MMA Fighting caught up with Dana White last night in Rio after UFC 153 to dig into topics not fully explored during the post fight presser and the Prez had some interesting things to say. The most ear-catching thing for us came near the end of the interview when White said that the UFC was hoping to have suspended heavyweight Alistair Overeem fight for the title against the winner of Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos as soon as he was cleared to.
Overeem came to the UFC in late 2011 and earned a title shot after stopping former champion Brock Lesnar in the first round. This, of course, came after he led the Nevada State Athletic Commission on an international goose chase as they tried to get him to complete his pre fight drug tests.
Then as he was nearing his next fight, Alistair tried to run out on a random drug test conducted by the commission and then, when he ultimately did take it, failed. As a result, he’s currently suspended.
Whatever your opinion on the complex issue of performance enhancing drugs in sports and Alistair’s case in particular, it is notable that the UFC has apparently decided not to set a larger statement about how they do or do not push athletes who have repeatedly had issues with athletic commission testing. The UFC’s stance, at least when it comes to the marketable Overeem, seems to be that once his suspension is over he would have served his time and is entitled to the title shot he earned nearly a year ago. Or at least that they are entitled to the main event that they already invested so heavily in themselves before he messed it up.
On the note of the UFC defending embattled fighters, White also told MMA Fighting that he had no regrets about defending lightweight Jeremy Stephens so staunchly. White rightly said that, one way or the other, Stephens’ case will be decided in court and that all he was trying to do was get him bailed out in order to make his living as the fighter awaited his day in court.
White was reluctant to speak about Strikeforce, but he did call it a mess. This portion of the interview is alla bout reading between the lines and speculation, at least until folks get answers from Lorenzo Fertita, who White basically said should get all the questions about the messy Strikeforce situation.
The UFC President also touches on his coming surgery and Eddie Alvarez. Its a good one so check it out above.