The MMA blogosphere is getting all riled up over a passage in BJ Penn's new book Why I Fight in which he describes just how tough the UFC can get in the negotiating process.
Here's the entry, courtesy of Michael Rome:
K-1 was offering me $187,500 per fight - five times what the UFC was offering - and I was still willing to stay with them for one-third of that amount. This was when the relationship took a turn for the worse, and my view of White changed drastically. From that point on, I knew when it came to money, we couldn't trust him to treat us right. Did I like him at the dinner table? Sure. But at the negotiating table? Not at all. The pressure to perform and safeguard other people's money had changed him, even though he was constantly bragging to anyone willing to listen about how 'big this thing was going to be.' Things between us would never be the same.
When it was finally official I was going to fight in Japan, White called me up and told me his true feelings. 'You motherfucker! You're fucking done! You'll never fight in the UFC again! You're finished. You're scorched earth, motherfucker. Scorched earth. Don't call me crying saying you want to come back because you're fucking done!' And on and on and on, like a true professional - even going so far as to tell me I would never see my face again in a UFC video, promotion, or anything else. He also planned on removing my fight with Hughes from the UFC 46 DVD so no one would even know who I was. 'It doesn't have to be this way,' I told him. 'You know it wouldn't take that much to make this work.' But he just kept yelling.
I'm going to ask a question here - and you won't have to think very hard to come up with the logical answer:
Why is everyone acting surprised that Dana White can be a pain in the @$$?
After all, this is the same man that:
1) Buries popular fighters on the undercard for not jumping to sign new contracts
2) Berates members of the media on a regular basis
3) Terrorized fighters for not signing away likeness rights
If you've read Why I Fight, you know that Dana White does not come across as a sympathetic character.
Rather, he comes across as exactly what we already think he is - tough-minded, cunning, and well-aware that running the world's most important MMA promotion gives him a lot of leverage in the negotiating process.
I am a big fan of Dana White, but he's a serious businessman, and that's why the UFC has thrived as rivals keep crashing the burning. It's easy to criticize Dana for being such a pain, but the reality is that not many people can relate to being the boss of a big, fast-growing, and complex operation.
So seriously blogosphere, don't pretend to be surprised at something that you already know to be true.
P.S. Read my full review of Why I Fight