Bill Reiter: Dana White Can’t Wrap His Arms Around UFC Anymore

Not every reporter loves every event he or she covers, but CBSSports.com’s Bill Reiter will be covering UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden this Saturday, and he’s not at all mad about it.

“I am far from a UFC expert, but I covered it for six or seven months and I’m a fan,” Reiter said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “I love the sport. I’ve been to every UFC fight since I moved to L.A. three years ago except for a few that weren’t very interesting. I do think Conor McGregor, for however long it lasts, is a transcendent figure. My wife is not a sports fan. She did not realize for a long time that the Super Bowl is just one game. She’s just not a sports fan. She knows who Conor McGregor is. So I wanted to come out, but had I not wanted to, they probably would have required me to.”

UFC 205 – the first UFC event in New York City – features a stacked card. McGregor will fight Eddie Alvarez, Tyron Woodley will fight Stephen Thompson, Chris Weidman will fight Yoel Romero, Frankie Edgar will fight Jeremy Stephens, and Miesha Tate with fight Raquel Pennington, among other showdowns.

Reiter has been amazed by how much UFC has grown in recent years.

“I spent three days with Dana White, it must have been four or five years ago, for a story,” Reiter recalled. “I went drinking with him. I went to dinner with him. I went up on a UFC event and stood on the stage, and when two fighters got in a scuffle, I got pushed back when you could do that stuff. I’m a Dana White fan. He built something from scratch. It’s obviously a $4 billion empire. But he was able to be a control freak. He was able to dominate and that was his dominion and to punish people. Like Frankenstein, I think he’s learned through the Ariel (Helwani) thing and I think he’s learned certainly through the Conor (McGregor) thing, he created something he can’t put his arms around anymore. He can steer it as best he can, and I think the Ariel move was the beginning of UFC operating like it used to and not understanding they’ve gotten too big to treat it like a Banana Republic.”

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