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Dana White’s gonna fix things up

Dana White just did a big two page interview with Sports Illustrated and rather than your standard interview where he blows smoke up our asses and shills his fightproduct, this one gets into some pretty interesting territory. Namely, the ‘Why have things kinda sucked over the past 6 months and what are you going to do about it’ territory.

SI.com: What’s the solution?

White: I don’t know, I don’t know. There is no solution right now. The hard part is, this company’s going through these growing pains right now as we continue to get bigger and continue to work on all the things we’re working on. For the last nine months we’ve been going a million miles an hour, working on all these other deals in the business, you know. Now, we got some things done that … I feel comfortable we’re going to start reeling this thing in and making some changes over the next three, four months.

SI.com: What are you looking at?

White: First of all, there’re things going on that I’m unhappy with, here at the company, that we’re going to fix and change over the next few months, and you’re going to see us get back on track here in the next few months. As you start to get bigger and you start to expand into all these different places, and you’re working on all these crazy deals, things start to get out of control. I’m going to get some more control around here in the next three months. And that includes my business as a whole, my actual office and employees and departments, right down to s— that’s going on with the fighters.

SI.com: So you’re talking about big developments in the next six months, and without pulling the rabbit of the hat and all that, at the end of the year, what are we going to say was the big development? What improved?

White: Everything’s going to improve. Everything’s going to change, and everything’s going to improve over the next six months. This really isn’t the conversation for right now, I’m still working on some s—. In six months, when you and I talk again, you’re going to go, “You were right, man. You were right.”

SI.com: I’ll await future developments with interest.

White: There’s one thing that you can’t deny. It’s that every year we take this thing to another level. Every year, we have literally taken this thing to another level. There’s never been a year where we’ve been like, “Yeesh, we didn’t really accomplish anything this year, and we’ve been stagnant, we’ve stayed the same, nothing has changed.” Every year, not only does this thing go to another level, but we’ve revolutionized — revolutionized! — the fight industry. Wouldn’t you say that?

SI.com: I think this is the one year where you could argue that you’ve stayed stagnant. And I don’t mean to come off as the negative questioner –

White: No, I love it, man! The year isn’t over yet, and you are wrong. And not only am I going to say that you are wrong, and that not only have we gone to another level this year, but that this will be the biggest year ever! If you look at all the things we’ve accomplished over the last 10 years, this will be the biggest year ever.

Well, right now we can see up to November and if it wasn’t for a potentially amazing October (I’ll believe it when we get there and we haven’t lost half the headlining fights to gypsy curse madness) I’d call Dana White a big ol fibber. That’s right, I said it. Fib diddly didder.

It will be interesting to see what he means about changes to the product and the way the UFC runs, though. I wonder how many of these are going to be visible to the average fan or if they boil down to better executive parking and a more comfortable throne built out of the corpses of worthless peons that have fucked things up.

I can’t disagree that things have gotten a bit stale … rather than creating an MMA masterpiece, it’s been pretty paint by numbers lately. As for how to fix it, I dunno. How about I finish this post by asking you guys what you think needs to be done? And just to sweeten the pot and give you lazy jackals some incentive to dig deep and pull out some good ideas, I’m gonna give out Fightlinker Shwaaa shirts to the three people with the best thoughts. This is a one day thing, I’ll announce the winners and share the ideas tomorrow.

  • pewnt

    Naked ring card girls.

  • Letibleu

    One cant avoid injuries during training. The rash of training related injuries that occurred in the UFC within the last 18 months I chalk up to athletes and coaches adjusting to new techniques, regiments and the redefinition of an MMA athletes limits. MMA athletes are getting better, and the coaching is also going through growth and are gaining experience. It’s in my opinion that the slew of injuries of late is a reflection of the growing pains of MMA in the gym. The more experience coaches gain pushing guys to the limit without going over that line where injuries start to occur the more we will see that injury trend start to dissipate. That line however I believe is very often blurred because of PEDS. We as fans are learning that PEDS are much more common than the ratio of fighters getting caught.

    Internal UFC random drug testing I think should become a norm. Zuffa should not wait for the commissions to act. The commissions are probably years away from adopting this mentality. Rather, the commissions would follow suit when they start to look silly because the promoter is doing more prevention than them. This would go a long way as to how hard a fighter could push and recover during training. I have a sneaking suspicion that TRT and other PEDS are responsible for athletes and coaches pushing too hard in training as of late. As I mentioned above, this is probably all part of growing a new breed of athletes and coaches. The sooner PEDS are realistically curbed, the better everyone will be. We as fans are becoming more educated about PEDS and their role in the gym. I think most of us used to think PEDS and thought big muscle body builders. We are now finding out it is more about recovery in training and being able to push the body further.

    That is my fix: Start being hard core about random drug testing. The mentality of using must be changed while it is still a young trend in MMA. Zuffa is the flagship in MMA so they have the power to do something about it.

  • glassjawsh

    i have no idea how to “fix” things because i have no idea what appeals to the casual fan because they are all morons

  • frickshun

    Here’s the fix: PUT 1 MEGA-CARD ON HBO. Yes, 1 card. Show HBO what kind of a product the UFC is w/HBO-style promotional push. That will accomplish several important goals:
    1) Demonstrate the potential to HBO that giving in to Zuffa’s demands would in fact be lucrative.
    2) Show the major networks that UFC events can be bigger than heavyweight boxing was decades ago when on the networks.
    3) Break down the current barriers of stigma attached to our beloved human cockfighting by getting HBO’s endorsement ipso facto (what does that mean, anyway?). And exposing a seriously large crowd of “Saturday night TV watchers” to the UFC.
    4) Send me a free t-shirt.

  • Letibleu

    Not a bad idea.^^

    Im still in favor of the fence being electrified and the jolt being on a randomized timer.

  • agentsmith

    ^ Make it like a farming electric fence, it only sends a jolt every few seconds.

  • CAP

    First of all, that fucker who never has coffee ready for Dana in the morning is FIRED.

    This sounds like a lot of internal issues that need to get worked out. The Strikeforce takeover still needs ironing out. They probably need to restructure a little to get the staff organized correctly for future plans.

    I think (and hope) that the future plans involve turning SF into a UFC “Challengers” league. Where up and comers can gain experience and prove themselves. Fighters on the decline can also migrate there to challenge new prospects as long as their egos allow. High level lucrative options outside of Zuffa are scarce these days.

    Of course a network TV deal would be huge. For them and the fans. Once it is in everyones face and not at a $50 premium the mainstream will latch on and business will boom even more.

  • Morghen

    LB got one of mine. It might not appeal a bunch to the casual fan, but locking down the PED problem will go a long way toward broader acceptance of MMA in the North American sports scene. It’s not something that is going to make people shit themselves the way adding steel cage matches would, but it’s a big step. DW said something a long time ago about John McCain saving MMA, something about how without regulation MMA would’ve ended up in back yards and the back rooms of bars. I’ll put it this way: “You can’t flip a house if it’s got a cracked foundation.” It’s not sexy, but it is a necessity.

    Idea 2: A minor-league system for last-fight-before-retirement guys/legends-who-can’t-hack-it-anymore and prospects/Stefan Struve. The UFC hosts events in Atlanta, Vegas, DFW, etc. Make it so Strikeforce events are held in smaller cities with cheaper ticket prices. I’ve been to regional shows, and they mostly suck. Half the guys miss weight by 10 pounds, half the guys look lost on the ground, and I’m trying to see around some bitch sitting on her boyfriends’ shoulders because the venue is standing-room-only. UFC events cost $250 for tickets in the fucking rafters and 75% of ‘em are in Vegas. Make Strikeforce tickets start at $30 for the nosebleed seats and Zuffa will still pack the place. The profits won’t be as huge, but you’ll be protecting your prospects and giving 2012’s Chuck Liddell some place he won’t get killed. Have ‘em once a month when the UFC has a gap. Another plus is that you have the added bonus of not needing a huge push to get your brand-recognition off the ground. Strikeforce is familiar to the mid- to high-level fans as it is.

    Idea 3: Events on Network TV. A small 2-3 event contract (with an option for more) that lets one of the big 4 networks stick a toe in the water to see if they can sell human cockfighting to advertisers. The crap that we’ve seen on the networks up to this point has been a terrible product, but it’s been long enough that I think they’re willing to try again.

    Idea 4: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pmRAiUPdRjk

  • frickshun

    For those that say the the “PED” issue is holding our sport back, it has absolutely nothing to do w/that. Of the dozens of people I’ve spoken to (friends, family, co-workers, old people), their only point of contention is the perceived “brutality”. Of course the top plays of the week during football season always seem to include some horrific concussion-inducing tackle where someone’s helmet fucking flies off.

    I’ve literally never heard a non-fan say to me “I don’t watch it b/c they’re all using PEDs.” If that was the case, I could easily counter with “EVERY FUCKING PROFESSIONAL LEAGUE IS RIFE W/JUICERS.”

  • lukustra

    best thing for mma, or at least the UFC, would be to change to 5 3-minute rounds as a standard mma fight. this would not only allow for better judging, as it would allow for the judges to focus more on the significant moments of the round as well as more rounds in case there is a very close round in which neither fighter really stood out but it would also allow for more finishes. fighters would get more breaks which would allow them to release a little more power instead of fearing gassing for half the round. more 1 minute breaks would also allow fighters to catch their breath as well as chat with their coaches more often. finally it would allow for shorter rounds where a fighter spends the round on his back trying to stand up. instead of struggling to stand up for 5 minutes and wasting a ton of energy because a round can easily cost the superior fighter a fight, a fighter might decide to spend a round on his back tireing out the top fighter without the possibility of costing the fighter the whole fight. i think this would be a signifcant change in mma that wouldnt alter how fighters currently train as fight lenght would remain the same, but would alter how mma is judged as well as improve the watchability of perticular fights.

  • Morghen

    I just realized that Cap used his psychic powers to ninja my whole fucking post.

    Dick.

  • Letibleu

    Morghen, to be clear:

    Your ideas are already taken between Cap and I.

    So your only official submission is “two men enter, one man leaves” and the sequel “two men enter, one man comes”.

  • fightlinker

    Not bad ideas. I have my own and they haven’t been listed, but i’m gonna keep my mouth shut til tommorow, partly to save em for a post and partly because i’m wondering if any of you will suggest them too. Or maybe i’m just CRAZY

  • CAP

    Sniped! Great idea Morghen, just a lil slow getting there.

    Interesting lukustra. Seems like a lot of breaks though but it should help the action. But it also seems unlikely that the “unified rules” are going to change any time soon with the boxing commish involved.

  • frickshun

    Lukustra–>are you essentially saying that MMA is about striking, not grappling? Cuz you sure are pushing for stand-ups. Rather than stand-up & jits guys learning rasslin, I guess we should just skew the rules to favor them, huh!!

  • Shibo

    Tournaments. It’s time for GSP and/or Anderson Silva to move up. 16 man tourney for a belt. Zuffa picks 14 guys, Anderson/GSP get to pick the other 2, who zuffa signs up for the tourney and agrees to retain should they win the belts. UFC commits to at least one tourney a year for at least one belt, with the winner getting a title shot either at the end of the year bonanza or the super bowl show. If there’s a vacant title for any reason from now on, tourney winner gets it. 

  • Shibo

    Fighters who win via KO are allowed to quickly climb to the top of the cage and deliver a flying elbow drop, legdrop, or a splash if they can pull it off before the guy wakes up.

  • DJ ThunderElbows

    Wedding bonuses for guys who marry female athletes.  “Cigar” bonuses for each child they breed.

    Try and get guys already on the roster onto TUF for a shitle tot.  There’s so many guys nowadays that it is actually a viable marketing method even for those on the roster.  Plus shitle tot.

  • Symbul

    Cut Goldberg #1.

    Refresh PPV production #2. No need to reinvent the wheel here but Face the Pain, Gladiator Man and their entire pre-fight promo package bullshit is terrible. Keep Gladiator Man and Face the Pain if they have to but at least cut Goldberg and come up with a new style for between-fight montages.

    Cut Goldberg #3.

    Rules changes #4. Knees to the head on the ground would compromise a lot of the stalling positions wrestlers get into while fishing for takedowns and add more V to the groundgame. The distinction between standing and downed strikes is pretty arbitrary. 12-6 elbows are even more arbitrary and silly. More, shorter rounds are an idea worth exploring too although I’m not totally convinced they’d be good. Finally, clearing up the rules for referees pausing the action would help. There’s often confusion about eye pokes, cutting Goldberg, groin strikes and such.

    Alright that’s enough fantasy for one comment.

  • lukustra

    thats not what im implying at all, the main reason for the switch would be to (somewhat) better judging in close fights rather then switching to a whole new judging criteria/testing every judge. as far as the standup aspect of mma, its obviously something casual fans enjoy more, however I personally don’t mind watching a beautiful grapple fest. what im suggesting however is that it would slightly benefit a standup fighter to get a free restart/more time to finish a fight standing or even win a decision. mma heavily favors wrestlers as it is, this would allow a few more chances for people fighting someone like Fitch, and I think would have given Rick Story a better chance at beating Charlie.

  • Morghen

    MOAR.

    1. Losers blows the winner
    2. Losers blows me.
    3. Stronger international divisions of Zuffa. Europe and South America are prolly already cleaned out, but Africa and Russia are still kinda the wilderness of MMA. Or maybe Blanka’s hiding down there.
    4. An Open system like golf has. You win your qualifier, you move on. You win your local, you move on. You win your regional, you move on. And eventually, some lucky hometown hero ends up getting his head broke by a 13-8 UFC nobody.
    5. Return of the One-Night Tournament.

  • First National Dank

    1. Like someone before me said, cut Goldberg. Get rogan to become play-by-play and insert a retired guy (Couture maybe) to do color.

    2. More free shows where winners get title shots. It’s hard for the casuals to give a shit about someone challenging Silva or GSP if they have zero name-recognition. It’s why BROCK LESNARRRRR!!!! Is such a a huge draw: he was Pro-Wrasslin and those inbred retards saw him twice a week.

    3. Make those fucking Canadians spell “Metre” and “Centre” Meter and Center. You don’t spell quiter as “quitre” do you?

    4. BRING BACK NATASHA!

  • iamphoenix

    i sent ryan fightliner some pictures of me frolicking in my backyard, naked…totally had “I <3 RYAN FIGHTLINKER” written right above my wiener.

    on a more boring note, i agree with getting rid of the gladiator intro and music. they also need to get rid of TUF, because i dont see how that helps them at all. just sign dudes.

  • Morghen

    That’s a crazy coincidence. I totally had “I <3 RYAN FIGHTLINKER” written down the top half of my wiener.

    If TUF is profitable, they’re going to keep it. On the other hand, I’m not crazy about the coaches being actual UFC fighters. 1) They’re sidelined for sixth months. If the coach is anybody relevant, that holds shit up pretty badly. 2) What the fuck is Brock Lesnar doing coaching anything other than a wrestling clinic?

  • Shibo

    Well, to be fair, more people will tune in for “TUF: Lesnar Vs. Dos Santos” than “TUF: Mark Delagrotte vs. Master Thong”. Gotta have the best name recognition possible.

  • G Funk

    “SI.com: I think this is the one year where you could argue that you’ve stayed stagnant”

    Really SI interviewer? Really? Let’s see umm, this year they merged the WEC into the UFC & purchased their biggest only competitor. Stagnant year indeed…

  • lukustra

    yeah si was kinda tripping balls on that one. zuffa did way more shit this year then they did in years past. new weight classes, new company, new channel, facebook/youtube, def did a lot of stuff this year to make mma more mainstream.

  • fightlinker

    Yeah but aside from the Toronto show it’s been kinda flat in the one area we should really give a shit about: the amount of amazing fights being put on.

    Of course you have to specify as in “Big superfight style fights that deliver” rather than shitty backups that end up being awesome. Yeah, some of the best cards have been the ones ravaged by injuries but goddamnit, where’s all the crazy hype major fights, huh???

  • Dave_S

    He sounds like he is really concerned and wants to do the right thing to make some changes that will make things better. I appreciate how he admitted that he does not know that the solution is.

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  • frickshun

    ^^That the solution is…….WHAT?!

  • Luis

    He seems a very strong man and very responsible. I like people who wanna make things better. I appreciate him.

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  • Gaby Gaby

    That’s the man we need to represent us. Go man, go !

     
     
     
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