(Warning: The Danascowl has appeared. Brace for impact. / Photo via Getty)
By Mike Fagan
They say pimping ain’t easy, and that’s probably true for promoting too. (There’s a whole host of other uncomfortable comparisons to be made between the two professions as well.) Pimping is probably a lot harder when you constantly denigrate your talent. “Yeah, Mary? She makes a weird squealing noise when you bang her. But hey, it’s your money.” Yet, that’s exactly what UFC president Dana White does. Here are the top ten instances of Dana White burying his own fighters.
Honorable Mention: Antonio Silva
The UFC buried him. Literally.
10. (Tie) Kenny Florian and Nate Marquardt
Kenny Florian and Nate Marquardt are two very different people. Where Florian is a suave, dark-haired Massachusetts lifer, Marquardt is a ginger mountain man who made sure to list himself first and foremost as a Christian on his Twitter bio. They have one thing in common though: Dana White called them both chokers.
Nate Marquardt lost a close fight to Yushin Okami at UFC 122. Okami was 9-2 in the UFC heading into the fight, and would go on to fight Anderson Silva for the title in his next appearance. That didn’t stop Dana White from calling Marquardt a choker and blasting the Greg Jackson-led corner (more on him in a bit!) for telling Marquardt he was leading on points.
As for Florian, White said he didn’t want to “take anything away from Gray Maynard” and wasn’t “bad-mouthing” or “trying to disrespect” Florian after UFC 118. But that’s exactly what he did when he said Florian “chokes in big fights” before reducing his performance to standing and staring at Maynard. Florian’s five UFC losses came to Diego Sanchez, Sean Sherk, B.J. Penn, Maynard, and Jose Aldo — all champions or title challengers. Maybe, just maybe, the overachieving Florian just wasn’t on their level?
9. Jose Aldo
Jose Aldo is undefeated in 14 fights under the Zuffa banner. He’s lost a single fight in his career, submitting to a rear-naked choke in his eighth pro bout less than two years after his debut. He’s been very good for a very long time. Yet, Dana White couldn’t help himself after Aldo took a wide decision over Ricardo Lamas at UFC 169:
“The thing about Jose Aldo that drives me crazy is the kid has all the talent in the world. He’s explosive, fast. He can do anything but he just lays back and doesn’t let anything go.
“When you talk about being the pound-for-pound best in the world, you can’t go five rounds with guys that it looks like you can defeat them in the second round. That’s what Aldo has a habit of doing.”
Jose Aldo fights Chad Mendes in two weeks at UFC 179. This is what happened the last time Aldo met Mendes.
8. Josh Koscheck
Josh Koscheck, for all intents and purposes, is a UFC lifer. After two fights outside the UFC, Koscheck joined the inaugural Ultimate Fighter cast and made his real deal UFC debut in April 2005. He’s fought every single one of his next 23 pro fights in the UFC, amassing a 15-8 record inside the Octagon against the top fighters at 170 pounds.
How does Dana White reward this kind of loyalty?
“It’s not like me and Koscheck are buddies…I think Koscheck is as much of a dick as anyone else does. We have no beef. It’s — he’s not a team player.”
Yeah, the guy who fought Thiago Alves and Anthony Johnson on short notice (and, later, Matt Hughes) is not a team player.
7. Alistair Overeem
On the UFC 169 undercard, Alistair Overeem met former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir. Overeem outstruck Mir 139 to 5 en route to a unanimous decision. (A decision that saw zero 10-8 rounds handed out because we can’t have nice things in MMA.) Dana White gave Overeem a thumbs down and called it a “crappy performance.” Whatever you say, Commodus.
6. Nate Diaz
Unhappy with the terms of his contract, Nate Diaz held out most of 2014. I mean, hey, it worked out famously for his brother, who wound up with a three-fight extension and a fight against Anderson Silva. Nate quietly ended his holdout a few weeks ago, and what did he receive? No new contract, and Dana White labeling him as someone who “doesn’t move the needle.” So, the UFC matched him up with some schlub and put him on the Fight Pass prelims, right? Oh, no no, my friend. Nate Diaz, prohibitor of needle moving, gets a top-five opponent in Rafael dos Anjos in a featured bout on Big Fox.
5. Jon Fitch
Let’s be honest: Jon Fitch doesn’t have the best reputation among fans. Between 2005 and 2010, the only thing more secure than Fitch’s spot near the top of the welterweight rankings was the inevitable fan backlash about his “boring” style every time he fought. But, you know, it’s probably in a promoter’s best interest not to feed that perception. Yet, here’s Dana White ahead of UFC 141 in 2011:
“You hear the same thing from everybody about Jon Fitch: ‘If I want to get to sleep and I can’t get to sleep at night, I’ll put in a Jon Fitch fight.’ … [F]ind one person that will tell you they love a Jon Fitch fight, it’s the most exciting thing they’ve ever seen and they just get so excited for it.”
And we were surprised this guy cut Fitch after he went 1-2 in his next three fights.