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Will Dana White Indirectly Affect Interest in Josh Koscheck vs. Georges St. Pierre Showdown?

Are Josh Koscheck and Dana White going to end up feuding like Dana and Tito? Doubtful, but White's comments could affect appeal.
Are Josh Koscheck and Dana White going to end up feuding like Dana and Tito? Doubtful, but White's comments could affect appeal.

Following Josh Koscheck's recent victory over Paul Daley at UFC 113 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Koscheck sent a message to the fans. That message, in summary form, was that Koscheck didn't care what a few thousands mixed martial arts fans in the Great White North thought about his performance or who he was as a fighter. In fact, he took a proverbial "crap" on one of Montreal's most coveted possessions during the month of May, a Montreal Canadiens hockey team embroiled in a "Cinderella" run at the Stanley Cup, as well as predicting he would defeat current UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre.

The reaction among fans not in Montreal was fairly predictable. "That's just Koscheck being Koscheck", or "He's creating the perfect heel persona, and it'll sell to the fans.", or "He's just a <insert profanity>". Dana White's response fell on the latter of those statements as he was quoted by Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports as not exactly being a fan:

"I’m no Josh Koscheck fan," White said Tuesday. "Personally, I think he’s [expletive]. We actually don’t get along very well."

White also appeared on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani of recently, and he expressed a few more attributes that he dislikes about Koscheck (transcribed by

"It’s not like me and Koscheck are buddies. Don’t think that Koscheck came out of The Ultimate Fighter and we’re buddies and I’m looking out for Koscheck. I think Koscheck is as much of a dick as anyone else does. We have no beef. It’s — he’s not a team player. His personality — you’re never going get along with Koscheck and hang out and be good buddies with him. Just can’t. He’s not that type of guy. It’s not a bad thing. It’s who he decides to be. It doesn’t mean I can’t do business with him. But I’ll tell you this, I respect Koscheck as a fighter. I think that he’s getting better and better every time he fights. He goes out there and goes after it."

The Las Vegas Review-Journal was able to get a rebuttal from Josh Koscheck, although it was much more reserved that we'd expect from Koscheck:

"Dana White doesn't like me, apparently. That's what he says. I'm not a team player. I don't understand how he can say that. To go on record and say that, I think that's a bunch of (expletive)," Koscheck said. "I'm the type of fighter that steps up and fights anybody, anytime, anyplace. I've taken short-notice fights for him. I always do whatever I'm asked.

"I'm going to prove I'm a team player by winning the show and the welterweight title."

"I always use this analogy because I respect Dennis Rodman and what he did. He was one of the best rebounders in the NBA, but he didn't really get noticed until he started acting like a crazy man," Koscheck said. "At the end of the day, I've got to do things for myself and my business to make money so I don't have to work. It's not like we're getting paid $50 million or $60 million a fight like (Floyd) Mayweather."

Strangely, I have to side with Koscheck here. Koscheck stepped in on two weeks' notice to battle a powerful striker in Thiago Alves, a fight in which Alves gained a title shot in victory. He turned around and fought less than two months later on the UFC: Fight for the Troops card in which he completely destroyed Yoshiyuki Yoshida with a pair of devastating overhands. Another two months, another fight... losing in somewhat controversial stoppage to Paulo Thiago at UFC 95. He also similarly went on a short stint of fights as he beat both Frank Trigg and Anthony Johnson within a two month time span in September and November of 2009.

The most interesting part about Koscheck today is that he's changed from an one-dimensional wrestler to a fighter who has the potential to produce highlight reel knockouts. My own appeal to Koscheck started in the lead-up to UFC 82 in which he was scheduled to fight Dustin Hazelett. Much more reserved, Koscheck chose to let actions speak louder than his words. And the trend has seemed to continue with success.

Dana White's public feud with Tito Ortiz years ago is probably much more of game changer in terms of creating some drama around a fight indirectly, but White's recent comments certainly add extra motivation for Koscheck. Not only are the odds-makers and fans against him in believing he can take out Georges St. Pierre, but the UFC's own president believes Koscheck isn't a team player. Perhaps those comments lie in the belief he should fight his own teammates at the request of the UFC?

As Jake Rossen pointed out via ESPN MMA's blog, perhaps these comments are a way in which White is trying to create another layer of drama during the taping of The Ultimate Fighter season 12. The small disagreement in how Koscheck has acted with the promotion could certainly explode in front of the cameras, potentially bringing fans to the side of Koscheck or St. Pierre indirectly.

I suppose we'll find out when the next season airs, but I can't help but wonder if White is putting himself into the spotlight to add more to this fight. It certainly is a smart idea in terms of ratings, but I imagine there will be some backlash from the media. After all, there is a lot of coverage that points out the fact that the fighters should be first and foremost, not the president of the promotion. I can't exactly blame White if it adds to his bottom line though.

I doubt we'll see a feud between Koscheck and White explode in to full on hatred for one another, but I imagine if something does happen during the taping -- the lead-up to St. Pierre vs. Koscheck could be very appealing to all fans. Fans will more than likely already be interested, but anyone who has written off St. Pierre as a "lay n' prayer" or Koscheck as a jerk will still tune in to either see St. Pierre defeated or Koscheck defeated. It's the Tito Ortiz school of marketing yourself at its finest.

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