As is to be expected in a sport where two men literally fight each other, mixed martial arts has its fair share of colorful personalities. But perhaps no one involved in the sport has ever been more in the limelight than UFC President Dana White, who has created a reputation for himself as being not only one of the most honest, but also one of the most foul-mouthed businesspeople on the planet.
White’s personality is a strong one, which demands respect. But he also holds those around him to a high standard of integrity. Many of those who lived up to the expectations the UFC president set for them have become celebrities (and some even millionaires), but those who have crossed the boss have found themselves feeling like a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest.
Throughout his tenure, White has gone through some serious wars despite the fact that he has never climbed inside the Octagon. Sometimes the best battles happen outside the cage, though, and these 50 individuals have learned the hard way that pissing off Dana White is not the wisest decision they have ever made.
(Note: these are not in any specific order)
Getting things started is former UFC fighter Paul Daley, who came to the organization as one of the most hyped fighters across the pond in England.
Daley quickly moved to 2-0 in the organization before he was put up against consensus top welterweight Josh Koscheck at UFC 113. On that night, Daley’s entire MMA career would change.
Koscheck grinded out a decision against Daley, using his wrestling to hold the striker to the ground, where he reportedly said some rather unsavory things to his opponent.
But Daley’s reaction is what cost him in the end as he sucker-punched Koscheck way after the bell, causing White to publicly fire him immediately after the event.
“He’s done,” White bluntly told the media that night. “I don’t give a s--- if he’s the best 170-pounder in the world. He’ll never come back.”
So far, Dana has stuck to that statement, and Daley has been fighting in other organizations ever since, likely for far less money than he could’ve received if he would’ve just done what he learned as a child and kept his hands to himself after the bell.
Sometimes, reporters get in the way of sports organizations doing things. Sometimes they reveal things that said organizations would prefer to keep quiet. And sometimes, they piss people off so badly that they get completely black-balled from everything.
That’s what happened to Josh Gross.
Gross and White’s back-and-forth battles over the years have been about everything from steroids to Gross spoiling results of the reality TV series The Ultimate Fighter. Gross even recently (albeit vaguely) accused White of intentionally setting up the re-ordering of the UFC 137 fight card involving Georges St-Pierre, Nick Diaz, Carlos Condit and BJ Penn.
“You are the biggest idiot I have ever met in this industry,” White famously announced on The Underground Forum. “I don't know if anyone has ever seen Josh Gross but the guy has never done anything athletic in his entire life. And you only have to see Jeff Sherwood and his staff to know the same thing about them.”
UFC 100 was arguably the biggest event in the history of not only the UFC, but mixed martial arts as a whole. The main event featured heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar as he defended his title in a rematch against Frank Mir.
Lesnar won the fight in dominating fashion, but it was his post-fight interview that sparked a ton of controversy.
Bud Light was a major sponsor for the UFC at the time, and Lesnar felt slighted that the company was not directly paying him. In his post-fight interview, Lesnar announced that he was going to, “Drink a Coors Light, because Bud Light won’t pay me.”
Directly bashing sponsors, obviously, was not taken lightly as he reportedly got in the champion’s face about the incident after the event. This was evident in the post-fight press conference when Lesnar’s tune had completely changed.
With a Bud Light in front of him, Lesnar spoke candidly.
“Dana came in and, we had a ‘whip the dog’ session,” the champion admitted. “I screwed up and I apologize.”
This one blew over quickly, but it would’ve been interesting to be on fly on the wall while Dana fearlessly yelled at a guy who just minutes ago beat another world-class fighter into a bloody pulp.
Attention UFC fighters: Are you looking for a sure-fire way to lose your job? Well, your answer is here! Just try failing your prefight drug tests due to elevated testosterone levels!
Testosterone replacement therapy is legal, but fighter testosterone levels must return to normal levels prior to their fights. Nate Marquardt failed to properly go about his therapy and ended up missing out on his scheduled fight against Rick Story earlier this summer.
“I think it’s pretty clear to the fans and everyone else that I’m pretty disgusted with Nate Marquardt,” Dana White told Versus network. “He’s been cut from the UFC. He won’t fight in the UFC ever again.”
Again, White has stuck to his word on this one.
Former backyard brawler Kimbo Slice was set to fight Ken Shamrock at "EliteXC: Heat," but Shamrock had to back out of the fight at the last minute due to a cut he received in prefight sparring.
In stepped Seth Petruzelli, a fighter who normally competes at light heavyweight, a last-minute replacement to fight EliteXC’s heavyweight star Kimbo Slice.
The fight itself was controversial due to the weight differences, but what was worse is that it was later revealed that Petruzelli was essentially told that he had to keep the fight standing against the former backyard brawler. Obviously, this was an attempt to get another knockout for Slice, who had become a cultural phenomenon.
Of course, we now know that Petruzelli shattered the company’s dreams by knocking out Slice just seconds into the bout. Still, the damage was done, and Dana White was not happy that the company was paying fighters to fight in certain ways.
“That’s f---ing illegal,” White famously exclaimed.
American Kickboxing Academy teammates Jon Fitch and Josh Koscheck have long been two of the top welterweights in the UFC. Each fighter has earned a shot at champion Georges St-Pierre, but neither has been able to dethrone the current 170-pound kingpin.
Still, both fighters have publicly spoken about their desires to get title shots after impressive performances against other opponents. Unfortunately, the two teammates flat-out refuse to fight one another to help determine who should actually be ranked higher.
Fitch and White had somewhat of a back-and-forth about this very situation at the UFC 111 post-event press conference, with White admitting that he’s tired of seeing guys from the same camp refuse to fight one another and that he wants to see a fight between Kos and Fitch.
Fitch laughed it off while basically stating that the fight will never happen. Not surprisingly, he hasn’t been given a title shot since.
The Ultimate Fighter series has been one of the greatest things that has ever happened for mixed martial arts. Not only has it brought some of the top talents currently competing in the UFC, but the series can also be largely credited for the explosion that the sport saw in the late part of the past decade.
But even the massive success that TUF has had hasn’t kept the UFC president from voicing his displeasure for certain competitors.
Numerous fighters including Gabe Ruediger, Andy Wang and Jesse Taylor have been kicked off of the show for various reasons including not making weight and having complete meltdowns outside of the house.
Needless to say, Dana has gone on numerous tirades on the show and even berated The Ultimate Fighter 10 winner Roy Nelson publicly after Nelson claimed that Kimbo Slice received special treatment on the show.
Lyoto Machida is a former UFC light heavyweight champion and has earned his place as one of the division’s elite. However, his placement might have dropped after he reportedly asked for “Anderson Silva money” to fight Rashad Evans on short notice, as Evans’ scheduled opponent, Phil Davis, had to drop out of the fight with a knee injury.
According to White, Machida had accepted the fight, then later demanded the increase in pay for his inconvenience.
Obviously, this upset the often-volatile White who declined to pay that much and instead turned to one of his nemeses, Tito Ortiz, who happily accepted the fight.
One of the most long-standing rivalries in mixed martial arts has been Dana White’s rivalry with long-time Pride champion Fedor Emelianenko and his management team at M-1 Global.
It was an obsession of White’s to get Fedor signed in the UFC, and he had numerous opportunities to do so after the collapse of Pride. However, according to White, Emelianenko’s management team at M-1 Global was nearly impossible to work with and simply did not want their fighter to compete against the best in the world in the UFC.
“He got offered a f---ing ass-load of money, a ton of money, everything that he wanted—he could go fight in Sambo every f---ing Thursday night if he wants to,” White told the media on a conference call in 2009. “I’ve put my money where my mouth was, laid everything out and tried to make this thing happen and they’re coming up with unrealistic sh--. This guy doesn’t want to fight the best in the world.”
Boxing promoter Bob Arum recently upset Dana White when he publicly cried out that the UFC’s purchase of Strikeforce might somehow violate United States anti-trust laws.
Being an (albeit indirect) competitor of the UFC’s, of course it would make sense for Arum to try to bash what the UFC is doing. Unfortunately for him, White dropped some serious knowledge on everyone when he responded to the allegations.
“Bob Arum is copying everything we do,” White bluntly stated in an interview with MMA Fighting. “Bob, you weren’t smart enough to do this. You weren’t smart enough to do what we did to buy a company like this and basically change the fight industry forever. Now you’re crying ‘anti-trust?’ You guys sound like a bunch of crybabies.”
With all of the heat that has happened between Dana White and former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz over the years, it only makes sense that Tito’s outspoken girlfriend, former adult film star Jenna Jameson, would have also gotten herself involved.
A war of words began on Twitter when Jameson told White that he should stop “ragging on Tito not being liked,” and that “you pay him a fortune.”
In classic Dana White fashion, he simply responded, “hey jenna SHUT THE F*** UP and mind ur biz!”
He then added, in another tweet directed at Ortiz himself, “put her on a f---in leash!!!”
Jenna Jameson on a leash? Yeah, I think I’ve seen that one before...
Certain MMA websites and publications have angered Dana White in the past, but perhaps none made him more angry than when CagePotato.com’s Ben Goldstein linked to leaked photos of UFC ring girl Arianny Celeste’s Playboy magazine photos.
According to Goldstein, he later received a phone call from the UFC President himself.
“What kind of scumbag are you?” Goldstein recalls White opening the call with. He then went on a verbal tirade, ripping Goldstein for releasing the pictures early and ended the call with a promise to “F--- you up worse than you’ve ever been f---ed before,” and hung up.
To this day, Cage Potato and the UFC remain on shaky ground.
(Note: Skip ahead to 8:00 to get to the juicy stuff)
The most recent person to anger Dana White wasn’t even someone involved in mixed martial arts but rather boxing referee Joe Cortez, who was recently involved in the debacle between Floyd Mayweather and Victor Ortiz.
As a fan of boxing himself, White bashed the refereeing in the fight, stating that he believes that the fight was ruined by Cortez and not by Mayweather, as many others have claimed.
“From the minute the bell rang from the first round, until the minute that fight ended, Joe Cortez absolutely, 100-percent, f---ing destroyed that fight and ruined it,” he told MMA Fighting.
(Note: Skip to 7:00 to get to the rant on Larry Merchant)
Continuing on from the previous slide, commentator Larry Merchant also upset Dana White because of the outrageous post-fight interview he conducted with Mayweather after the fight in which he told Mayweather that he wishes he was younger so he could, “Kick [Mayweather’s] ass.”
A long-time fan of boxing, White has seen Merchant go off on crazy rants like this before, but this one was particularly insane.
“Who the hell would want to do an interview with him?” White rhetorically asked members of the media at the UFC 135 post-fight press conference. “The guy’s senile, he’s out of his mind. He’s out there berating Floyd, but Floyd can’t say anything back to you? You’ve been disrespecting guys your whole career. And guess what, you can go back 60-years... You’re not kicking Floyd’s ass.”
ESPN has branded themselves as the “worldwide leader in sports,” but they have never quite been ready to accept mixed martial arts into the mainstream on their network. Sure, they will occasionally highlight the outcome of a big main event fight, but despite being hugely popular in the United States, it often seems as if the UFC is down there with beach volleyball and women’s golf as a “sport” according to ESPN.
But when the deal with FOX came out recently, it was surprising that ESPN was so blatant about their displeasure for the deal.
Dana White addressed the situation on Twitter, stating that, “ESPN always hated us, and now, they hate us more now that we are on FOX. They canceled my int next week for UFC Rio F--- ESPN.”
He later added that “[Jim Rome] is the only good thing about ESPN.”
(Note: Go to 3:15 for Josh Barnett comments)
Former UFC heavyweight champion Josh Barnett was once considered one of, if not the top heavyweight fighter on the planet when he defeated Randy Couture to become the champion in the UFC back in 2002 at UFC 36.
Unfortunately for Barnett, that would also be the last time he would ever compete in the UFC.
Barnett tested positive for steroids for the fight and was immediately stripped of his title. He has had a wildly successful career outside of the organization, but now that Strikeforce has been purchased by Zuffa, his future once again rests in the hands of Dana White and the decision-makers in the UFC.
“Josh Barnett tested positive three times, and this guy denies it every time,” White told the media in 2010. “I just saw an interview that he did the other day where he could really give a sh-- about anybody else but himself... And that’s why Josh Barnett isn’t, and never will be, in the UFC. This isn’t the kind of guy that I respect or want to do business with.”
MMA judging has long been a problem, with countless fights having now been completely screwed up because the judges’ decisions have gone to a fighter who was clearly the loser by anyone who was actually paying even slight attention to the fight.
Dana White has been so frustrated by judging that he has publicly come out and bashed the entire judging community for their complete lack of education for judges and obviously terrible hiring processes.
“I feel like we don’t get the same respect from these athletic commissions that boxing did all these years,” White admitted this past December after UFC 124. “Every time we go to the judges’ decisions, I just sit back and go, ‘I can’t wait to hear this one, man.’ “
Former Pride 205 and 185-pound champion Dan Henderson was one of the most coveted free agents in the world following his crushing knockout victory over Michael Bisping at UFC 100. All signs pointed toward “Hendo” resigning with the UFC, but things didn’t exactly turn out that way.
“I pushed him to do that,” White admitted regarding Henderson signing with Strikeforce. “I started taking sh-- off the table and that made him make his decision to go with them.”
“It’s over with me and Dan Henderson,” he continued. “Dan probably won’t be back in the UFC. He’ll retire over there.”
Of course, fans and media members alike were delighted recently when we found out that Henderson would be returning later this year to headline the UFC 139 pay-per-view against Mauricio “Shogun” Rua.
It appears that the bad blood between Henderson and White may finally be water under the bridge as they are now working together to promote what should be one in a series of excellent events coming up for the UFC.
MMA’s “grease-gate” happened at UFC 94 when the UFC promoted the rematch between Georges St-Pierre and BJ Penn for the UFC welterweight championship. The five-round fight ended when St-Pierre stopped Penn between rounds, winning the fight by TKO, but the controversy came when it was later found out that St-Pierre’s corner had been caught rubbing Vaseline on their fighter’s back, presumably to give him an advantage in the grappling game.
“Georges is in trouble by the commission. The corner got caught rubbing Vaseline all over his back,” White told Rashad Evans and David Loiseau who were in attendance. “Someone’s a f---ing idiot in the corner.”
“How could you f---ing do that? That’s so f---ing stupid!”
Boxing promoter Gary Shaw became one of Dana White’s most hated fighters when he attacked the UFC president for stating that his promotion, EliteXC, was nipping at the heels of the UFC when it came to the MMA market.
"Gary Shaw is a f---ing loser," White told Yahoo! Sports. "And if we were getting competition, it's not coming from Elite XC and both of the people who are watching their shows. This guy is a low-level bottom feeder. He didn't like MMA a few years ago, but when he finally couldn't make money at boxing any more, he came over to this sport to try to leech money out of it."
The truth hurts and EliteXC shut its doors less than two years after promoting its first MMA event.
(Note: Skip to 5:00 for more on Michael Bisping)
Given his popularity in England, Michael Bisping is one of the UFC’s biggest cash cows. But even that didn’t save him from the verbal ass-whooping he took from Dana White following his ridiculous actions at UFC 127.
According to White, Bisping intentionally kneed Jorge Rivera in the face while he was on the ground, an illegal move, and then proceeded to spit on members of Rivera’s corner.
“Mike Bisping didn’t get a bonus,” White told MMA Fighting. “And believe me, that hurts more than anything else that anybody could’ve done. I let him know exactly how I felt about it and what I expect of him in the future and he wasn’t given a bonus for that last show.”
Back when the Kimbo Slice hype-train was at an all-time high, there were some (uneducated) fans who believed that the former street fighter might actually be able to compete with the best-of-the-best in the UFC.
All along, though, Dana White stood strongly with his point that there was absolutely no chance that Slice would be a major competitor in the UFC. He even went as far as to say that the UFC wouldn’t even sign him unless it was to compete on The Ultimate Fighter.
To his credit, Kimbo did eventually try out on the reality TV show and actually performed quite well despite not winning it. He earned himself a short deal with the UFC where he won one fight before being violently knocked out by Matt Mitrione in his next fight.
The UFC cut him at that point, but even Dana White had to admit that he respected Slice to putting aside the paydays that he likely could’ve received fighting for smaller promotions in order to actually take a real stab at competing at a high-level in the UFC.
The feud between boxing and MMA fans has been going on for a long time. Both groups of fans believe that their sport is better, and while there is some crossover between the two, the dislike for the other sport often causes rifts between the two fanbases.
However common as arguments between fans are, though, it’s rare that a fighter from one sport wants to actually compete in the other sport. But that’s what happened in August 2010 when champion boxer James Toney began calling out Dana White in the media, trying to get himself signed to compete in the mixed martial arts organization.
“Dana White, f--- you!” he jokingly said while flipping off the camera on The Sports Soup.
Despite having a long-standing belief that “freak shows” in MMA are not worth having, White decided to promote Toney against former champion Randy Couture at UFC 118.
The fight itself didn’t last long as Couture quickly neutralized Toney’s boxing by bringing him to the ground where he then submitted him with an arm-triangle choke while taking practically no damage in the contest.
While Dana publicly said that he likes James Toney, one has to wonder if he actually does like James Toney given that he put him up against a guy like Randy Couture in his first ever fight.
I’ll tell you one thing...I like my friends, so I wouldn’t have one of them fight Randy Couture!
Then again, Dana was just giving the guy what he asked for.
(Note: Cut to 1:45 for the Rampage Jackson information)
Dana White’s anger with Rampage Jackson obviously didn’t last, considering he just recently received another shot at the UFC light heavyweight championship, but it wasn’t always happy days between these two strong personalities.
Almost immediately following the loss of his UFC light heavyweight championship to Forrest Griffin, Jackson led police on a high-speed chase through Newport Beach, CA. That was only part of the problem, though, as Jackson was involved in a hit-and-run before the chase.
White obviously forgave him over time, but he was pretty steamed (and rightfully so) for awhile.
When Frank Shamrock first came to the UFC and became the inaugural UFC 205-pound champion, few would have expected that he and Dana White would eventually engage in one of the longest-lasting and most bitter rivalries that the sport had ever seen.
Shamrock dominated the division in its early years, leaving him with no choice, in his opinion, but to retire as the champion because there really were no other real challengers for him. He would work as a commentator for the company for a short while, but there has been bad blood between these two ever since.
White and Shamrock recently added to their war of words through MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani. Shamrock went on The MMA Hour and bad-mouthed White, claiming that UFC President was “the reason MMA isn’t sanctioned in New York.”
Dana fired back, insisting that Shamrock had tried to patch things up with him earlier in the week and that Shamrock is, “two-faced.”
That Justin Timberlake?
Yes, that Justin Timberlake.
The UFC President has credited teen heartthrob Justin Bieber with being very down-to-Earth but would not go so far as to say the same thing about Justin Timberlake.
According to White, Timberlake acted too good to interact with kids who are really his biggest fans.
“When you see people treat kids like that...” he said on the Opie and Anthony Radio show... “F--- Justin Timberlake, he's a douchebag.”
One of the most epic rants in Dana White history came when he blew up at Sherdog writer Jake Rossen. Rossen pointed out that White’s proclamation that the UFC was poised to take over the sports world by 2020 might be a bit optimistic.
But White was not a happy camper.
"So basically, what he just tells me is Jake Rossen, what he likes to do is, he likes to write bullsh-- stories smashing MMA and MMA writers so you the fans will go on there and talk about him for a long time,” White yelled in a video. “Typical f---ing bullsh-- reporter. Jake Rossen, Go f--- yourself!"
Yahoo! Sports’ Steve Cofield asked the wrong damn question during a UFC 111 press conference. Frank Mir had recently made waves by speaking about the potential first death in MMA, which really upset White because he believed that it was detrimental to getting the sport sanctioned in New York.
Cofield didn’t make the comment himself, but even bringing it up again was good enough to cause some anger.
Dana didn’t even really directly respond to the question that Cofield asked, but the reaction on his face really said it all. It was very apparent that Dana was trying to keep his cool in a situation when he easily could’ve gone crazy at not just the question itself, but also the rather disrespectful way in which he asked it.
Pat Miletich, a former UFC fighter and trainer of one of perhaps the most dominant team in the second half of the past decade used to have a pretty good relationship with the UFC President.
But things seemed to take a dramatic turn for the worst when Miletich joined the now-defunct IFL as one of the team coaches. White made some disparaging remarks about the entire concept of the IFL, which prompted Miletich to fire back, noting that White and the UFC were making enemies while the IFL was busy making friends.
“I’m sure he does think that,” White told the Quad City Times. “Pat’s a paranoid lunatic, and he thinks that the UFC’s always trying to (mess) with him.”
Not everyone knows about this one, but the relationship between Dana White and his mother, June White, is one that has certainly been one of the most difficult in his life.
His mother actually wrote a tell-all book about him which included her calling him a slew of personal insults and even went as far as to compare him to the spawn of Satan. Yeah, it was bad...
White commented a bit on the situation, nothing that, “Me and my mother are a lot alike, that's why we don't get along,” in an ESPN E:60 interview.
Fans might remember former UFC ring girl Edith Labelle for being one of the most attractive women to ever carry a numbered card around the Octagon. Her smile was memorable, and her body was smokin’, but apparently some believed that she partied a little too hard at times.
Labelle was set to be one of the ring girls for the UFC’s biggest event ever, UFC 100, but she never actually made it to the venue on the night of the event.
According to reports and her own admission, Labelle had attended the UFC Fan Expo and then went out for dinner before attending some pre-parties for the event. But while she believed that she got sick from food poisoning, others seemed to believe that she was actually hung over and missed the event due to her own irresponsibility.
Dana White himself has remained mum about the situation, but certainly, he and the decision makers within the organization were unhappy, given that Labelle was released from the company shortly thereafter.
As much as Dana White has gone to battle with various managers and fighters throughout his time, he has almost always been able to come to terms with them eventually. But as of right now, things between White and Bas Boon’s Golden Glory management have not smoothed over.
“The last time we did business with the Golden Glory team was Semmy Schilt,” Dana told MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani after UFC 133. “The reason for that is... The way that they do business is that, you can’t pay the fighters. You have to pay the Golden Glory guys.”
He went on to explain that Golden Glory had agreed to allow the UFC to pay their fighters and then receive their cut from the fighters themselves, but when they showed up to the event, their story changed and they were unhappy about the situation.
Fighters have lost their jobs and Alistair Overeem arguably left Golden Glory because of the debate in business philosophy, but one thing is for sure—Dana White and the UFC are not going to do business with Golden Glory until they decide to conform to the way that the UFC does things.
Former UFC lightweight Roger Huerta made a name for himself by being one of the most talented, entertaining and even marketable young fighters that the UFC was promoting from 2006 to 2009. Although he never held a title, Huerta believed that he deserved more money than he was getting during his time in the organization.
“Roger Huerta has contract problems? What’s his contract problem? He signed a contract, he’s under contract, when his contract is up he’ll renegotiate a new one,” White explained on his UFC 87 video blog. “In his thing he said, ‘They got me out there doing P.R.’ Yeah, moron. How do you think you make money? You don’t make money unless people know who you are and want to see you fight. Am I supposed to pay Roger Huerta to go out and do P.R.? Is that how it works?”
Not surprisingly, Huerta was released from the company after back-to-back losses to Kenny Florian and Gray Maynard.
UFC 83 will be remembered for many things, most notably the return of GSP as the welterweight champion. But although there were other great fights on the card, unfortunately, one of the biggest things that we will probably always remember was former The Ultimate Fighter competitor Kalib Starnes’ actions.
Starnes was scheduled to fight Nate Quarry on that night, but fans were disgusted as Starnes literally ran away from Quarry throughout almost the entire fight, refusing to engage himself.
Dana White himself not only agreed with the fans that Starnes’ actions were unacceptable, but he even took it a step further by canning Starnes after the event.
“He just doesn’t belong in the UFC and after his performance the other night, he should consider a new line of work," White told Yahoo! Sports’ Kevin Iole.
The Ultimate Fighter contestant Junie Browning is perhaps the most controversial personality that has ever been on the show. His actions constantly caused problems between himself and his opponents and even his teammates.
White even came onto the show and verbally berated both Browning and other contestants, but decided to keep him around because he believed that he saw potential in him both as a fighter as well as a person. Though he didn’t win the show, White and the UFC signed Browning to compete in future events.
But after an attempted suicide from prescription pills, Browning went on a wild rampage through a Nevada hospital that resulted in him pushing a female nurse, kicking another female nurse and punching a male nurse.
Upon learning what happened, White immediately released the obviously insane Browning in what was a delightful moments for fans who can’t stand him. Browning has since gone just 1-4 outside of the UFC and will likely not ever be given another chance in the Octagon.
UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture is one of the absolute most famous MMA fighters ever, but even that doesn’t save him from being in the line of fire from time-to-time.
After defeating Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC 74, Couture announced that he was severing ties with the world’s biggest MMA organization, citing contractual differences because Chuck Liddell had reportedly been given more money for his two previous fights (both losses) than Couture received in his two previous fights (both wins).
To make matters worse, Couture also listed the desire to fight one of White’s nemeses, the No. 1 heavyweight in the world at the time, Fedor Emelianenko, whom the UFC had been unable to sign.
Dana, however, didn’t believe that these two things were what it was all about. Instead, he believed that the champion wanted to get more involved in Hollywood.
“He hooked up with some Hollywood agent that I bitch slapped about a month ago, and these Hollywood agents are parasites,” White told UFC.com.
This feud actually went all the way to the courts as the UFC claimed that Couture was in a breach of contract if he performed elsewhere. Thankfully, they finally came to terms and “The Natural” finished out his career in the Octagon.
From September 2003 to November 2009, there was perhaps no welterweight hotter than Karo Parisyan. The impressive Armenian fighter went 9-2 with victories over Nick Diaz, Chris Lytle and Matt Serra.
But things changed for “The Heat” at UFC 94. After winning a split decision over Dong Hyun Kim, Parisyan would later test positive for banned painkillers in a post-fight drug test. His career had taken a spiral down as there were other rumors regarding his personal life.
The UFC did eventually bring him back in November 2010, but he was quickly knocked out by Dennis Hallman in the first round of their UFC 123 contest. His performance in that fight, coupled with his problems in the past, made it an easy decision for White to release him once again.
(Note: Please go to 10:30 to see the comments on Todd Duffee)
A previous owner of the UFC’s fastest knockout, Todd Duffee was once considered one of the hottest up-and-coming heavyweights in the company. His UFC debut lasted only seven seconds before his opponent was out and things looked very good going into his second fight with Mike Russow.
Duffee ended up losing that fight, though, and it would prove to be his final bout for the organization as the UFC President was just not impressed by the young fighter.
“The biggest problem I have with Todd Duffee is his attitude," White told MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani. "You guys don't see it. You don't know. I deal with tons of guys. We have hundreds of guys under contract and I've had thousands of guys under contract over the last ten years and Todd Duffee, to me, doesn't seem like he wants to be in the UFC. He doesn't like being in the UFC. Let him go fight in the smaller organizations and work his way back up, if he even wants to work his way back up and get back into the UFC. He just came off a knockout. He got knocked out in his fight and he's got a horrible attitude. He's got a horrible attitude. He can still go back and train and fight in these smaller leagues and work on his skills and his attitude."
Dana didn’t slam the door on Duffee ever making it back to the UFC, but it doesn’t seem very likely at this point.
Former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion “King” Muhammed Lawal made some splashes recently when he bashed Zuffa for their lack of promotion for the most recent fight card on Showtime.
Lawal defeated fellow light heavyweight prospect Roger Gracie that night but felt that the news about Nick Diaz being removed from the UFC 137 main event seemed to push the actual fights off of the front page.
Lawal likened Strikeforce to a, “Dying cancer patient,” in an interview with Ariel Helwani. “That's how I feel like the organization is. We're just waiting for it to die, to pass.”
But the UFC President did not take kindly to the assertion that he intentionally sabotaged his own promotion’s main event in an effort to take the headlines from the Strikeforce event.
"If Mo whatever the f--- his name is, or any of those guys, think I planned all this s--- this week, they're out of their minds,” White told Yahoo! Sports’ Kevin Iole. "Yes, we signed [Alistair] Overeem and made the Brock [Lesnar] fight. Do you think I expected Nick Diaz to pull this s---? We have all kinds of stuff going and I didn't need this in my life. It is what it is and I never had a thought in my mind of f---ing with Strikeforce. But I promote the UFC 24/7."
Perhaps the most epic UFC rant ever came in a response video after MMA reporter Loretta Hunt criticized the UFC for not allowing fighters’ managers to be in the dressing rooms with them.
Not only did White completely destroy the concept, but he went on a verbal tirade, completely tearing apart the writer’s character, sources and previous work.
“Hey Loretta, if you’re going to write a story, you f---in’ moron, at least make sure it’s f---in’ true and you have some facts in there,” he ranted. “And if you’re gonna’ put some f---in’ quotes in there, get some quotes from people who at least have the f---in’ balls to put their f---in’ name on it.”
“You f---in’ b----. F--- you, Loretta Hunt.”
Ouch. Remind me to not get on Dana’s bad side...
(Note: Go to 7:20 to hear Dana’s comments on John McCarthy)
Perhaps, no figure was more prominent in the early days of the UFC than referee “Big” John McCarthy. There were always two fighters in the cage, but it often looked like the muscle-bound ref was ready to step in and put an end to things if his requests weren’t being respected.
McCarthy decided at one time that he wanted to stop refereeing and was more interested in other sources of income but also went on to bash both Dana White and various athletic commissions from around the country.
Of course, this didn’t please the UFC president who responded by simply stating that the UFC and McCarthy were not on great terms and that what McCarthy did was simply, “not the smartest thing to do.”
Things appear to be better between McCarthy and the UFC now as he has been seen in the Octagon again, but as White explained, he doesn’t get to decide who the referees are anyway. Perhaps the animosity remains and it has just been hidden better.
Between promoting his own fight and running a successful business, MMA fighter and Affliction co-owner Tom Atencio went out of his way to bash UFC President Dana White at a press conference in Biloxi, MI in 2009.
"Some things that's been done in the UFC, I don't think it's right,” Atencio asserted. “I think it's time to step up. Sometimes Dana White acts like a fighter, so why doesn't he fight?"
"I don't ever think a fight between him and Tito Ortiz was ever going to happen,” he continued. “Dana acts like an 800-pound Gorilla, but he's not. He acts and talks like a fighter, but he's not. If we're being honest, he's a bully.”
The UFC president fired back at a press conference for the UFC.
“Tom Atencio is a f---ing loser, okay?” White proclaimed to a crowd who cheered him on. “He’s not a good promoter and he’s not a good fighter. In my hay-day, if I said I would’ve fought Tito Ortiz, I definitely would’ve fought Tom Atencio, okay? But I’m not going to waste my time training one minute or thinking one minute about Tom Atencio.”
Former UFC heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia was one of the most physically imposing fighters in the history of the heavyweight division. The giant from Maine was not only a stylistic nightmare because of his size, but he also brought the intensity that few fighters in the division had at the time.
Sylvia eventually lost his title to Frank Mir, but he would get a chance to fight for it again when he battled Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at UFC. Though he was submitted in that contest in the third round, few would have expected that it would have been the last time he ever fought in the Octagon.
The “Maine-iac” went on to fight in Affliction, losing to Fedor Emelianenko in crushing fashion, followed by getting knocked out by Ray Mercer in another very short contest. When rumors arose that Sylvia was interested in a UFC return, Dana White just about blew a fuze with how baffled he was.
"Are you kidding me? He seriously wants to return to the UFC? He hasn't won a fight in years and when he did he usually put everyone to sleep. The only time he's in an exciting fight is when he's getting his [expletive] ass handed to him,” White said of his former champion. “Look, he just got beat by a near 50-year old in under 10 f---ing seconds. How do you expect to be taken seriously after that? He just made MMA look like a complete joke. If he has any hopes of ending his career in the UFC he will have to go on The Ultimate Fighter. There's no other way he's getting in."
We’ve seen Dana boot former champions out of the organization before, but very rarely have we ever seen him be quite so candid about his true feelings on a guy who was once considered the best in his division within the UFC.
It’s hard to say for sure, but it has to be assumed that something happened more than just Sylvia losing a couple fights.
“Steve Mazzagatti is the worst referee in the history of f---ing fights!”
That should say it all.
Although the perception among casual (and even some dedicated) fans that the UFC decides who the referees will be for their fights, that is not actually true. The athletic commissions themselves are the ones who get to choose who has arguably the most important job (outside of fighting itself), and they are also in charge of regulating said referees.
UFC President Dana White has made it clear on more than one occasion that Steve Mazzagatti is, in his opinion, the worst referee in all of MMA.
“I can’t stand this guy,” White continued in an interview with Ariel Helwani after UFC 125. “It just makes me cringe every time he steps into the Octagon.”
Some might believe that BJ Penn has been given more than any fighter in UFC history, and it’s hard to really argue. There’s no doubt that the UFC has taken Penn’s marketability and made use of it in promoting him in both the lightweight and welterweight divisions.
However, there was a time when Penn, as the champion in the welterweight division, got into a large contract dispute with White and the UFC. In a bold move, Penn decided to drop out of his contract with the UFC in favor of fighting overseas for more money.
Penn had ended Matt Hughes’ reign as a champion and had yet to make his first defense, but that didn’t stop him from leaving the promotion as the champion, forcing Dana White and the UFC to strip him of his title.
“I am looking forward to moving on and crowning a new champion,” White simply stated.
That quote alone doesn’t say much, but certainly, the company was unhappy with Penn. According to Penn, the UFC president called him and gave him an ear full.
‘“You’re f---ing done! You’ll never fight in the UFC again! You’re finished. You’re scorched earth, b----. Scorched earth. Don’t call me crying saying you want to come back because you’re f---ing done!”
Penn even alleges that White even threatened to remove him from the UFC 46 DVD where he beat Matt Hughes, so that no one would know who he was.
It’s hard to fault Dana for this one, but he certainly was not a happy camper on this occasion.
The Ultimate Fighter has had its fair share of oddballs, but one of the biggest has to be Season 3 contestant Noah Inhofer.
Inhofer apparently had received a letter from his girlfriend which revealed that she believed that he had been cheating on her. The news affected Inhofer like it would just about anyone else. He was frustrated and rightfully so. But his actions immediately following hearing about the news are what caused the biggest problems for his career.
Dana White claims that he received notice that Inhofer was threatening to leave the show if he could not make a phone call to his girlfriend. As is to be expected on any show where the results are to remain a secret, this request was obviously against the rules.
We eventually found out that Inhofer had only been dating this girl for six months.
“You will be giving up the world for her,” Dana pleaded in an attempt to get him to reconsider. “Here’s your two choices. Screw your head on, focus on why you came here and what you’re here to do. Go out there and compete in the semi-finals...Or if this is that important to you and you’re ready to leave, I’ll fly you home today.”
Inhofer decided to leave the show and will forever be looked at as one of the biggest wusses to ever compete for a UFC contract. In the end, Dana has to be pretty happy that Inhofer left and didn’t end up actually winning the show. The kid just didn’t have what it took to be the next UFC star.
Well...This is an odd one.
UFC veteran Dennis Hallman has always been looked at as a solid fighter, but his personality has typically been pretty normal. So that’s why his choice of attire for his UFC 133 bout was particularly unexpected.
While most fighters wear fight shorts, Hallman opted for an obnoxious purple Speedo-style pair of “shorts” that literally left nothing to the imagination at one point throughout the fight. The UFC President was unaware that Hallman would be baring all for the fight and was pretty upset in numerous post-fight interviews.
“It was disgusting,” he told MMAHeat’s Karyn Bryant. “First of all, I’m pissed off that somebody that works for me let him come out with those on, number one...
“It was just, it was not good. It will never happen again, I can guarantee that. I’m serious. I seriously gave [Brian] Ebersole the $70,000 bonus... I gave him that bonus for getting that off television as fast as possible. And that’s the truth.”
The night did not end well for Hallman as he was knocked out by Ebersole, but that memory will forever be ingrained in our brains. Thanks Dennis!
Given the amount of love that Dana White has openly confessed for Anderson Silva’s ability as a fighter, it’s hard to believe that there was a time that the UFC president was unhappy with his middleweight champion. But to say that he was unhappy, quite frankly, was a massive understatement.
Anderson Silva had been so dominant for so long that it almost seemed as if he was bored in his UFC 112 bout against Demian Maia. Maia, known for his jiu-jitsu and not for his striking, was completely outmatched on the feet, but Silva did not have his usual killer instinct.
“No doubt about it, absolutely, 100-percent,” White responded to Ariel Helwani when asked in a post-fight interview whether the fight was the lowest moment as UFC President. He even admitted that he left during the fourth round of the fight and handed the belt to Silva’s manager, Ed Soares, before telling him “You put it on [Anderson Silva]. I’m not doing it.”
The fight marked the third straight bout that Silva had competed in at 185 pounds in which he failed to really engage his opponent. The frustration was obviously mounting and had come to a head as White revealed that he and Silva were going to be having a private meeting immediately to decide what the problem was.
“He feels that he doesn’t owe the fans an apology,” an exasperated White continued. “I’m the one apologizing. I didn’t go in and fight like a jackass for five rounds. I didn’t do what he did tonight, but I’m embarrassed and I feel like I should apologize to the fans.”
I have to admit that I still don’t fully understand why the president of a major sports organization wasted his time by arguing with a real-life “troll” like Bloodstain Lane, but that’s exactly what happened this past June when the two of them got into it on Twitter.
Lane has been a long-time hater of White’s, but the UFC president had finally had enough and let him have it on Twitter. After finding out that Lane had allegedly been slapped around by a manager at a UFC event, White took the ammunition and ran with it.
danawhite Dana White
@BloodstainLane picked the wrong sport to be a goofy attention whore. Should check out curling. Lol
BloodstainLane Bloodstain Lane
@danawhite ...hey p---y...listen here...when I see you..I will slap you...simple and plan...f--- your attention whore
danawhite Dana White
@BloodstainLane deal, when you see me come slap me.
danawhite Dana White
@BloodstainLane I will buy u a ticket and room to vegas or vancouver and u can meet me and slap me! U in?
BloodstainLane Bloodstain Lane
@ @danawhite ..sure why not
danawhite Dana White
@BloodstainLane I am following u. Dm me with ur info and I will fly u out to vegas or vancouver. Let's do this!!!
danawhite Dana White
@BloodstainLane he wants philly. See u in philly bro
Even former champion Frank Mir got involved in the fun.
thefrankmir Frank Mir UFC
Anybody else watching @danawhite punking @BloodstainLane? Awesome! Go Dana
Apparently “the slap” never happened. Not a big surprise. But it was hilarious to see Dana White stand up to this fake gangster/YouTube troll.
Nick Diaz has had his fair share of problems in and out of the cage, but none was bigger than what he did leading up to his scheduled upcoming UFC 137 main event against Georges St-Pierre.
Never one to be friendly with the press, Diaz took it a step further in preparation for this fight as he completely skipped out on going to more than one scheduled media appearance, making the UFC look like they had no control of their fighters. Like any reasonable promoter would do, the UFC took it upon themselves to remove Diaz from the main event, replacing him with Carlos Condit who was previously set to fight BJ Penn on the same card in what was expected to be a No. 1 contenders’ bout.
“I would never accept [Nick Diaz]’s word again,” White admitted to MMA30TV. “And you know what’s crazy, I’ve done business with his brother, forever... And his brother is a professional, does everything he says he’s going to do.”
Nick has since reached out to the UFC and is now back on the card but has not been given his shot at getting the title back. Instead, Diaz is now set to fight former UFC champion BJ Penn in what could turn out to be one of the best fights of the year.
It all turned out well in the end, but it was a crazy couple of days, and the UFC was obviously very unhappy with the actions of their newest acquisition.
Ah yes, the best of all the Dana White feuds...“The Huntington Beach Bad-Boy” Tito Ortiz.
One of the best moments of this fued happened following Ortiz’s loss against Lyoto Machida at UFC 84, a bout in which he was dominated throughout but nearly submitted the undefeated Brazilian with a triangle choke late in the contest. In the post-fight press conference, these two went head-to-head.
“The stuff between Tito and I is very real,” White told the press. “This is no bullsh--. We’re not trying to put on a WWE show. It’s very real.”
The long-standing rivalry between these two strong-headed former friends has been going on longer than just about anything ever in the sport. But to play off what Dana said? It’s almost crazy enough that it could have become a pro wrestling-like storyline in the twists and turns of the relationship.
Tito claimed that too many of the fighters in the UFC were essentially “slaves” for White and the UFC, as they are not getting anywhere near enough of the profits, despite the fact that Ortiz himself has been seen pulling in chunks of pay that borderline on the level of absurdity given his record over the past five years.
The two men even were setting up to have a boxing fight at one point. The plans fell through, but it just goes to show how deep this feud really goes.