The UFC held a press conference yesterday in Portland to discuss tomorrow night’s UFC 102 card, as well as other issues related to the organization’s future. Some highlights…
– Even though the UFC already has two events slated for November — UFC 105 (11/14, Manchester) and UFC 106 (11/21, Las Vegas) — Dana White revealed that a third November show was in the works, to be headlined by the lightweight championship fight between BJ Penn and Diego Sanchez; Penn/Sanchez was originally reported as the main event for #105. And get this: White said the tentative third November event wouldn’t be broadcast on pay-per-view or Spike. Could a network TV deal be in the works? “Wait and see boys… if I can pull this one off,” White said. "We’ve never had more [network] interest than right now. Obviously, I think all the hard work we’ve done over nine years and UFC 100 had a big part in it, too. I’m pretty confident we’re gonna have a deal very, very soon. I like what I’m hearing now more than I ever did before."
– Dana White may seem determined to counter-program Strikeforce to extinction, but his hostility has nothing to do with Scott Coker. Honestly. As he told reporters, “I’m not anti-Strikeforce, I don’t dislike those guys. I dislike Showtime, that’s who I dislike. I think they’re dicks, I don’t like them. I don’t like their attitude; they think they are better than they really are…The guy over at Showtime who I’m talking about knows who he is and I dislike him very much and my beef is with him, not really Strikeforce. They sucked at boxing, they got their ass kicked by HBO always at boxing yet they tried to stay in it. They got their ass kicked by HBO in programming, but they’re still around and they’re going to get their ass kicked in mixed martial arts too, just not by HBO.”
– When asked if the UFC would be adding any more weight classes, White said “If we do any more weight classes, it’s gonna be lower, adding lighter weight classes…probably real soon." So does that mean the WEC will be folding into the UFC? “It doesn’t really mean that, but…What that means is I’ve gotta figure some shit out.” In reference to a Kevin Iole article that called Zuffa’s decision to keep the UFC and WEC separate a "grievous mistake," White said “I don’t disagree with (the) article…Even with all the things that we know how to do and the deal we have with Versus, which is a great deal, it’s still hard to make money and pay the guys what they deserve to get paid, or what they think they deserve to get paid and to run the business and make it a profitable business.”
– UFC 102 could determine the next title contenders in two divisions. "Obviously the winner of [Couture vs. Nogueira] is in the mix," White said. "These are two of the best heavyweights in the world." As for the next challenger to Anderson Silva‘s middleweight belt? "I’m trying to figure out myself to be honest with you," White said. "I think what I’m going to do is, I’m going to see what happens on Saturday, see how this fight goes between Nate and Demian, and I’ll figure it out after."