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Why Dana White is Not Slamming the Door on Tito Ortiz

UFC president Dana White
(‘Oh, hello there. Didn’t see you come in. Just rolling up my sleeves and inspecting this cage here. No big deal. It’s part of what I do.’)

Dana White is a man of simple tastes. He loves fighters who are neither pussies nor posers. He loves dropping F-bombs. He loves making life hell on all those who would oppose or seek to compete with him. The last one explains what he’s doing with the Tito Ortiz contract situation, and why he doesn’t mind being so open about it. Because what’s the fun of screwing with someone if they don’t know that you’re doing it? From Sergio Non’s USA Today blog:

I read recently that Tito supposedly is negotiating with UFC again. If that’s the case, how did that come about?

As part of his contract, he goes out and … I don’t know, something to do with his contract, but he’s still got his foot in the door with his contract. As part of our business practice in this crazy world these days, we — let me think how I can word this to you.

Take your time.

Yeah, probably going to have to.

I always say, we make this thing look a lot easier than it really is, and we’re definitely not going to make it easy for anybody else. We’re going to make things tough for other people.

It sounds like you’re saying basically you have certain negotiation rights with Tito.

Yup, and I’m going take them.

Given what you guys said about each in the months leading up to his last fight, how realistic is to expect Tito to ever fight in UFC again?

Listen, me and Tito didn’t say anything worse than what we said before he came back and became a coach on The Ultimate Fighter. Tito and I do not like each other. We do not. It’s 100% real, we don’t like each other at all, but it doesn’t mean we haven’t done business together before.

So basically, White is driving up the price on people like Affliction and Elite XC, most likely because Ortiz’s contract has a clause that allows him to match competitors’ offers within a certain window. Whether he’s really open to resigning Tito or whether that’s just something you say to make your intentions seem more genuine, that’s a different question. In the meantime, he can really make life hard for other promotions, and man, does he ever enjoy that.

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Quick Hits: Dana White to Get Mindfreaked, Machida Predicts a Finish, & More

- Because he loves him some publicity, Dana White will appear on A&E’s “Mindfreak” with magician Criss Angel tonight. You say you’re not going to watch, but let’s not kid ourselves. You’re going to pretend to watch the Democratic National Convention, then get bored when there are no crazy MMA riots breaking out, and suddenly you’re thinking, ‘Man, my mind could really use a good freaking right about now.’ Boom! A&E’s got you covered. If you want a taste of Criss Angel’s particularly cloying brand of magic, I recommend this little gem.

- The ever-elusive Lyoto Machida says his fight against Thiago Silva at UFC 89 isn’t going to be another snoozefest. As he told Tatame: “I believe this fight won’t go to decision… Thiago likes to fight aggressively, me too, he has good MMA techniques, so I believe this fight might finish before the third round.” Seems like he stops just short of actually committing to finishing, or saying that he’ll be the one to finish it. Even this guy’s interviews are, um, tactical.

- Chuck Liddell’s nutritional supplement company, Iceman Rx, is anticipating a Liddell victory over Rashad Evans at UFC 88. They’re even running a sweepstakes to coincide with UFC 92, where Liddell might conceivably challenge Forrest Griffin for the UFC light heavyweight title if he is victorious next weekend. And what does the winner of that sweepstakes get? An Iceman Rx Hummer H2. Even has a picture of Liddell on the side. Rumor has it he only decided to give it away after seeing what happened to Rampage. I started that rumor.

- You thought our jokes about the Tito Ortiz/Jenna Jameson baby news were in poor taste? Just check out The Sun. They pull no punches over in the UK press, and their photoshops are meaner. Kudos to them for referring to Jenna’s porn flicks as “blue movies.” That mixture of cruelty and decorum is why I love the Brits.

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Damn the Courts! Rampage Jackson Still Looking at November Return


(Coming atcha, Portland)

So, okay, former UFC light heavyweight champ Quinton “Rampage” Jackson may have some legal troubles. He may have been charged with two felonies and a couple few misdemeanors resulting from his little driving mishap, and he may even be looking at potential jail time. Big deal. Does that mean he shouldn’t take a fight in November? Maybe. Probably. But so what. He’s doing it anyway.

According to Yahoo! Sports, Dana White is actively trying to set Jackson up with a fight for UFC 91 on November 15 in Portland, Ore.:

“Of course he’ll fight,” White said. “If he was doing drugs, if he had been drunk, if he had gone out there and done what he did because he was pissed off at someone, that would be a completely different story. But he was ill. And in this company, we support our friends and anyone who works for us when they’re ill and have problems. He was ill, the incident occurred, and now he’s fine.

“Rampage feels awful about the woman’s baby, but he had nothing to do with it. And the (traffic incident) occurred because he was very ill and not with him in control of his faculties.”

All right, I understand the argument that because he was “ill” it shouldn’t be looked at in the same way as someone with a drug or alcohol problem. That makes a certain degree of sense. Until you consider that this “illness” was entirely self-imposed. Rampage decided not to eat, sleep, or drink anything other than energy drinks after his last fight. That’s not like coming down with the chicken pox. It’s more like coming down with the crazy-energy-drink pox, which is almost as bad as the cocaine pox, except not as expensive.

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Anderson Silva vs. Chuck Liddell? Sure, Why Not.


(‘You dance very good, little woman. You are negative for the STD’s, yes?’)

Poor Anderson Silva. The UFC middleweight champ just can’t find enough playmates in the UFC middleweight neighborhood. Yes, there’s that nice Patrick Cote boy, but then what? Silva is basically being forced to go door to door and ask, in broken English, if there are any middleweights or light heavyweights who can come out and play. Next up could very well be Chuck Liddell, according to Silva’s manager, Ed Soares:

“I think he wants to fight those big mega fights because that’s the kind of fight we want to be involved with right now,” he said about Silva’s future fights. “I think it’s a combination of seeing what the potential opponent is and also seeing what the UFC wants to do. At the end of the day, this is a business, and they need to sell fights. They need to sell a lot of pay-per-views, and they need to sell tickets. So, we want to be involved with those types of fights.”

“We’re not looking past Patrick Cote, but I think we’ll take one step at a time and see what happens. But yeah, if a Chuck Liddell fight came up, we’d take it,” stated Soares. “Whoever the UFC wants to put in front of us, he wants to fight the best, and whoever that may be at the time, that’s who he wants to fight.”

The very idea of a Silva-Liddell superfight is probably enough to give Dana White an erection, and for good reason. The pay-per-view numbers on this would likely be record-breaking, and no matter how it goes someone gets a big boost. Liddell, however, is probably a little less enthusiastic.

For one, he recently made known his belief that a victory over Rashad Evans should be enough to net him a title shot. Chances are he didn’t mean the middleweight title. For another, beating the champ from a lower weight class is sort of like being the toughest kid in eighth grade after being held back a year. There’s always a ‘but’ attached to that victory.

Silva has more to gain from this fight than Liddell does, but if there’s one thing we know about “The Iceman” it’s that he’ll do the UFC’s bidding, whatever it happens to be. He’ll also probably make a ton of money to do it, and everyone can go home fat and happy if this fight materializes on a pay-per-view at year’s end.

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Friday Link Dump


(Just one girl? Must have been a slow week for Chuck.)

- Chuck Liddell makes his case for a title shot after UFC 88. (MMA Weekly)

- Trying to make sense out of Elite XC’s crazy week. (MMA Rated Radio)

- Chris Horodecki-Dan Lauzon officially on for Affliction: Day of Reckoning (Sherdog)

- Evan Tanner is not a big fan of MMA, as this half-assed UFC 87 breakdown reveals. (Spike.com)

- Dana White and Anderson Silva nominated for “Top 49 Men of 2008″ (AskMen.com)

- How MMA saved JoJo Thompson’s life. (AZCentral.com)

- False blood work prompts fighter and trainer suspensions. (MMA Opinion)

- The most marketable names in sports. (Wall Street Fighter)

- Frat boy movie review of “Death Race.” (Screen Junkies)

- A harrowing tale of the days before internet porn, and how Kate Moss almost ruined everything. (Holy Taco)

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Penn/St. Pierre II Official for Jan. 31st

Georges St. Pierre GSP BJ Penn UFC MMA
(“I see you can ‘andle my riddum.”)

In an interview with Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports, Dana White confirmed that BJ Penn and George St. Pierre would have their rematch at the UFC’s Super Bowl weekend event on January 31st, 2009, in Las Vegas. GSP’s welterweight belt will be on the line.

White also confirmed that UFC 91 will be held November 15th in Portland, Oregon, and will indeed feature a lightweight bout between Kenny Florian and Joe Stevenson. (We can safely infer now that BJ Penn won’t be fighting again at the end of the year.) When asked about Wanderlei Silva’s next Octagon appearance, White would only say that the Axe Murderer probably wouldn’t be part of their December 27th event in Las Vegas — which could mean they’re still pushing for him to headline the Portland card against Quinton Jackson, or that they’re extending his hiatus until early ’09.

“We have nothing but big fights left for the rest of the year, but this is so crazy because there are so many of them,” White said. “We’re going to have a retreat on Monday to figure this all out.” Here’s what’s on the dry-erase board at this point…

UFC 88 (September 6th, Atlanta): Liddell/Evans, Franklin/Hamill, Parisyan/Yoshida, Henderson/Palhares

UFC Fight Night 15 (September 17th, Omaha): Diaz/Neer, Danzig/Guida, Alexander/Schafer, Lauzon/Bradley

UFC 89 (October 18th; Birmingham, England): Bisping/Leben, Machida/T. Silva, Jardine/Vera, Sokoudjou/Cane, Carwin/Wain

UFC 90 (October 25th, Chicago): A. Silva/Cote, Sanchez/Alves, Sherk/Griffin, Franca/Tibau

UFC 91 (November 15th, Portland): Florian/Stevenson

The Ultimate Fighter 8 Finale (December 13th, Las Vegas): no fights announced yet

UFC 92 (December 27th, Las Vegas): Nogueira/Mir

UFC 93 (January 31st, Las Vegas): Penn/St. Pierre

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KJ Noons’ Manager Tells Elite XC What They Can Do With Their Deadline


(You thought the fight was messy…)

Three KJ Noons stories in one day? It feels like that episode of “The Twilight Zone” where everyone looked like pigs except for the one blonde girl, only instead of everyone looking like pigs they’re all talking about KJ Noons, which is even crazier. I don’t know who would be the blonde girl in this analogy, but you get the point.

Insane though it may be, this is too good not to report. You remember the deadline put forth by Jared Shaw? Where he said KJ Noons had until 5 pm today to agree to the bout with Nick Diaz, and if he didn’t he would face the dreaded “public opinion” as a consequence? Well, get your opinions ready, because according to Noons’ manager, Mark Dion, they aren’t concerned in the least with Shaw’s ultimatum:

“The update on [the deadline] is nothing is going to happen with it,” Dion said. “That’s what’s going to happen with that. I don’t care about how many threats [Shaw] wants to pull. We’ll be doing a press conference if EliteXC doesn’t see the light here pretty soon and if Shaw doesn’t stop talking [expletive].”

“As far as Nick Diaz, he’s not the No. 1 contender out there,” Dion said. “To [EliteXC] he is. He’s the number one (for getting) eyeballs to (watch) them. They’re pushing on eyeballs versus a career move for a champion like KJ. KJ is really not the one who gets anything out of the fight. Diaz does and so does ProElite.”

“We’ll do a press conference to discuss everything,” Dion said. “But there’s nothing in it for KJ unless [EliteXC] finally wakes up a little bit. That’s why we’ll have a press conference. I don’t like to talk and beat a company that’s already beat down. I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt. Hopefully they’ll see the light.”

Looks like the relationship between KJ Noons/Mark Dion and Elite XC/Jared Shaw just went from unfriendly to straight-up hostile. Dion just had to go and mention that Pro Elite is struggling. That’s like bringing someone’s mother into the argument. Now this thing is personal.

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Brock Lesnar Expected for UFC 91?

Brock Lesnar Frank Mir UFC MMA

According to the Pioneer Press:

Former Gophers wrestler Brock Lesnar, who is 2-1 as a mixed martial arts fighter, found out this week that Ultimate Fighting Championship would like him to compete next on a November card, but his opponent and site remain undetermined.

That November card (also known as UFC 91) will reportedly go down on 11/15 in Portland, Oregon, with a bout between Kenny Florian and Joe Stevenson likely to be on the lineup. The most prevalent rumor regarding Lesnar’s opponent is that he’ll be facing Cheick Kongo. In other UFC news…

— Anheuser-Busch has tapped Chuck Liddell and Anderson Silva as spokesmen for Bud Light. Which is kind of strange considering both of them are nearly unintelligible without a translator.

— A lightweight bout between Rich Clementi and Gray Maynard is slated for UFC 90 (October 25th, Chicago). Clementi has won his last six fights, including a submission of Anthony Johnson at UFC 76 and a decision win over Terry Etim at UFC 84. Xtreme Couture’s Gray Maynard increased his record to a perfect 5-0 with his unanimous decision over Frankie Edgar at UFC Fight Night 13 in April.

— Dana White will be appearing on A&E’s Mindfreak next Wednesday at 10 p.m. According to UFC.com: “With the use of a blindfold, a knife and a deck of cards, Criss attempts to teach UFC® President Dana White first-hand how to do a prediction of his own. Can Dana pull off a little magic with the help of the Mindfreak?”

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UFC 90 Already Nearing a Sell-Out in Chicago


(You’d be smiling too if you sold $2 million worth of tickets.)

Just a few hours after tickets for UFC 90 at Chicago’s All-State Arena went on sale, roughly 80% of them were snatched up. This means that by the time the UFC’s press conference for the event on Monday was over they’d already pulled in around $2 million in live gate money. All this for an October 25 event featuring Anderson Silva against Patrick Cote (rest his soul) and Diego Sanchez taking on Thiago Alves. It’s safe to say the UFC will be returning to Chicago frequently from now on.

Even with such early success Dana White went ahead and poured on the hyperbole at Monday’s press conference:

”This is a bold statement in a town with the White Sox and Cubs and the Bears, but I guarantee you this will be the most exciting live sporting event you have ever seen,” White said. ”I can’t explain it to you. You have to experience it.

”The closest thing that comes to it is when Mike Tyson was in his heyday. There was so much excitement about someone getting knocked out.”

After that last remark we imagine that White looked over at Cote, shrugged, and silently mouthed “Sorry!” before continuing on.

White also vowed that UFC 90 would be the highest-grossing event in the arena’s history, edging out Wrestlemania for that honor. Then they moved on to discuss Thiago Alves’ problems making weight, which we’ve all been assured won’t be a problem this time around, even though he’s currently about thirty pounds over.

In a final bit of UFC 90 news, Mike Swick is expected to be added to the card, though an opponent has not yet been named.

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Dana White Talks Failed HBO Deal with Playboy

The good people at famed gentleman’s magazine Playboy have an interview with UFC prez Dana White in their September issue (which drops Friday, August 15) and one of the more interesting nuggets to come out of it are White’s remarks on what torpedoed the HBO deal:

“I pulled the plug at the 23rd hour. HBO was pi**ed off… I would have had to sell out, literally. They would have owned the UFC… I took meetings with HBO’s boxing guys. I’ll tell you, if I had to hear one more time about how many fu**ing Emmys they had won, I was going to dive out the window. I said ‘You won a bunch of Emmys, but I’m kicking your a** on pay-per-view.”

Awesome. Do I believe Dana White actually said that to HBO executives? Not really, but it’s still a good story. As much as people criticized him for not making the HBO deal happen, you have to respect his desire to maintain his autonomy, even if it means not blowing up big time with HBO’s Emmy factory.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Dana White interview if he didn’t bash Tito Ortiz:

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