I've criticized UFC President Dana White for other issues related to his appearance on Canada's TSN and quite frankly, I have hesitations about writing so much about an issue largely unrelated to UFC 97 two days before UFC 97. However, White's comments merit coverage. In essence, White lays bare the reasons for his repudiation of Sherdog.com and if he's telling the truth, they are extremely problematic.
During the interview, White claims his long running problems with Jeff Sherwood of Sherdog.com stem from a previous dispute over the sale of UFC DVDs on Sherdog.com. White contends Sherdog.com sold UFC DVDs after first purchasing them from the UFC itself. However, White said the UFC eventually found a new distributor for the DVDs, which wound up raising the prices for UFC DVDs. White finally contends that Sherdog.com (presumably he means Jeff Sherwood) threatened to either cover only PRIDE or spend more effort covering PRIDE than the UFC in retaliation (the details of White's contention are not clear based on the video alone) if the UFC did not keep the same price for DVDs before the new distributor was used.
I have requested an interview with Jeff Sherwood to talk about the issue on MMA Nation. If he accepts or declines, I'll let everyone know. Stay tuned on that front.
Up front, I say this candidly: I have no direct evidence for either White's assertion or Sherdog.com's contention that they don't understand why their credentials were yanked. On both counts I am assuming the most I'll be able to garner is what either party has to say. But clearly, if White's contentions are correct, the footing of the argument that Sherdog.com harbors a continued bias towards the UFC and Dana White will be immediately made sturdy. This doesn't need to be repeated, but I will just the same: it is horribly unethical for a news outlet to adjust their coverage against a party perceived to be unwilling to make business deals to the news outlet's advantage.
In my personal dealings with the folks at Sherdog.com (disclosure: I have written for them in the past), they've been nothing but friendly and professional. But White's comments cannot be regarded as dismissable promoter shtick. Even if he's exaggerating or lying, the seriousness of such a charge from a party ostensibly privy to the situation is, at a minimum, worth pursuit. To the extent I can find out what is and isn't reality, I will.
UPADTE 2: On the Carmichael Dave show Jeff Sherwood directly addresses the DVD claims. Sherwood says he never had any conversation with Dana White regarding White's allegations (or Sherwood's partner who helped run the Sherdog.com store). Sherwood also argues it financially would make no sense from a business perspective to not sell UFC DVDs. A must-listen interview.