. Penn will be in fighting shape come the 24th, try this little one-liner on for size and see how it fits:
“I’m doing everything but steroids to get ready for this fight.”
Zing! But seriously, Penn doesn’t have a problem with steroids as long as you aren’t fighting him while on them:
“People can take steroids around town if they want to. I have friends who do it. But they’re not standing across from me in the cage trying to take some money from me.”