UFC 158 Dana White scrum news: TRT, Helwani conflict, Herschel, Rousey, bonuses, Arlovski, tons more
Thursday, 14 March 2013 12:36
Photo: WrestlingObserver.comBy Josh Nason
The UFC 158 press conference was incredible enough -- a one man show starring Nick Diaz -- but the post-conference 'scrum' with Dana White answering questions for over an hour with reporters was a suitable co-main event in every sense of the term.
The real heat focused on White being drilled with questions about his stance on TRT, what the UFC is going to do for testing and why they aren't going to test for more types of drugs. White said that when someone files a TRT exemption, the UFC will test them throughout the pre-fight process to ensure that their levels don't spike out of control.
His goal is simple: to have all athletic commissions eliminate TRT exemptions for fighters. But it was when he was pressed by Ariel Helwani about why he stopped at TRT that things got a bit out of hand.
Helwani's point was that there are assumptions that fighters are taking other drugs, so why not be aggressive in additionally testing for those? White hit back, asking Helwani about what fighters he was referring to, demanding him to say names. Helwani said he wasn't going to do that and a clearly aggravated White kept on the attack.
"You give me a list of guys and I'll test them myself," White said.
This was the second time White went after Helwani Thursday, the first time at the onset of the presser about his line of questioning for Diaz. Kevin Iole of Yahoo also was asking questions about the UFC's drug testing policies and the whole matter, referring to cycling and the Lance Armstrong debacle. White engaged Iole about that as well with some tenuous moments.
The final drug test question came from a local reporter who asked White if he was aware that no fighter has ever tested positive for anything in the province of Quebec. White was not and didn't fall into the trap of follow-up questions as to what that says about the commission.
At the onset of the scrum, there was plenty of discussion about marijuana use, fueled specifically by Diaz's presser closing comments that he is essentially still smoking pot and that he's not sure why he hasn't been busted other times.
Here's some quick hitters (pun fully intended) from a newsworthy hour:
- When asked about the recent Matt Riddle cut after he was busted for marijuana use, White said he was cut because he was "a f**king idiot" and referenced recent Riddle comments about smoking pot so he wouldn't beat his kids. As to whether he'd be ever brought in again, White said that Riddle said he didn't care to come back. "We'll make it easy for him then," White said.
- Regardless of where he fights next, Vitor Belfort will not be able to escape TRT testing. Even if he fights next in Brazil or Las Vegas, he will still be tested per the UFC's aforementioned guidelines if they apply.
- White didn't rule out Herschel Walker fighting in the UFC, but did question whether commissions would let him fight due to age. He didn't say yes, but definitely didn't say no.
- On whether Ronda Rousey will fight next on "big" Fox, White said, "She's a pay-per-view star now. Plenty of people have seen her on TV." They have plans for her, but didn't say what they were.
- He talked about how the Mark Hunt/Junior dos Santos fight came about and how he smoothed out issues Hunt had going back to the initial Pride deal that almost saw him paid for not fighting. White didn't back off the statement about Hunt turning down the fight however.
- White hasn't heard anything new on Josh Barnett and that last he heard, he and Joe Silva were still negotiating.
- On Silva, he does the majority of the fighter contracts with White and Lorenzo Fertitta stepping in on some.
- The fights that will be on the newly-branded Fox Sports 1 are not extra events in addition to Fuel. However, White said "But..." and then stopped.
- All bonuses are indeed $50,000 from here on out, more fair to fighters regardless of what event they compete at. Could he go above that like he did at UFC 129 with $129k bonuses? "I can get as crazy as I want to get," White said.
- On the future of Dominick Cruz as champion, White said, "We need to get him in Vegas to talk." That didn't mean an automatic stripping of the belt, but that they really need to figure out his immediate health and future. As for current interim champ Renan Barao wanting to wait for Cruz, that isn't going to happen.
- On whether Benson Henderson vs. Gilbert Melendez will be pushed as a champion vs. champion fight, it's up to Melendez if he wants to come out and wear his Strikeforce 155-pound title. "He's a champion," White said.
- He admitted that while he doesn't watch Bellator (and never has), he does keep an eye on their ratings. He said he has watched two World Series of Fighting bouts.
- When asked about the possibility of Andrei Arlovski coming back to the UFC with a big win over Anthony Johnson at the next WSOP event, he didn't feel that was a "legitimate fight" as Johnson is really a 170-pounder. He mentioned that Arlovski left in the right way, but that fight "isn't going to make us say holy shit." He was complimentary of Johnson, but said he can't make weight to save his life.
- He has no update on Eddie Alvarez and thought he was already booked for Bellator. He said he had heard that, but was intrigued that nothing was announced or booked yet.
- He's doing ok with his Meniere's disease and they want him to do the next version of the surgery (cut nerve?).- Thursday Column: Hipsters, Diaz's Final Stand, GSP x 3
Josh Nason is in Montreal all week, covering UFC 158 for Wrestling Observer. Follow him on Twitter for updates from the road, daily columns and videos.