Dana White Talks Kazushi Sakuraba, UFC Professionalism After the Fox Deal

via cdn2.sbnation.com

Dana White was a guest on Mauro Ranallo's MMA Show (the continuation of his former Fight Show), and had two big guests for the first episode. Frank Shamrock and Dana White. Shamrock didn't have much interesting to say, other than discussing why he didn't fight Kazushi Sakuraba in Pride and why he wanted to die in the ring (you can read that here if you feel like it). However, Dana most definitely did have some interesting stuff to say. He started off with his opinion on Saku (transcribed by Zach Arnold of FightOpinion):

"I’m a huge Sakuraba fan. The problem with the Sakuraba story is, Sakuraba should have fought at 170 pounds instead of doing all these Japanese freak show fights where they got him destroyed by guys who were two weight classes heavier than him. So, it goes unanswered whether Kazushi Sakuraba could have been the greatest fighter to ever come out of Japan. The Japanese ruined him!

"It’s just like any other sport that starts out in the beginning. Guys that were great that you try to compare ‘em to different eras and, you know, like I told you — (I’m a) huge Sakuraba fan and it’s unfortunate that his career wasn’t handled in the right way where we could have found out if this guy was possibly the best fighter ever in Japanese history and I don’t disagree with you at all that he was a huge superstar and definitely put, you know, it on the map, not only in Japan but in the rest of the world."

Mauro wasn't pulling any punches with his questions, and moved on to ask about the recent glut of, for lack of a better term, controversial stuff that has been said by UFC fighters recently. Specficially, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira saying he wouldn't roll with gays, Michael Bisping using the term gay, etc. He wanted to know, now that the UFC is on Fox, if there is going to be a "changing of the culture" in the UFC. Dana mostly sidestepped it by talking about Fox itself, but he did reference his own troubles with the subject at hand:

"Yeah, listen, we’re in the fight business. Obviously… the last thing we want to do and even the stuff that’s happened with me, and really in the last 10 years there’s been one thing that I’ve regretted and apologized for and, uh, it was taken out of context. It wasn’t a homophobic slur but… this is the fight business, man."

...

"I think that people need to stop taking themselves so seriously and… it is what it is.

"I mean, look at Fox as a network. Fox is an edgy guy’s network. Family Guy, exactly, Family Guy and if you look at the programming on FX, their stuff is edgy. It is what it is, you know… some people are going to get offended and some people are going… if you don’t like it, don’t watch it. Guess what? We live in a day and age where there’s 390,000 channels. You don’t like what we got on? Change the channel and watch something else."

He's obviously referencing his video where he chewed out Loretta Hunt and used all sorts of language that was classified by many as homophobic. It's amusing how he just quickly passes it off with the generic "b-but it's the fight business!" as if that's an answer for everything. Should the UFC be cleaning up their act a bit and reining their fighters in to a degree now that they're on network TV? And did the Japanese really ruin Saku by having him fight bigger guys? My answer to both is no, but I'm guessing I'm the minority on at least one of them.

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