Never let it be said that Dana White doesn't listen to the fans.
Well, the fans on Twitter, anyway. For some reason, White considers Twitter a separate portion of the internet. To him, it's not the same as visiting The Underground or any of the dozens of digital domains where hardcore MMA geeks reside.
This is ludicrous, of course. But that's okay, because Twitter still provides you, the average mixed martial arts fan, with a way to voice your opinion that will most definitely be heard by the UFC President.
Witness the recent Tim Sylvia signing-and-then-non-signing by Strikeforce. According to sources close to the situation, that was a deal killed entirely by fan backlash to the news on Twitter. News of Sylvia's signing leaked out, the fans reacted in great volume on Twitter and White put the kibosh on the whole deal before it could be completed.
And now, we have yet another example of Twitter's power. Remember yesterday when White announced, much to the confusion of everyone in the entire world, that the winner of Saturday's UFC on FOX bout between Mauricio Rua and Brandon Vera was going to receive the next shot at the light heavyweight title?
Well, that's over. And you can once again blame—or thank, depending on your point of view—Twitter for the change. From MMAJunkie.com:
"Whoever wins the most impressively on Saturday night gets the shot at the title," White said.
White's decision comes after a rash of fan backlash following his original announcement. UFC's social-media-savvy fanbase immediately took to Twitter to protest the decision while citing Rua's recent losses to both current champion Jon Jones and the champ's UFC 151 opponent, Dan Henderson – as well as Vera's current run of just one win in four appearances – as reasons why the bout did not deserve to be considered a No. 1 contender's contest.
White said he listened to the complaints, and he's making a change.
"I put together the fights that fans want to see," White said. "The fans didn't like the Rua and Vera choice, so here it is: The guy that wins most impressively on Saturday night out of the co-main event and the main event will get the shot at the winner of Jon Jones vs. Dan Henderson."
Sure, this sucks for Vera. But let's do some real talk for a second: Vera shouldn't be in consideration for a title shot here anyway. Even if he pulls off the craziest and most violent knockout in UFC history—think Anderson Silva footing Vitor Belfort's chin through the roof—Vera should still, by all logical standards, be at least two fights from getting into the title picture.
With this new setup, he still has a chance.
And in reality, his goal shouldn't change in the slightest. Each of these four men should have been going out looking for an utterly dominant win and a great performance in the first place, because we all know how these types of proclamations can change on the fly.
Just witness the past 24 hours for a perfect example.