MMA Nation's Luke Thomas attended UFC on Versus 6 in his hometown of Washington, D.C. as press last night. One of the great things that comes with media credentials is the opportunity to speak with and take in the Dana White media scrum before and after the events to get the UFC head honcho's thoughts on the fights and the immediate future of the organization.
In the above video White talks about Dominick Cruz's ability to overcome a broken hand and win his championship fight. Luke asks what Dana thinks it will take to build Cruz into a marketable fighter. Dana's response is pretty great regarding Cruz's future:
I thought he looked great tonight. He looked like a well rounded fighter. Especially when you know he fought the entire fight with a broken hand. It's just gonna take time. Some people will love him and some people will hate him. Look at how awesome "Bones" Jones is. You have all kinds of people talking sh*t about him. It's weird.
White also speaks about the issues the UFC has faced when trying to build the sport on the East coast:
The East Coast market is one that we're still cultivating. There's a lot of fans down here but it's different than the mid-West or the West coast or down South. One of the things I say traditionally about the East coast, I always use Boston as the example. But you can go Boston, New York, Chicago, Philly, all of them. These kids grow up Red Sox, Celtics, Patriots. They're into these sports and teams that they grew up on. And the UFC breaking into these East coast markets, we're still working on it.
This is an interesting point. I grew up on the East coast and I can say I was raised to be a stick&ball sport fan. I became a Knicks fan early on and fell in love with baseball and football because I had major market teams in the Tri-State area. I've never really given much thought as to why the mid-West is more open to MMA.
A second video after the jump...
SBN coverage of UFC on Versus 6: Cruz vs. Johnson
Part two picks up where part one leaves off. Snooki was in the building but some Capital Hill senators were in the building to see the fights. The first question is pretty telling as to the UFC's opinion on fighters and if Pat Barry will have another shot in the UFC. In Dana White's words:
We like guys who are exciting and guys that come out and fight. Pat is a guy that we do like. He's one of the guys that always brings it. It's like people saying "you're cutting Dan Hardy". Dan Hardy comes to fight and always puts on wars. I like those Arturo Gatti type fighters. The guys that are always bringing it. That's what this is about. When you're a fight fan you tune in to see fights and I like people that do it.
The full interview is worth a listen.