Dana White runs a business and when injuries happen and fighters have to pull out, the UFC then needs someone to fill in on short notice. But White seems frustrated with the trend where fighters are turning down his requests. White pretty much believes that real fighters will take any fight. And the ones that don't, well...
White was discussing the issue with Fuel TV's Ariel Helwani and mmaweekly.com after UFC 154, where he used the example of Cheick Kongo turning down his last 2 offers because White assumes Kongo turned the fights down because he didn't want to fight the opponents that were offered. Likely because he didn't want to lose.
While speaking with mmaweekly, White said:
"It’s a lot more normal with guys who are worried about losing," White explained. "Guys who are in a position where if they lose, you know what I mean? You’re either fighters or you’re not. If you win you win, if you lose, back to the drawing board.
"That’s the business you’re in. When you turn down a fight, you turn down a fight, and that’s two in a row (for Kongo). I don’t know who he’s waiting for."
While White further discussed the topic with Ariel Helwani saying:
"It's like...we're just at this time and place where I've been dealing with these guys for the last ten years. I've been doing this for thirteen years...there was a ten year run where guys didn't turn down fights. I mean, the biggest fight that was ever turned down in my first ten years was Tito not wanting to fight Chuck. Now, like every week, Kongo has turned down two fights in a row. We offered Kongo the fight with Roy Nelson and he refused to do it. And we offered him a fight before that and he refused to do it.
It's like, we're getting into this era now with these guys and yeah, it bothers me. And yeah, I don't like it. I kind of...you know...it turns me off to guys when they don't want to step up and take big fights.
I've been doing these interviews all week and I'm tired...I'm sick and tired of the accusations that Chael Sonnen is getting into things because he talks. Chael Sonnen gets big fights because he steps up and he takes fights on short notice. He's the kind of guy I've been dealing with since we bought the UFC. And you've got all these bitter babies out there crying like Dan Henderson. Dan Henderson, who's supposed to be friends with him, what are you crying about? You turned down the Jones fight twice. You had to pull out because of your knee. He said all you need is a couple of weeks, then I offered him the fight in Toronto. He turned down the Toronto fight too because of his knee. Are we supposed to sit around and wait for Dan Henderson?"
White's perspective is purely from a business standpoint and it's understandable, but what many fighters have learned recently when Jon Jones decided not to fight Chael Sonnen on less than a weeks notice, forcing the cancellation of UFC 151. Is that professional fighters don't have to risk their jobs to satisfy the boss, just like White makes decisions to protect and grow his business, fighters are now beginning to think for themselves, and are protecting their careers, which is their business. Look at Demarques Johnson, he stepped up and took his last fight on short notice which really helped the UFC more than himself, Johnson Lost the fight and his job, because that was also his 3rd loss in a row, not that the UFC cared that he stepped up for them, although he did come in 8 lbs overweight, which didn't help his case either. In regards to Kongo, he has gone on record saying he didn't turn down the Nelson fight because he didn't want to fight Nelson, he just simply did not want to fight Nelson on such short notice, he wanted more time to prepare.
This could be interpreted as a passive aggressive move by White which is purely meant to send a stern message to his stable of fighters. Which could mean these fighters who turn down fights may not get as many offers as they used to get.
Its also interesting to see White call Henderson a cry baby after turning down Jones twice, as he had no problem throwing his champ under the bus for not taking a last minute fight, and blaming the cancellation of UFC 151 on Jones when the real reason was Henderson waiting 3 weeks to notify the UFC of his knee injury, giving the promotion no time to deal with the issue, it was also a lesson learned by the UFC who were seemingly getting away with promoting weak cards that were being held up by only 1 good fight, which also played a big part of why UFC 151 was cancelled and why we are now seeing more and more stacked cards.
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