If there was a downside to the UFC's first Fox show, for me it wasn't the short length of the Heavyweight title fight between Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos. Instead it was Dana White's apparent burial of Cain Velasquez as a fighter and his failure to build up Junior Dos Santos in his win, either, in his post fight show remarks.
Maybe Dana White and co. had hoped the fight would go longer, but then he was the one who kept saying it didn't matter if it went 30 seconds or 30 minutes because of his faith in the fighters delivering. Junior Dos Santos' knockout power delivered in spades.
Matthew Roth touched on Dana White's comments in his Post Fight analysis, and provided a transcript of the particular comments that quite a few others took issue with. To his credit, White admits up front he's not a coach or strategist but his words as the very public figurehead of the UFC will always carry weight in influencing the opinion of new and casual fans.
When Dana White says "I don't understand why they didn't go for the shot early" and "They should have shot in on Junior Dos Santos knowing that he has the power early in the fight ...", to the uninitiated he makes it sound like it's all too obvious and that Cain Velasquez is a fighting simpleton. As if shooting in for a takedown with no setup has no consequence, as if a well timed knee or uppercut could never happen. We know these possibilities and the benefit of setting up takedowns using strikes, but the brand new fans the UFC were going after only have Dana White's word to go on.
White then says almost immediately afterwards "But the truth is that Junior Dos Santos gets tired at the end of fights, you know?". He's just told this new audience that could help the UFC's growth that the new Heavyweight champion isn't physically fit enough to go the distance. That's not exactly a glowing endorsement of a fighter you're meant to be marketing and making money off of, nor does it help a fighter build a bigger fanbase so they can financially benefit as well. White spends more time on what Velasquez did wrong than what Dos Santos did right and it benefits neither man or the UFC in general.
With Pay Per View buys being significantly down year on year due to obvious factors like the lack of Brock Lesnar and Georges St Pierre, the UFC needs to do a far better job promoting its other fighters as it can not afford its mouthpiece stripping them of their value because of the lack of thought that goes into his opinion. Yes, Dana White prides himself on his honesty and frankness and No, I don't expect him to completely bullshit the audience if there's a bad fight or if a fighter under-performs. But when he puts more effort into being a character witness to defend a fighter that slips up using Social Media than he does in making people want to watch the former and current Heavyweight champion fight again, it's clear his energy as a spokesman often isn't focused where it needs to be.
After the page-break, Matthew Roth's transcript of the comments in question.
Listen, I'm no strategist and I'm nobody's coach but I don't understand why they didn't go for the shot early. They should have shot in on Junior Dos Santos knowing that he has the power early in the fight and tries to knock you out. But the truth is that Junior Dos Santos gets tired at the end of fights, you know? Here he is standing right in front of him trying to trade and bang with Junior Dos Santos and gets hit with that big right hand right behind the ear and down he goes. Down goes his heavyweight championship. I'll say it again, not saying that I'm some strategy coach but I don't know why they wouldn't take the shot on him and wrestle early.
It's one thing to feel a fight out but when you're standing right in front of a guy that you know his biggest weapons are his hands and he can knock you out and this thing is a five round fight. Get in there and start working him. Stay busy and put him against the fence. Rough him up and tire him out a little bit and bring it into the later rounds where Junior Dos Santos is well known for getting tired.