As fighters prepare to vie for a UFC contract hours from now on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, one story from last week has continued to linger, and that is Dana White’s controversial decision not to offer a contract to Brendan Loughnane following his strong performance. It isn’t so much the decision that has left many with a bad taste in their mouths, but rather the reason provided: Loughnane shooting for a takedown in the final 10 seconds of a fight.
One of the takeaways from that explanation is that Dana White is only looking for guys who go for the finish from bell to bell. In a recent interview with ESPN, Dana White rejected this reductionism:
“It’s not even go for the finish,” White said. “You got 10 seconds left in the fight. Show us you want to win. Show us how bad you want it. There’s no question what this show is about. This isn’t Saturday Night Fights and you’re in the UFC….this is: I’m there. We’re watching. And we want to see what you got. You don’t double leg when the 10-second thing claps. That’s not what I’m looking for.”
Dana White insists that he is aware of the positive attributes Loughane possesses, but even though he got the victory and put on a great show, it was just not his night.
“This guy is talented,” White said. “He’s a good fighter. He put on a good fight. He’s not what I was looking for. He’s not what I was looking for that night. Period, end of story
“And if I’m wrong, he’s a free agent. Everybody can sign him. He was on our show, show does great, does good numbers. He’s available. If I’m wrong, somebody else can pick him up and, according to the people who are complaining about it, it must be a big score. So go for it.
Dana White concluded by giving an example of what he was looking for on this particular night in contrast to what he saw from Loughnane both in those infamous final 10 seconds and even in the post-fight interview:
“I don’t want to sound negative towards the kid. He’s a great kid,” White said. “I love his story. He’s a tough kid. And he definitely put on a good fight against a tough guy. And even in his interview, to be honest with you…in his interview afterwards, he was like, ‘Eh, I fought a tough guy. This guy’s tough, and eh, eh, eh,’ you know? Then I got (Punahele Soriano), who’s swinging with everything he’s got to win this fight by knockout, trying to finish the fight, and then at the end of the fight, he cries because he didn’t finish the fight.
“I’ll go with that guy. That’s the guy I’m looking for.”
What’s your take on Dana White’s explanation behind not offering Brendan Loughnane a UFC contract?