Fabricio Werdum beat Cain Velasquez at UFC 188 in Mexico City this past Saturday, using a guillotine choke to secure a third-round submission.
Werdum, however, made more headlines before the fight than after it, as he publicly questioned Velasquez’ Mexican heritage. Werdum, who is Brazilian, argued that he is more Mexican than Velasquez, who is from California.
Bickering in the media is of course good business for the UFC – and any combat sport – but are there ever moments, such as this one, that make the higher-ups cringe?
“No, listen, it’s a fight,” UFC president Dana White said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “When two guys are fighting, most of the time they’re pretty cool, but some of the times they don’t like each other. It’s the fight business. Listen, when they don’t like each other, it makes the fights a lot more fun, I can tell you that.”
Damon Amendolara wondered whether UFC fighters receive media training, whether certain topics shouldn’t be broached, whether there’s a level of taste that White doesn’t want the business to delve into. Or is everything just fair game?
“Everything is fair game,” White said. “It’s a fight. Everything is fair game when it’s a fight. Anybody who follows the sport knows most of the guys here are super respectful of each other and things like that. But every once in a while, it’ll pop up where guys don’t like each other and it’s so rare here that it’s actually a lot of fun.”
The UFC does a better job than most, if not all, sports of generating buzz, creating excitement and building stars. So, who are the fighters we should be watching out for?
“This kid Yair Rodriguez that just fought on Saturday in Mexico? Unbelievable. Incredible up-and-coming talent,” White said. “But I would have to say the hottest, most exciting guy in the business right now – and probably in sports – is Conor McGregor from Ireland.”
McGregor, 28, is 17-2 (15 KOs) and has won 13 consecutive fights. He will fight Jose Aldo (25-1, 14 KOs) at UFC 189 in Las Vegas on July 11. Aldo hasn’t lost in 10 years.
White, who called it a “massive fight,” was asked for a pick.
“I don’t have a pick,” he said. “I’m picking the fans win this one with an amazing fight. Conor McGregor has this style where he will go right after you and try to take your head off, and when you fight Jose Aldo like that, you’re going to see the best Jose Aldo ever.”