In the wake of Saturday night’s UFC 124, MMA Fighting.com gives us an interesting morning-after glimpse into the life UFC President Dana White, during which we learn two noteworthy things: 1) Big DW still isn’t ready to confirm Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva as “TUF 13” coaches and 2) In order to keep his plans for world domination straight in his mind, Dana keeps a giant white board in his office with a “to do” list printed on it. Goddamn, what we wouldn’t give to get a look at that list. That’s got to be the most important white board in all of mixed martial arts.
"I’ve got a board with a list of things that need doing,” White says, “and (picking ‘TUF’ coaches) is one of the big ones, but it depends on a lot of things. Here’s the one thing I know: I have to make a decision really soon."
Yeah, tell me about it. Season 13 is set to begin filming in just a few weeks and at this point the SpikeTV producers have no idea which famous UFC fighters’ petty demands they’re going to have to coddle this time around. That probably makes it next to impossible for the production team to do the necessary prep work. Are they gonna have to hire a Portuguese interpreter? Do they need to invest in a deep freeze system to keep Sonnen’s testosterone vials nicely chilled? Should they install full-spectrum lights at the “TUF” training center to try to ward off Brock Lesnar’s seasonal affective disorder? Are they going to have to rent an extra room for Frank Mir’s entourage? As you can see, it’s pretty hard to make plans when you don’t know who’s going to be around.
Smart money is still on Sonnen and Silva, but as of Monday morning White seemed open to the possibility of installing Urijah Faber and Miguel Torres as coaches (a decision we’d be cool with because it’d be a good way to pump the bantamweight division) and/or Lesnar and Mir (a decision we would absolutely not be cool with, for obvious reasons).
Frankly, we can’t for the life of us figure out why it wouldn’t be “The Axe Murderer” and Mr. Chael. Both are obviously crazy (in appropriately opposite ways) and would spend the entire season engaging in ridiculous bickering that would build to a great grudge match to cap off the show. Additionally, both have their reasons for being away from the actual cage for a few more months. So, what gives?
We can only speculate: Is the UFC anticipating major problems for Sonnen getting his testosterone replacement therapy cleared by other state athletic commissions, especially in Nevada where Keith Kizer isn’t too happy with him right now? Does it consider Wanerdlei too much of an injury risk to invest a whole season in him? Might they be thinking of fast-forwarding Sonnen straight into a rematch with Anderson Silva without a fight in between?
Look, if these dudes aren’t going to be the coaches somebody needs to tell them that. Sonnen was dropping fairly heavy-handed hints about it while
playing softball doing his exclusive interview with Mike Straka a couple weeks back and he and Silva are still at each other’s throats over on Twitter. Seems like they’re going to a lot of trouble to start a feud and we’d hate for all that work to have gone for naught.
Also — though we don’t want to read too much into this — it sure sounded like Dana himself slipped up and almost spilled the beans during his customary postfight interview with Ariel Helwani on Saturday night. While discussing the possibility of a forthcoming fight between Anderson Silva and Georges St. Pierre, Our Fearless Leader almost but not quite alluded to the fact that he’s got plans for the UFC middleweight champion beyond the upcoming bout between Belfort and Silva. Dig it at about the 4:20 mark in the vid:
“If Anderson beats Vitor, he’d still have to fight …,” Dana says, and then trails off, as if reminding himself that he was about to say something he shouldn’t. Quickly he changes subjects and rights the ship, stammering just a little bit: “Georges is still gonna fight … the next guy who’s getting the shot is Jake Shields.”
Hmmmm. Very interesting.
Frankly, the perceived delay in announcing “TUF 13” coaches could mean anything, or nothing it all, but it’s sure starting to feel like the UFC is really dragging this out for unknown reasons. Reasons that will remain unclear unless we can break into Dana White’s office and get a look at that white board. Maybe add “Truce with CagePotato” to his list of things to do.