Chael Sonnen, Jon Jones, Frank Mir & the Rest of 'Uncle' Dana White's Nephews
With all the Chael Sonnen references to "Uncle" Dana White lately, it got me to thinking: Who are the UFC's biggest company men? Who are the fighters who seem most likely to parrot Uncle Dana and/or toe the company line in public?
Let me start by saying, being a nephew of Dana is not a knock. In fact, most of the folks on this list are pretty savvy and know which side their bread is buttered on.
Reigning UFC Light Heavyweight Champ Jon Jones seemed well on his way to being on this list, as he was even appearing in some UFC commercial spots with the likes of Arianny Celeste in the weeks BEFORE he beat Shogun.
But you don't say no to Uncle Dana, and when he did that recently by declining to fight Chael Sonnen at UFC 151, even golden boy Jon Jones quickly found out that Dana is a vengeful and angry God. He then was trashed by his boss and thrown under the bus in the way only Dana White could do.
But to quote Dallas Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones, you don't get mad at your money, and I have to imagine that fighter Jon Jones, like Anderson Silva, is just a couple of performances away from being welcomed back into Dana's good graces—if he still wants to be there.
It didn't take too too long for The Spider to get back there after he stopped putting on his dancing exhibitions and got back to whooping people. And it didn't hurt that Chael Sonnen pretty much made him the good guy by default—put him back over—if you will.
So now, with no further adieu, I present Dana White's Top 5 Super Golden Nephews..
Super Golden Nephew No. 5: Chuck Liddell
Chuck Liddell will forever be remembered as the guy who was the UFC's top dog when it crossed over into general American consciousness.
He was the unquestioned ambassador of the sport and looked and acted the part of the baddest dude around to America at large. The Iceman will forever be loved and remembered as an old school fighter who never even though about the word 'points'. A finisher's finisher.
Barring something unforeseen, such as coming out of retirement and betraying Uncle Dana by going to another organization, he'll be forever taken care of by the UFC.
He'll do lots of handshaking and posing with the "Hang Loose" sign next to fans throwing up a fist, and generally spreading positive vibes in the UFC the way he used to emit bad vibes in the Octagon.
The only reason he isn't higher on the list is because Chuck seems to be his own man who speaks his mind without too much thought for what anybody, including Dana, might think.
Luckily for the both of them, they should not have much to disagree on.
Super Golden Nephew No. 4: Rich Franklin
Rich Franklin one of the UFC's golden boys from its crossover age.
Franklin might be the least-hated fighter in the history of the sport. From fans to fellow fighters, it's tough to find somebody who has anything bad to say about Ace, who is in a similar boat as Chuck Liddell.
While his days as champ are quite possibly be behind him, it seems that as long as Franklin steers straight he should be able to rake in some dough with a couple of more fights that are marketable but aren't likely to be against any real monsters. He should always have a place as an ambassador for the UFC.
But unlike certain other nephews, he's much less likely to show up to an early morning talk show slurring his speech and still not quite recovered from the previous night (or two or three) out. He's set to be an ambassador for life.
Super Golden Nephew No. 3: Frank Mir
Frank "No Nickname" Mir is a company man through and through.
Whether it's publicly bashing a class act like Fedor Emelianenko, or risking his good health by taking his artificial testosterone with him to Strikeforce to face promising prospect and Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Champion Daniel Cormier, Frank Mir could arguably be at the top of the list.
There are a couple of achievers above him, and like I said, he has no nickname and I just don't know how to feel about an Ultimate Fighter with no nickname.
Super Golden Nephew No. 2: Kenny Florian
Speaking of nicknames, he's got one, but it's probably the weakest nickname on the list.
Kenny Florian is right there with Randy Couture when it comes to being awarded the most title shots per meaningful wins of any UFC fighter.
That's not to say he was an undeserving recipient. It's just that he really did get a lot of title shots across many weight classes.That's a sign that he is liked by a) Uncle Dana and b) the fans. Not bad people to have in your corner.
And while Randy benefited from being in an age where there simply weren't that many top fighters in the weight classes he competed in, Florian just always seemed destined for big things in the UFC.
Ever since standing out on Season 1 of the Ultimate Fighter, he was a fan favorite and a gritty competitor. And though he never raised the belt, he has made a seamless transition into his next career behind the microphone, where he consistently toes the company line the way Gabby Douglas toes a balance beam.
But something tells me he might just be keeping that commentator's seat warm for Super Golden Nephew No. 1.
Super Golden Nephew No. 1: Chael Sonnen
Chael Sonnen, who else?
If for no other reason, he's the fighter that is KNOWN for popularizing if not coining the term "Uncle Dana".
He's the best 'outside the Octagon' salesman in the history of the sport. While guys like Anderson Silva do their selling with their exploits inside the Octagon, Sonnen's style isn't always the most exciting if you're looking for 'Just Bleed' type finishes. But even then, the American Gangster has become a marketable commodity largely because of his mouth. And it's a mouth that has garnered him more attention than any mouth without a Hilton or Kardashian attached to it.
Sonnen is in the business to make money, and to make the UFC money, and he succeeds at doing both in a big way. A possible looming title shot at Jon Jones would make a lot of wealthy people even wealthier. And if it's true that fortune favors the bold, surely a title has to be in this guy's future at some point. It's just got to be, right?
So that's my top five.
Honorable mention goes to Randy Couture, Frankie Edgar, and Stephan Bonnar.
I'm sure some will disagree or have more to add to the list.