(Video courtesy YouTube/MMAFighting)
MMAFighting.com’s Ariel Helwani spoke to Dana White ahead of UFC 119 this weekend in Indianapolis and besides the match-ups on the card the UFC president spoke about all of the hot topics on the minds of fans and pundits alike including his take on Sonnengate, if he feels there is a PED problem in MMA and why he cut Todd Duffee and Efrain Escudero.
Here’s what the baldfather had to say:
About Sonnen’s current mental state and whether or not he will support his appeal:
"I’ve spoken to him a couple of times. I saw him at the opening of the UFC gym in Los Angeles and then I talked to him yesterday I think. He’s in a really good place. Listen, there’s more to this story than meets the eye and it will all come out in the athletic commission hearing. People look at me and they say, ‘You’re the commissioner of this thing.’ No, no, no. The way that this works is, the athletic commission oversees us. Every time these guys step in and compete, the athletic commission drug tests them and everything else. Everyone thinks that ‘Dana White has the commission in his hand,’ but the commission doesn’t give a shit what I think, what I have to say — nothing. You’re dealing with the government. That’s like thinking that Dana White can tell the IRS what to do. That’s never going to happen. So, Chael is gonna have to go in front of the commission and we’re going to have to wait and see how this thing plays out."
On whether or not he feels Chael is innocent:
"Do I think he is innocent? Like I said, here’s the deal, there’s more to this story than people understand and I’m not getting involved in this thing. It’s Chael, his people and the athletic commission that are gonna have to work this thing out. There’s more to this story."
On his take on Sonnen telling the commission beforehand that he might test positive:
"That’s what I’m talking about. There’s more to this story. I’m not involved in this thing. He’s gonna have to deal with the commission. We’ll see what happens."
On the opinion that the UFC needs to do more to curb the use of PEDs by its athletes and needs to be tougher on offenders:
"Every year we bring these guys in for the summit. We sit these guys down, the DEA comes in and educates them about what can happen. What you guys have to understand is this isn’t like the NFL where you got busted and now we’ve decided to suspend you for four games. The government comes in and takes away your ability to make a living for a whole year. Then, on top of that, the money you made in that fight, they’re gonna fine you. Many guys already have that money spent. This test came out a month later [than Sonnen's fight with Silva]. Chael Sonnen, I’m sure has been out making some moves, plus he has to pay taxes on that money. And now he has to pay a fine and everything, you know — the public stigma — what more could you do to a guy? What more could you do to a guy?"
On whether or not a zero-tolerance policy would help the issue:
"All of us are gonna make mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes. It’s how you deal with those mistakes. You take a guy like Josh Barnett. This guy’s tested positive three times and denies every time that he’s taken steroids, okay? He comes out with an interview last week, basically saying, ‘I don’t care about anybody else; the only person I care about is myself. I got some fans out there and thanks for following me or whatever, but I’m not fighting for you. I’m fighting for me and I’m doing everything for me.’ This is a guy who single-handedly put a company out of business — single handedly put a company out of business for doing what he was doing and has zero remorse for it. Couldn’t care less. [He's like,]‘I don’t care that you bought tickets to that fight and were planning on going. I don’t care that Fedor flew all the way in from Russia to fight me and trained and spent his own money to do this. I don’t care that this company, Affliction, believed in me and was allowing me to make a living and I put them out of business. All I care about is me. Those are the guys that I have zero tolerance for. And that’s why he’s not in the UFC and never will be."
On whether or not he feels that there is a PED problem in MMA:
"How many guys are testing positive? When you look at how many fights [there are] and how many fighters [are competing]…You’re always gonna have problems. There’s gonna be problems with alcohol and cigarettes and all these other things. You can’t control everything in everybody. You can’t do it. It’s impossible. There’s a problem in sports in general with performance enhancing drugs."
On why the UFC cut heavyweight prospect Todd Duffee:
"We have the ability to cut a guy when he loses a fight. He lost that fight [against Mike Russow], but the biggest problem I have with Todd Duffee is his attitude. You guys don’t see it. You don’t know. I deal with tons of guys. We have hundreds of guys under contract and I’ve had thousands of guys under contract over the last ten years and Todd Duffee, to me, doesn’t seem like he wants to be in the UFC. He doesn’t like being in the UFC. Let him go fight in the smaller organizations and work his way back up, if he even wants to work his way back up and get back into the UFC. He just came off a knockout. He got knocked out in his fight and he’s got a horrible attitude. He’s got a horrible attitude. He can still go back and train and fight in these smaller leagues and work on his skills and his attitude."
On why he cut TUF 8 winner Efrain Escudero:
"I think that Efrain got comfortable. He came off the show and he was doing all these huge media tours throughout Mexico and had Bud Light stamped all over him and wasn’t performing. When you come out and perform the way he did AND you don’t make weight, it just shows that you’re really not that serious about it. You’re not taking this as serious as you should be."