UFC President Dana White hosted a conference call earlier today in preparation for the upcoming UFC 75: Champion vs Champion event set to take place on September 8th from London, England. The fighters featured on the call were UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Quinton Jackson, PRIDE Middleweight and Welterweight Champion Dan Henderson, Michael Bisping, and Matt Hamill through the use of an interpreter.
Dana White Announces the Release of Renato Sobral
White revealed during the beginning half of the call that the UFC had released Renato “Babalu Sobral from the remainder of his contract. This stems from an incident at this past weekend’s UFC 74 where Sobral failed to release an anaconda choke from the neck of David Heath after being instructed to do so by referee Steve Mazzagatti.
White also stated that if Sobral held onto an arm or a leg like he did to Heath’s neck for an extended period of time, the results would have been a lot worse. He noted that Sobral has been made aware of his release from the organization. White said that he would never rule out a possible return of Sobral to the UFC in the future and that despite the tone in previous interviews where he was asked about the Heath incident, he was always planning on releasing Sobral from his contract:
“Despite my tone in past interviews, I was always planning to release Babalu. I made up my mind right after the event was over,” stated White.
White discusses the UFC broadcasting PPV events on Spike TV and The Ultimate Fighter 6
White said that UFC 75 is on cable TV because he doesn’t want his events to be compared to boxing, where only the good fights are available for purchase on PPV. White also said that he made a mistake putting UFC 72 on PPV instead of on Spike TV because fans apparently tuned in later that night hoping to see the event because it was taking place overseas, similar to UFC 70. White also went on to state that fans should be crazy for UFC 75, especially the main event between Jackson and Henderson because both guys have already defeated Chuck Liddell and Wanderlei Silva.
White was very excited about the upcoming season of the The Ultimate Fighter and said that it may very well be the best season yet:
“Last season was the best season yet,” said White. “However this season coming up might be just as good if not better than last year.”
White Talks Henderson, Lesnar, Fedor, Barnett, Couture, Chonan, and Sherk
White said that he has no idea who the winner of Jackson-Henderson will fight after this. He congratulated Henderson for giving birth to his new daughter last night. White stated that whether or not he loses to Jackson at UFC 75, he will still be considered one of the top fighters in the middleweight division, an indictation that Henderson may drop down a weight class after this upcoming fight. White said that he had no idea whether or not Henderson would get an immediate shot at the winner of Anderson Silva-Rich Franklin because the middleweight division’s title picture isn’t clear at the moment.
White said that although he usually doesn’t take any professional wrestlers seriously when they say that they want to compete in MMA, he’s taking the possibility of Brock Lesnar entering the UFC very seriously:
“I’ve never taken any of the WWE guys serious but I take this guy for real. He’s a big strong guy, he’s a great wrestler and I actually think this guy can adapt to MMA and I think he can do well,” said White.
White said that he has been in talks with Fedor and his management team for months now. He also denied a report that the two sides were set to meet today.
When asked about Josh Barnett’s latest comments on him after his remarks at the UFC 74 post-fight press conference, White said the following:
“Nobody gives a shit about Josh Barnett, especially me.”
For those of you who were unaware of Barnett’s comments, here they are:
Let’s get straight to it and say that Randy did a phenomenal job at UFC 74 in defending his title. As a fan and a fellow Washingtonian I was happy to see him win. But as for the title itself—it still sits in my house. No one in UFC ever beat me for it, and as far as I am concerned, no one in the UFC can be the heavyweight champion until they take that belt off of me in the cage.
At the post fight press conference, Dana White said “there isn’t anyone in the world that can beat this guy” in reference to Randy. All this because Randy beat a guy that had less than ten fights and only one noteworthy win? That’s not even a world championship level fight, let alone reason to proclaim the winner as “unbeatable”. This comment was made even more ridiculous by the fact that I was standing right there, living proof that Randy Couture is definitely beatable.
“Unbeatable”, Dana says. If he actually believes that, I’m more than willing to step into the cage and prove him wrong. It wouldn’t even have to be for the belt. I already got the real belt. They can keep their pile of brass they purport as the UFC Heavyweight Title and put it on their next paper champ.
White noted that UFC Heavyweight Champion is most likely not going to compete again this year after suffering a broken arm in his fight with Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC 74. He stated that Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira will fight before the end of the year and the winner of that fight will most likely fight Couture early next year. White also noted that if Fedor was able to be signed in time, that he would probably automatically get a shot at Couture right away.
White said that the UFC has not signed Ryo Chonan despite the rumors.
White also said that he hasn’t decided what he is going to do if Sherk’s appeal with the NSAC is denied.
White Discusses PRIDE
White stated that he doesn’t know the official state of PRIDE at the moment and that the entire situation is far more complicated than anyone out there can actually realize. He stated that the promotion folded for a reason and that he is unsure if it will come back in the future due to the difficulty of doing business in Japan. White said that the current plan is to get as many former PRIDE fighters actively competing until they can get the situation figured out.
White said one idea they are currently discussing is the opportunity of shutting PRIDE down completely and bringing UFC events over to Japan in the future. When asked about the possibility of signing Denis Kang, White stated that they had participated in a round of contract talks but that he ultimately isn’t one of the PRIDE fighters that the UFC is interested in signing. White said that the only remaining that they are interested in would be Fedor.
Jackson Discusses Training and Henderson’s Win over Silva
Jackson stated that he mostly trained in Big Bear, California for the fight along with Bisping, Brandon Vera, and Cheick Kongo who will also be fighting on the card. He noted that he has trained harder for this fight than he has for any other but that it has nothing to do with the fact that he is the champion or that Henderson is his opponent.
Jackson also stated that he originally picked Henderson to beat Silva earlier this year:
As soon as I heard Dan was fighting Wanderlei I knew Dan was going to win. I’ve been knocked out by Wanderlei too, and I know you are a little gun shy coming back from a knock out, I don’t think it was the same Wanderlei after being beaten by Cro Cop.
Henderson Reveals Thoughts on Fight Against Jackson
Henderson stated that he realizes that Jackson has knockout power in his hands but that he will be able to avoid it and that it’s going to be a war. He said that he was a better wrestler and a better fighter on the ground compared to Jackson. He did give Jackson the edge in quickness and said that Jackson does have an explosive shot that is hard to stop.
Henderson said that training for anyone at the elite levels of MMA is tough and that Jackson is no exception. He said that Jackson is going to be tough in every aspect of the fight and he is expecting to go the distance with him.
Bisping Talks Hamill and Fighting in England
Bisping said that although it may seem like he absolutely hates Hamill, he really doesn’t have any hatred towards him and frankly he doesn’t have an opinion on him anyway. Bisping said that he is looking forward to fighting Bisping for three main reasons: Because Bisping is a talented wrestler and he wants to be able to prove to himself that he will be able to handle solid wrestlers in the future, because the fans want to see him fight Hamill, and because it’s the fight that the UFC gave him. Bisping also said that he wasn’t concerned with the fact that Hamill may be a step down in competition for him because he still believes that he is a dangerous opponent.
Bisping said that it is awesome he is getting a second chance to fight in England once again and that he enjoys it because his most of his fan base is in his native land.
Hamill Discusses Bisping and Striking
Hamill said that he isn’t very worried about Bisping overall except for his leg kicks. He also said that he has been training very hard on the feet for the last two years and that he is very confident in his hands.
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