Dana White would love to talk about UFC 198, which will take place this Saturday in Brazil. Instead, he has to talk about selling the UFC – even though it isn’t being sold.
ESPN reporter Darren Rovell, however, has reported otherwise.
White isn’t happy about it.
“I think Rovell isn’t a big fan of facts and now he’s out there trying to clean up his story,” the UFC president said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “Seventy-five percent of what he put out yesterday was wrong.”
White, who found Rovell’s reporting irresponsible, said the two shared a “nice little text exchange,” which, based on White’s tone, didn’t seem too nice. White does not know whether Rovell will retract his initial report.
“We’ll see what happens,” White said. “I’m very fascinated to see how he plays this thing.”
Whatever Rovell does, there’s no denying these headlines have created quite the maelstrom.
“It’s actually pretty cool,” White said. “You know what’s funny? When Rovell came out with the story, his biggest thing was the richest guy in China right now (Wang Jianlin) is trying to buy this thing. I looked at my partner Lorenzo (Feritta) and said, ‘You know the richest guy in China has to be getting phone calls about this and he’s probably like, What the hell is the UFC?’
“I guess the good part of this thing is this,” White continued. “If you look at the Clippers and what a weird situation that was when that had to be sold and the big-time bidders that were involved in that – the thing went for $2 billion. People were like, ‘Wow, it went for $2 billion.’ When they’re throwing out $4-6 billion for this thing, no one’s really batting an eye at it. The fact that nobody is even flinching at that is pretty awesome.”
Which is why White, 46, is trying to keep the past 24 hours in perspective.
“This happens every once in a while,” he said. “Every once in a while, rumors come out about us selling and things like that. This rumor actually came out weeks ago before Darren Rovell and it was $6 billion. Now we’re down to $4 billion. So I lost $2 billion in the last two weeks.”
White was kidding with that last comment, by the way.
He also has no intention of selling the UFC.
“If you look at our history and things that we’ve done, we’ve always done things to grow the sport, further the company, more money for the fighters, health care for the fighters – the list goes on and on,” White said. “It’s always about taking the sport to the next level, and we have done strategic deals in the past to make that happen. So obviously we get bids all the time on the UFC. That’s nothing new. Plenty of people have come in and kicked the tires and checked the thing out, went through the numbers and everything else and made offers on the UFC – and we’ve turned them down.
“But this thing is so out of control now,” White continued. “People are saying now that we’re selling the UFC and that the Fertittas are buying the Raiders and bringing them to Vegas. . . . The Fertittas own casino companies. They couldn’t buy the Raiders. The thing is so crazy. It’s insane. But at the end of the day, everybody thinks I’m being defensive about it. I’m not. I’m not being defensive at all. It’s all good stuff.”