Dana White and the Fine Art of Spin

via beat.bodoglife.com

There has been a suspicious number of rumors coming out in recent weeks:

  • The UFC planned on countering Strikeforce on CBS with a live Spike TV show in the same city (Nashville);
  • Something is wrong with Tito Ortiz that will prevent him from fighting Chuck Liddell at UFC 115; and
  • The UFC is secretly negotiating with Fedor Emelianenko.
Dana White addressed some of these rumors at the post-fight press conference for UFC on Versus 1 last night. MMA Junkie captured this telling exchange with White:
While White refused to address the situation head-on, he did tell a small group of reporters gathered following the UFC on Versus 1 post-event press conference that there may be more to the story than he's willing to divulge.

 

"If that's the case, and that's true, I guess you're just going to have to watch and see what happens," White said with a wry smile.

...

When pushed on Sunday night by Yahoo! Sports' Steve Cofield as to whether he would be willing to lie in such a public forum (ie on Twitter), White downplayed the strength of his initial words.

"Lie is a big word," White said. "You never know.

"You know how I am. You ask me questions, and I'll tell you the answers. But there's some times that I have to do what I have to do."

...

"This stuff happens," White said. "I don't know what anybody thinks was leaked, or what people think is right and what is wrong. There are always going to be rumors out there, whether it's a fight we're putting on or 'The Ultimate Fighter' and what happened there. There's always going to be rumors.

"What's fact and what's fiction, you're going to have to watch the show and find out."

In a separate piece, MMA Junkie quotes White admitting that there were never plans to counter-program Strikeforce's April CBS show with a live UFC event from Nashville airing on Spike TV:

"I was never putting an April 17 show on," White said. "The media started calling me and asking me. I just [expletive] let it ride out and let [Strikeforce] sweat it. [Expletive] them. You want to compete with us, let's do it.

"I never, ever said I was doing an April 17 show. People asked me questions, and I said, 'Hmm, that's interesting.' I played a little bit. What you guys have got to understand sometimes is these guys consider themselves a competitor, and I like to compete, so I can't always tell you guys exactly what I'm doing and what I'm thinking and what's going to go on."

But even as he cleared up that rumor, he toyed with another one, also from MMA Junkie:

When pressed as to whether the delay of Fedor Emelianenko's return to the Strikeforce cage had anything to do with the UFC, White had more questions than answers.

"What's going on?" White asked. "Why isn't he fighting? That's weird."

And in typical eyebrow-raising fashion, White chose to leave more ambiguity than clarity in the ongoing saga surrounding "The Last Emperor."

"I don't know (if he has a contract with Strikeforce)," White said. "If he doesn't, that would be interesting, wouldn't it?"

Why am I posting all these cryptic comments from Dana White? It's not really that I am attaching much or any significance to his rumor-mongering regarding Fedor Emelianenko. No, I just wanted to point out for the record for my many readers who believe every word that comes from Dana White like it is received gospel.

The man is a fight promoter who is willing to manipulate the media and admits that he may take liberties with the truth on his own public statments (via Twitter) when it suits his business purposes.

There is nothing wrong with White doing this, it's what carnies do to get yokels to pay their money and come into the tent.

And there's nothing wrong with enjoying Dana White's product -- both the steak and the sizzle -- but there is something wrong with being a mark for his con.

The thing I'd like my readers to remember, is that this is all a part of the fight game. There are certain aspects of it that we should always take seriously -- fighter safety, the sanctity of fair competition, the need to interface with legal authorities in a responsible manner, etc -- but it's also a game.

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