UFC president Dana White is speaking out on the much-questioned interim heavyweight title fight booking between Derrick Lewis and Cyril Gane. And according to him, it’s something that’s already been discussed with reigning champion Francis Ngannou and his team.
White got heated with Ngannou’s manager Marquel Martin on social media last week, right after the news broke. He first addressed that in a recent conversation with UFC Arabia’s Farah Hannoun with a familiar line of reasoning.
Dana White addresses Francis Ngannou and how the #UFC265 interim heavyweight title fight between Derrick Lewis and Ciryl Gane came about. Full interview coming to @UFCarabia pic.twitter.com/aU8ewUULJT— Farah Hannoun (@Farah_Hannoun) July 6, 2021
I responded to his manager, but I wasn’t really talking about him. I was talking about the other guy that represents him. I really wasn’t talking about him. I was just responding to his thing where he was saying he was shocked by this.
He later stated that the said fight booking should’ve been expected since they’ve been talking about it “for weeks.”
I said, ‘that’s a bunch of bullshit, you guys aren’t shocked. We’ve been talking about this for weeks. You knew this was coming if we didn’t get a deal done.’ And it’s no different than anything else. This has happened a million times.
White then explained briefly how the business works and why Lewis vs. Gane “absolutely makes sense.”
What happens is, we run a business and we put on fights every Saturday night. And we needed to do that fight in Houston, we couldn’t get the deal done, so we did it. We did an interim title fight, which absolutely makes sense.
We’ve got Derrick Lewis, the number two-ranked guy in the world, Stipe’s number one. Stipe just lost.
Derrick Lewis actually beat Francis Ngannou, and Cyril came off that win that weekend. So you got the top two guys in the world — these are the top two guys in the world — to fight for the interim championship.
And when Francis is ready to go, after this fight, we’ll make the fight with the winner.
Such fight bookings that are heavily criticized are nothing new to the sport. But White says he knows what he’s doing and he wants to remind you of that.
“Why doesn’t everybody just shut the f—k up and let me do what I’ve been doing for the last twenty years?” White said in another interview with MMA Junkie. “If you want to fight, I’ve got fights every Saturday. If you don’t want to fight, no problem.
“Fly around the world, go on f—ng vacations and do whatever the hell you wanna do. And when you’re ready to fight, we’ll be here.”
Lewis vs. Gane headlines UFC 265 on August 7.