Dana White appeared on Australian news program “The Project” Tuesday to promote UFC Fight Night 142 and UFC 234, an event which had its main event officially announced yesterday and will feature Australian-based Robert Whittaker defending his middleweight championship against Kelvin Gastelum.
However, not unlike White’s appearances on mainstream networks in the States when promoting an upcoming event, other topics were brought up, including a media favorite: the infamous Conor McGregor bus attack leading into UFC 223. But this time, the tenor of the conversation was not that of inquiry, but of accusation, and things would turn combative. (Transcript via Sherdog.com):
UFC president @DanaWhite shares a big Aussie announcement, explains why the bus incident wasn’t good for business and discusses the evolution of the sport. #UFC234 #TheProjectTV pic.twitter.com/mA1Qysc6KN
— The Project (@theprojecttv) November 13, 2018
“Alright Dana, I need you to level with me… we’re talking Conor McGregor, we’re talking Nurmagomedov and that whole saga,” Aly said. “There’s the bus incident where McGregor attacks a bus full of fighters, you get really upset about that. Then there’s the incident after the fight where Nurmagomedov’s blokes come into the ring and there’s a scuffle after the fight. At that time you were livid about this.
“I’m calling this,” Aly continued. “I can see a smirk on your face as you say this, I don’t know if there have been any real punishments handed out to these guys, if they have a big price they’ve paid, but let’s be totally honest, let’s be real … you love this stuff, it’s great for promotions, right?”
In his response, Dana White disputed the fact that the promotion is good for business.
“They’re actually coming after me for the promotion of the fight, so it was a bad night and believe me everybody asks me this question,” White said. “You know, ‘This happened and it was bad, but it’s good for your business.’ It’s really not good for business when things like that happen. We don’t need that type of stuff to sell a fight.”
Aly would then question the placement of the cameras which captured the full attack if the event was not staged:
“You don’t suspend them, you don’t do anything,” Aly said. “In the bus situation where McGregor’s attacking that bus, there’s high def cameras ready to capture it so the vision is great. It just looks like you’re all over this.”
Dana White would offer his counter to Aly’s accusation, citing “UFC Embedded” as the cause for the presence of cameras, and did so with an ascended and aggravated tone of voice:
“We do a show called ‘UFC Embedded’ where we follow the fighters around, so those cameras were there when that happened because of that.
“But do you understand, [McGregor] got arrested… he went to jail! He had to go before the New York Attorney-General. So they already took care of it, what am I going to do? What’s a suspension going to do? He was suspended, he couldn’t fight because he was in jail!”
Still not backing down, Aly would then demand more transparency from the UFC President:
“I get it, the state suspended him and you said, ‘Come back and fight again,’ that’s what happened,” Aly said. “If that’s what you want to do, great, I’m not necessarily criticizing, I just want you to level with us and just say this is the way it is.”
White’s rebuttal boiled down to the fact that the UFC is overseen by the Nevada State Athletic Commission and that what they say goes:
“I’m leveling, that’s what I do. I put on fights. This guy was arrested, he was down there because we were supposed to be talking about a fight he was going to be in, he came and attacked a bus and got arrested and went to jail.
“Now we’re overseen by the NSAC, so these guys can’t fight. They’re both on suspension, they’re going to get fined a certain amount of money. Whatever that number is that they suggest and then there’s going to be a suspension held out.
“That’s what Nevada does, they govern us. So what else am I going to do? Suspend them for another year? It doesn’t make sense.”
What are your thoughts on this back-and-forth between Dana White and Waleed Aly?