There was considerable outcry from fans when Dana White announced that The Ultimate Fighter season one runner up Stephan Bonnar would be joining his rival Forrest Griffin in the UFC Hall of Fame. He spoke to Kevin Iole yesterday and defended that decision.
White's argument essentially comes down to his claims that Zuffa was finished with the UFC if the Griffin-Bonnar fight hadn't saved the franchise. Here's what he told Iole:
"This was our last $10 million," White said. "This was it. It was over. Our last $10 million, and Lorenzo says, 'None of these guys are going to fight.' I'm like, 'What? I'm on my way over there right now.' That's where the whole, 'Do you want to be a [expletive] fighter thing' came from.
"This thing was OVER," he literally shrieked. "It was the end of my [expletive] life. OK? It was [expletive] over. Now, people think I went over there like some tough guy. No. My life was about to be over, all right? And I said, 'If you don't want to fight, then I'm throwing down with all you [expletive] guys. I was going crazy, man.
"I don't think people realize, really, really realize, what that one fight meant to this sport and this company. I look at it as, I'm inducting Forrest, and Stephan goes with him. It wasn't just Forrest. Both of those guys took us to this next level. He's being inducted for that one fight that took this thing to the next level.
"Nobody knows more than me how much that fight meant," White said. "For us, that fight meant everything, and I never forget it."
Meanwhile former champions like Frank Shamrock and Don Frye languish unrecognized by the UFC Hall of Fame and a two-time steroid cheat like Bonnar is inducted.