When Ariel Helwani showed up at UFC headquarters over the weekend, he and Dana White didn’t just talk about the company’s surprise purchase of Strikeforce or the impending dissolution of the Jones-Evans bromance, they touched on a number of juicy topics, including exactly how White planned to punish Michael Bisping for conduct unbefitting an Englishman at UFC 127. Turns out, he already has … or at least he says he has. Hard to tell really, since White refuses to get into specifics.
All we know is that in the wake of Bisping blasting Rivera with an illegal knee and then spitting at/on one of Rivera’s corner men following their grudge match, White says the British toolbox “didn’t get a bonus.” We assume that he doesn’t mean the ol’ run-of-the-mill, FOTN-KOTN-SOTN bonuses either, instead referring to the long-rumored, under-the-table bonuses that are sometimes alleged to make up the bulk of a UFC fighter’s pay. So, yeah, that seems … vague. Whatever he did though, White assures us it was a pretty big deal.
In addition to losing the bonus, nothing will apparently happen to Bisping. Instead, White continued to do the same song and dance he does whenever someone implies the UFC should take a more proactive role in disciplining its own fighters: He acted totally cowed by the Awesome Power of our state athletic commissions. Check it out, after the jump.
“At the end of the day, I’m not the athletic commission,” White tells Helwani. “The athletic commissions are the ones who impose fines and do all these other things. What I did to Michael Bisping – and not a lot of people really know – but the fighters who fight for me know exactly what I’m saying when I say this: Mike Bisping didn’t get a bonus. He was not bonused for his fight and, believe me, that hurts worse than anything else anybody could have done.”
Credit Helwani for following up a few moments later with queries about further punishment for Bisping, which led to this exchange:
Helwani: Will you suspend him?
White: No, I can’t suspend him. The athletic commission does that.
Helwani: No, but like Chael Sonnen. The UFC suspended him.
White: Well … listen … What we did with Chael Sonnen is, I talked to Chael Sonnen (and) Chael Sonnen said, ‘If I don’t fight for the UFC, I don’t want to fight anywhere else. So, if you could not cut me …’
Helwani: Did you consider cutting him?
White: Yeah, (I told him) ‘We basically freeze your contract. Your contract is frozen until you get your personal life together.’
So, just to review: The UFC can’t fine its fighters – that’s the state athletic commission’s job – but it can deprive them of monetary gains by denying them these shadowy “bonuses” we’re always hearing about. Don’t know about you, but to us that suspiciously like, you know, a fine. Also, the UFC can’t suspend its fighters – again, the state has to handle that – but it can freeze their contracts for apparently indefinite periods. Weird, right?
Maybe the weirdest part is White’s continued implication that he “can’t” take disciplinary action against his own fighters because he would somehow be stepping on the toes of the state athletic commissions. Obviously, that’s utter horeshit. Given what we know about the draconian nature of UFC contracts, the company would be well within its rights to suspend, fine, fire, pillory, hang, draw or quarter any of its fighters at any time and the commissions probably wouldn’t say word one. Hell, the state athletic commissions would probably be pleased, if they even noticed at all.
But we digress. White sounded skeptical about the possibility of a rematch between Rivera and Bisping, saying the only thing controversial about the outcome of the fight was “the way Bisping carried himself.” He also says that Bisping didn’t even try to lay any of his half-assed excuses about the knee being unintentional and the spitting being somewhat accidental when the boss called up to read him the riot act.
“He didn’t even go there with me, because I disagree on both of those,” White says. “I think the knee was intentional and I think he absolutely meant to spit on that guy. I’ve never accidentally spit on anybody, you know what I mean? Ever. Have you?”
Note that White doesn’t say he’s never spit on anyone, just that every time he has spit on someone, he knew what he was doing.