News, Notes and Quotes from Dana White and Friday’s Big UFC Press Conference

– Yesterday, Dana White held a media conference call, in which the UFC President addressed practically every hot-button issue to rise over the past week in mixed martial arts. Below are notes and quotes from the conference call itself:



Right out of the gates, White addressed the much-talked-about rumors regarding Fedor Emelianenko signing with the UFC and despite one of the more outrageous contracts in promotion history thrown the Russian’s way, White said the deal has fallen through yet again:

“When I tell you that we tried everything that we could possibly do to get Fedor into the UFC, we went above and beyond.”

“We came to the table willing to give up just about anything except the co-promotion. We offered him the most amazing deal. I guarantee you he will not offered another deal like this in mixed martial arts.”

“I went out there and tried to make this happen. I could everything I could possibly do. They didn’t want to it, for whatever reason. They did not want to sign a deal with the UFC.”

On co-promotion with M-1 Global:

“These guys are going to come in and co-promote? How the hell are they going to ever co-promote anything? … It’s basically them coming in and saying “We’ve got this guy and some people say he might be the best heavyweight in the world, so for that, we want half your business.’ Yeah, okay. That shit probably works in Russia.”

Also on tap for the Friday conference call was former light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz, who has officially buried the hatchet with White and is on his way back to the UFC:

Dana White: “Tito Ortiz is still a guy the fans want to see fight. He just had back surgery and he’s getting back into training, his back has healed perfectly. The doctor said he feels good and he’s ready to compete in the 205-pound division and get a shot at the title again.”

Dana White: “Tito’s one of those guys that a lot of people love and a lot of people hate, but one way or another, people give a shit about him, so he’s back.”

Dana White: “Tito Ortiz will retire in the UFC.”

Tito Ortiz: “For me personally, [the choice to return] was about competition. My fans deserve the best of Tito Ortiz. Financially and everything, I’m okay.”

Tito Ortiz: “Competition was the biggest factor. If I fought for Strikeforce, who would I fight against? Babalu? I’d crush his face. Frank Shamrock? It’d be the first death in mixed martial arts history. Who else would there be?”

Tito Ortiz: “I look at the past three UFC champions, Forrest Griffin: I beat, Rashad Evans: I thought I beat, but they called it a draw, [Lyoto] Machida: I gave him the best fight anybody has given him to this point. I almost submitted him, so me coming back at 100 percent, everybody in the light heavyweight division better watch out.”

When might we see Tito Ortiz back in the cage and against whom?

“I expected September, but now that I talked to my doctor … I just started running laps and started doing bag work … I’m looking towards around November or December, so before the year is over, I want to fight 100 percent.”

“Tito’s not getting an easy go. We’re talking about him fighting Mark Coleman. Coleman had a war with “Shogun” in Ireland and then came out and beat Stephan Bonnar, so we’re talking about Tito vs. Mark Coleman in his first fight.”

After criticism arose on the announcement of Dan Henderson vs. Rich Franklin, White became well aware of the backlash, and as such, we now have a new UFC 103 main event:

“I like to bring the fans the best fights I can possibly bring them and the fights the fans want to see. When we announced that Rich Franklin was fighting Dan Henderson, fans were pissed. There was some backlash.”

“So, we went out and we just signed Vitor Belfort, so Vitor Belfort is now fighting Rich Franklin in Dallas in September.”

“That’s the new main event, and Dan Henderson is probably next in line to fight for Anderson Silva’s title.”

“Dan Henderson is definitely next in line for the title shot, and Nate Marquardt/Demian Maia fight puts them in the mix too.”

White also confirmed the previously-reported ESPN overseas deal:

“Now we’ve signed a deal with ESPN in the U.K. It’s a three-year deal and ESPN has a brand new network now in the U.K. It launches August 13th and it’s going to start with UFC 101.” And it will be free in August and it’s for the English and Irish fans.

“ESPN will be in high-definition too, with no extra charge.”

There was more Affliction fallout, as White listed all of the Affliction fighters now signed to the UFC and WEC contracts:

“Guys that we do have locked up right now for sure: Vitor Belfort, Paul Daley, Ben Rothwell, Chase Gormley, Dan Lauzon, [Rafaello] Oliveira. And then, guys going to the WEC: Javier Vasquez, L.C. Davis, Mark Hominick.”

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