Dana White

Video: Jerry Millen Interviews Vadim Finkelchtein

In a three-part video series put out by M-1 Global (the first part is above), former PRIDE Fighting Championships executive and current M-1 Global USA Vice President Jerry Millen interviews Vadim Finkelchtein, the creator of the M-1 Challenge and the longtime manager of heavyweight king Fedor Emelianenko.

During the interview, Finkelchtein touches on a number of things, including comments made by UFC President Dana White regarding him and his clients as well as the future of his Russian-based organization. The first part of the interview is above and the remaining two parts are available after the jump.

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UFC Fight for the Troops Auction and VIP Experience

The UFC has put together a special auction to benefit the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund in conjunction with the upcoming UFC Fight for the Troops event on December 10.  For a special auction for VIP treatment, click the above video or visit the UFC VIP EXPERIENCE site for the details on this incredible item.  The current bid for the VIP experience is already over $33,000.

Here are the details on the general auction.

Las Vegas, NV (USA) – The Ultimate Fighting Championship® and Spike TV have launched an exclusive auction to make tickets available to the public for UFC® Fight For The Troops™. This special live UFC event will raise funds to build a hospital for traumatic brain injuries for the brave men and women in the United States Armed Forces. Thousands of soldiers from nearby Fort Bragg, the proud home of the U.S. Airborne and Special Operations Forces, will be in attendance, but now 30 members of the public also have an opportunity to watch the fight live.

This exclusive auction is being held through Ticketmaster.com and is ongoing now through Dec. 1st. Only 30 tickets will be available to the public, with bidding starting at $200 per ticket.

UFC Fight For The Troops will air live on Spike TV Wednesday, December 10 starting at 9:00 PM, ET. More information about the facility, including ways to donate, can be found online at http://www.fallenheroesfund.org or by calling 1-800-340 HERO

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UFC, Jon Fitch and AKA Come to Terms

Less than 24 hours after Jon Fitch was cut from his UFC contract, it was reported today by his management that they have come to terms.  Thus Jon Fitch’s free agency is over.

“Crazy” Bob Cook of Zinkin Entertainment and the American Kickboxing Academy told Sherdog.com about the process.

“We just spent an hour on the phone with Lorenzo [Fertitta],” said Cook, “and cooler heads have prevailed.”

When asked about the negotiations, Cook stated that Fertitta and UFC President Dana White were “on the same page” when it came to their goals but that their approaches were as different as night and day…

...Cook, who was singled out by White as part of the problem, stated Fertitta assured him the working relationship between their camp and White was salvageable.

As for the fates of welterweight contender Josh Koscheck and heavyweight prospect Cain Velasquez—both of whom were rumored to be next on the chopping block—as well as heavyweight Christian Wellisch, who was cut along with Fitch on Wednesday, Cook stated that all of the fighters have worked out agreements to remain with the UFC.

This is the exact type of scenario why Lorenzo Fertitta has taken on more of a role in the day to day operations of Zuffa, LLC.

This does not excuse Dana White’s actions in this case at all.  But at least in the end, a talent like Jon Fitch remains in the organization that hand down, has the majority of the best welterweights in the world today.

UFC Cuts Jon Fitch Among Others

Jon Fitch.  Photo courtesy of the UFC.

The UFC yesterday released #3 ranked welterweight contender Jon Fitch for failing to sign a document that gives lifetime rights to his likeness in any future video games.  The story, first broken by MMA Mania, is developing very quickly.  Apparently, Christian Wellisch has also been cut and fellow AKA treammates Josh Koscheck and Cain Velasquez are also on the chopping block following their upcoming fights. 

Fitch, who was defeated in a 5 round war with champion Georges St. Pierre in his last turn in the octagon, was completely taken by surprise by this move.  According to MMAWeekly...

“This is like over the course of two days, three days,” Fitch explained about the release. “It had to do with Dana (White) calling my managers and immediately saying, ‘we need to get him to sign this contract’ and ‘it’s a big favor to me.’ Then we asked him, ‘Why do you need this contract signed?’

“Then we finally asked, after reading through the contract, why can’t we negotiate for different terms? Because it asked me for a lifetime contract for the video games, so they would have exclusive rights to use our likeness for these video games and we couldn’t go and do any other video games ever again in our lifetime.”

Before anything was decided, Fitch says his managers tried to re-negotiate a different deal from the lifetime contract, but an ultimatum was soon made.

“So basically we said we weren’t cool with that deal and why can’t we do it for five or 10 years? Why does it have to be a lifetime deal? Their next response was, ‘either you guys are in or you’re out’ and ‘sign this or you’re going to get dropped from the UFC,’” said Fitch. “So we hear that and we didn’t even think they were serious. Why would you want to release fighters at our level over something like that? Doesn’t make any sense.

“Within two phone calls, it got to ‘sign this or you guys are out.’”

Dana White’s response was pretty typical of him.  On Yahoo Sports.

“We’re looking for guys who want to work with us and not against us, and frankly I’m just so [expletive] sick of this [expletive] it’s not even funny. Affliction is still out there trying to build its company. Let [Fitch] go work with them. Let him see what he thinks of those [expletives]. [Expletive] him. These guys aren’t partners with us. [Expletive] them. All of them, every last [expletive] one of them…. I’m not a douche bag and I do a lot for these guys, a lot more than any of you will ever know. We’re in a horrible time in the economy now, and every guy with two nickels to rub together is making a run at us. We’ve worked too hard, given too much, to let certain guys come in and [expletive] with that.”

White later toned down thhe rhetoric on the “Carmichael Dave” radio show.

“No, no, no. It has nothing to do with an agreement. It doesn’t have to do with Jon Fitch either. I like Jon Fitch. I’ve never had a bad word with Jon Fitch. The problem is with the idiots that run AKA. I won’t use any names; the idiots know who they are.”

I’m sure there will be a lot more to this story in the upcoming days.

MMA Live Episode 27

From ESPN, here’s this week’s installment of MMA Live with Jon Anik, Franklin McNeil, and Stephan Bonnar.  It features an in-studio appearance by UFC president Dana White to promote the upcoming UFC 91.

Dana White’s UFC 91 Video Blog Part II

Here’s the second part of Dana White’s video blog for UFC 91. The highlight of the video has to be the THQ developers showing Dana where the UFC video game is at in terms of progress so far. It looks amazing and I seriously can’t wait until it comes out.

White Talks Couture-Lesnar on ESPN

UFC President Dana White appeared on ESPN’s “First Take” today to discuss this weekend’s UFC heavyweight title bout between Randy Couture and Brock Lesnar.

Dana White’s UFC 91 Video Blog Part I

Here’s Dana White’s first video blog for this weekend’s UFC 91 event. I’m now convinced that White has reach beyond our knowledge and is like a celebrity venus flytrap. Watch the video to see what I mean.

White Thinks ‘TUF 9’ Format is “Dumb”

Dana White. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

In a new interview with The Sun UK, UFC President Dana White says that he’s not a fan of the announced format for the upcoming ninth season of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality show, which will pit fighters from the United States against those from the United Kingdom:

“It’s dumb, I don’t like it — it’s not USA v the UK, we’re looking for the best fighter in the world. We put on a card one time, the USA v Canada, it was f***ing retarded.


“You either like the guy’s fighting style or personality — nationality has nothing to do with it. We’re looking for the best fighters in the world — this country versus that country is irrelevant.”

It’s an odd quote because one would think that White would be involved in the production of the show. However a select few believe that it was and remains Spike TV that created and controls the series. White is right though - the concept is stupid and Spike executives shouldn’t be hoping that it’s going to be make ‘TUF’ interesting again, because it’s not going to help. The show has declined rapidly since the fourth season and without Junie Browning causing havoc this season, the ratings would likely have dipped to a record low.

In other Zuffa-related reality show news, World Extreme Cagefighting is currently in talks with Versus concerning a reality show of their own, which may or may not be similar to ‘TUF’ and will likely debut at some point next year.

Strikeforce Drawing Viewers on NBC

Beau Dure of USA Today has a piece mostly about Strikeforce, and how they’re on a slow and steady growth path.

Two of the most important points of the article:

Strikeforce announced last week that its Oct. 18 Strikeforce on NBC show drew more than 1.1 million viewers. The show airs late Saturday nights and is available in roughly 80% of TV markets, says the organization’s director of communications, Mike Afromowitz.

Over a million for a tape-delayed super-late night show is very good, no doubt.  In today’s “now” world that’s great for a small organization airing fights when they do.

What Strikeforce does not have is a nasty rivalry with UFC president Dana White, who danced on EliteXC’s grave last week and jabs away at pay-per-view rival Affliction. White says Strikeforce, a slowly expanding California promoter that is building on experience in kickboxing and other martial arts, runs a great business.

Make nice with Dana White and Zuffa, and the UFC won’t squash you.

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