UFC 108: Is It The Card Or The Fans That Are Lackluster? Dana White Weighs In

Todd JacksonSenior Analyst IDecember 29, 2009

LONDON - JANUARY 17:  (UK TABLOID NEWSPAPERS OUT) UFC president Dana White attends the 'Octagon' private view at Hamilton's Gallery January 17, 2007 in London, England.  The exhibition showcases work by photographer Kevin Lynch documenting the world of Ultimate Fighter Championship (UFC) events.  (Photo by Claire Greenway/Getty Images)
Claire Greenway/Getty Images

In a recent interview for the Boston Herald , Dana White had some choice words for critics of the UFC and their recent necessity to restructure fight cards due to a plague of injuries.

With a card like UFC 108 that originally had a stacked and potentially explosive roster, being reduced to yet another less than compelling card for the die hard fans, the grumblings in the MMA community are growing.

Right or wrong, the perception is that because there have been top shelf names dropping off the card like flies, that the card does not posses the ability to entertain. 

In the interview White makes many comments that hold quite a bit of weight.  First, according to the Boston Herald, White had this to say:

“You get 10 (expletive) hardcores on the Internet going, ’Oh, this card (stinks), there’s no this, there’s no that.’ Then guess what: Don’t (expletive) buy the card!” White told the Herald last week. “It’s usually the ones that they’re bitching about that end up being some of the best.”

White specifically addresses the most recent card that included a LW title fight between B.J. Penn and Diego Sanchez.  A card that was a pleasant surprise in the midst of some others that may have been less than desirable to the hardcore fan. 

“What happened with the last card is people were (complaining) because the Rashad Evans-Rampage fight wasn’t happening,” White said. “Look at what happened. This is my philosophy on this, if you’re a (expletive) fight fan, we’re going to put on good fights for you.”

While the MMA community is hip to White's style of selling every card as the biggest event in UFC history, they would do well to pay attention to the words he is speaking at this time.  What White said holds twice the weight as the basic ra-ra type promotion of another fight card. 

Unlike the events that repeatedly get billed as the most important ever, at this point in time White is truly telling it like it is.  His commentary could not be more spot on.

We, the fight fans, become spoiled in our pursuit of entertainment at the hands of this sport.  We are pampered to an extent, and expect nothing short of the best every time out.  Thus far, Zuffa, Joe Silva, and White have delivered more often than not.

There will come times where the ability to produce high impact, high quality cards may be hampered by injuries, contract disputes, or even just simple lack of availability with regard to fighters.

During those times, times which may seem less than compelling, as White previously stated we get to really go back to our roots.  Roots that were taking shape when we first laid our eyes on this sport.

All fans remember the time that MMA took their back, sunk its hooks in, reached around their neck and forced them to tap to the rear naked choke that is mixed martial arts.  For some it was over a decade ago, for others maybe just this past year.  Regardless, most fight fans can pin point the moment they became fans and never looked back.

The point being, not many fight fans knew who they were watching or what was going on the first time they saw an MMA match up.  It was the combat, the fortitude, the raw yet elegant flow of control and chaos. 

There is a symphony that can be found within MMA.  A true masterpiece of mosaic styles, personalities, talent, and character permeate this sport.  That can not be overlooked by fight fans so fickle they see fit to pass judgement on the sport just because the names they want are not headlining a card.

Remember the fight people, remember what actually takes place in that cage is what compels us, not just the names on the kiosk. 

It is not every day that MMA can produce battles that grip the sport and hold it ransom until the outcome.  One thing that is proven time and time again though, is name or no name, the fight is the true gem, the combat is the essence of the sport no matter who is engaged in it.

Consider this for just half a second if you will.  When guys who live, eat, sleep, and breathe MMA want to go out for a night of fights, guess where they go?

Tuff-N-Uff Amateur Fighting Championships is your answer.  When an MMA mogul like Dana needs his MMA fix, he goes down and supports the little guy, so do Wanderlei Silva, Randy Couture, Vitor Belfort, Frank Mir, and many more.

The point is, these guys are MMA, they are our source of entertainment within the industry.  If two up and coming no name fighters are good enough to entertain them, perhaps we should not look down our nose at the world class talent the UFC has brought together to entertain us. 

No one is saying fans should not feel let down by watching what was once truly billed as one of the greatest cards possible be reduced to a card many would argue should be shown free on Spike TV. 

And lets face it, 45 bucks is 45 bucks. But keep in mind, its not just the fight card your supporting it is the sport as a whole.  It is important for the fan to remember what we are doing here.  We're here supporting this sport because we enjoy a good competition between world class combatants.
It wasn't just Dana White and the UFC that made MMA so successful, it was you fight fans, your support.  Don't pull back now just because your an expert. 

Remember this: There was a time when many of us didn't have a clue who Anderson Silva was.  Remember that when your complaining about paying to watch a guy like Paul Daley, or Junior Dos Santos.

They might be the guys your complaining about not getting to see some day, and this card may be the beginning of that journey, you may not want to miss it.