Dana White: Franklin Turned Down Gustafsson, Overeem Pulled out of HWGP

via api.ning.com

Dana White did a long interview with AOL a couple of days ago that covered a wide variety of topics including Rich Franklin, Tito Ortiz, Alistair Overeem, Ross Greenburg leaving HBO, meeting with Vince McMahon, and a lot more. Here are some of the most relevant parts of the interview:

On Rich Franklin being removed from UFC 133:

"Well it wasn't that we decided to take him off the card. We were looking at other opponents and you know, we had another opponent for Rich, but Rich didn't want to take that fight. He said 'you know what man, I'm at a stage of my career where I only wanna fight the top of the heap, fight the top name guys.' I don't blame him. You know, we're looking to make a new fight and we have people available and an opponent there, you know, I expect that you should take that opponent but I don't disagree with Rich's position on it."

"Who was the opponent?"

"It was (Alexander) Gustafsson."

After discussing the Lyoto Machida situation where he asked for "Anderson Silva" money and dodging a question about what "Anderson Silva money" actually means monetarily, he moves on to Tito Ortiz taking the fight at UFC 133 instead, and whether Tito asked for anything in exchange for taking the fight:

"Did Tito come back and negotiate some type of new deal to take this fight with Rashad Evans at UFC 133? No he did not."

The topic switches to the Alistair Overeem-Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix saga, where Overeem was taken out of the tournament due to a conflict with the September 10th date that his semi-final matchup would take place. White has a bit of a different version of the story than Overeem does:

"Showtime picked the date for September, they control the dates and that's when they want to have it. They told us he had to pull out of the tournament. Just to clarify because I've seen on twitter where they're saying that he's been "taken out of the tournament." Why the hell would we take Alistair Overeem out of the tournament? He said he couldn't compete because he hurt his toe."

Regarding Overeem's comments from a few days ago about being forced out of the tournament by Zuffa and feeling disrespected, Dana had a pretty concrete response:

"That's up to him and his camp. They decided to pull out of this fight, and it has nothing to do with us. He was never strong-armed or bullied or disrespected in any way, shape, or form."

He went on to say that he has no input into the day-to-day operations of Strikeforce, and Overeem's camp was negotiating with someone from Strikeforce. Golden Glory started calling Dana and tried to figure it out with him, but Dana said they're not trying to get around Strikeforce and into the UFC. Regarding Strikeforce fighters jumping, he made it clear that it won't be happening due to the contract with Showtime. But he couldn't resist making a comment in regards to Alistair wanting to fight a Klitschko brother:

"I think it's a really, really bad idea. It's not what he does. And to be honest with you, not to disrespect him or whatever, you asked me a question and I'm gonna tell you the truth - his hands didn't look that good against Werdum. You think you're gonna go out there and box the Klitschkos?"

After some Klitschko and boxing talk, he spent some time talking about Ross Greenburg leaving HBO and mentions that Zuffa had a deal with HBO a long time ago:

"We had a deal. We had a deal done, and every bone in my body told me that the deal wasn't right, so we bolted."

And finally, he talked about his meeting with WWE owner Vince McMahon:

"I like Vince McMahon. Last time we met was probably two years ago, we had breakfast in Vegas. I just wanted to bounce some stuff off of him, I wanted to talk to him. So I called him up and asked him what he was doing and asked if I could swing by, and he said yeah. Plus, I'd never been to their headquarters before, so that was pretty cool."

What did they talk about?

"We shot the sh*t about business and other things and what they're doing, what we're doing and stuff like that."

As always, interesting stuff from Dana. You can catch the whole video after the jump.

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