Making the UFC 133 Rashad vs. Tito fight, behind the scenes

by Brian Hemminger | source:

During a special UFC 133 conference call, UFC President Dana White detailed what went on behind the scenes when Phil Davis' knee injury forced him out of his headlining bout vs Rashad Evans at UFC 133.

We found out Phil Davis was hurt last week and we had him set up for an MRI.

We called Tito about replacing him and Tito said he had personal issues.

We called Machida, he was excited about it.

Davis' MRI results came back and we pulled him. He couldn't kickbox for 2 1/2 weeks in the preparation for the fight and we couldn't do that to him and we knew we had Machida ready so we pulled him out.

Phil Davis has a strain or a sprain, not a tear.

Could Phil have continued? Yes. But he couldn't continue at full strength. He's a young kid, he's undefeated and he could have totally blown it out and gotten even more hurt a week before the fight instead. He wanted to continue to fight. He'll be back as soon as he's 100% against a top 10 guy in the light heavyweight division.

We called Machida back and he said he wanted Anderson Silva money and I told him he hadn't accomplished anything yet like Anderson.

 It was the last thing on Earth that I expected because he's been terrorizing me about fighting as much as possible and that was his response. Totally shocked me.

It would have been more professional for Machida to say he couldn't do it because of short notice, but he didn't.

Never have I had a guy accept a fight and then make demands like "We want Anderson Silva money." Anderson has gone undefeated in the UFC since 2006, he's broken every record in the UFC, he went up to 205 and dominated there and he's cleaned out the middleweight division and you want his money? I don't know how you put a word on that. People lose their minds sometimes and get crazy. Maybe his camp did that and he didn't even know. He was telling me that all he wanted to do was get in there and fight as soon as possible and he had the opportunity. We'll leave it at that.

I had no inclination that Tito would reconsider. He was never an option for me and then he called me and asked if I had someone for the fight. I asked him if he was interested and he said he'd talk to his guys and call me back tomorrow. He didn't say why he changed his mind, I'm just happy he did. I wanted to get off the phone as quickly as possible before he changed his mind again.

Tito called back that night and we accepted him.

Our next plan was Vladimir Matyushenko, who's also on the card. His only loss in his last six fights is to Jon Jones. We wanted Rashad to get a fight and I think Vlad would have stepped up.

Tito Ortiz did not ask for any more money. He accepted the deal in his contract. Tito stepped up. I saw a lot of the questions that the fans were asking, this was a hot topic about Tito. He didn't go for more money. He got the same exact deal that he has on his contract. There was a lot of talk about Tito after that last fight about how much he got paid. We told Tito we were going to cut him and he's been around for a long time. We didn't renegotiate his money and I thought it was going to be his last fight and he was going to lose to Bader and he surprised him.

Tito stepped up and he won't be cut if he loses.

Tito was never my ultimate f------ guy. He always went the other way and in my opinion, would step over dollars to pick up dimes and he's now stepping up and taking fights. I think part of it has to do with knowing that window is starting to close and he feels he made some bad decisions in his life and earlier in his career and he's trying to make up for that now.

He's been a one dimensional fighter his whole career because he could be. He was so good at taking people down and smashing you that he didn't have to do anything else. He's got really good jiu-jitsu though. He almost submitted Machida and then he submitted Bader. He looked in fantastic shape in his last fight.

If Tito beats Rashad, he'll have beaten a top 10 guy in Bader and then the number one contender. He'd definitely be in the mix. I wouldn't say he'd be number one contender but he'd be top three.

When I was bouncing around names, Tito Ortiz, Machida, (Rashad Evan's) answer was, "I don't care who you get, who the opponent is, I'm in and ready to fight."

Rashad is hungry. I've had my moments with Rashad. I had a thing with him about turning down fights and waiting for Shogun's knee to heal. This guy had a knee surgery and he's waiting on the sidelines waiting for him to heal. Then he gets injured, and the fight never happened.

I'm a huge believer in ring rust. It's 100% true. Fighting is what keeps you in shape. I like guys to fight three times a year and that's my big beef with Rashad. This is the absolute perfect fight for Tito Ortiz, just coming off a big win and having his confidence high.

There's no doubt that Rashad is next in line. He turned down a fight that he should have taken 1 1/2 years ago and he's had a horrible streak of luck since. Every opponent he's had has been injured. He's been training for this fight and we couldn't pull him out.

I say Rashad is all the same things about Ryan Bader. He's faster, a better wrestler and got quicker hands than Tito right now, but who knows what's going to happen.

I think the storyline for this fight is exciting. Rashad's had a string of bad luck and Tito's coming up with his Cinderella story. You've got Rich Franklin and Little Nog and Vitor Belfort with Akiyama so we've got a great card.

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Listen to entire conference call...

Image courtesy of Arias Garcia

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Recent Comments »

JeffersonDArcyChoke site profile image  

7/16/11 9:28 PM by JeffersonDArcyChoke

Why is stepping up so honorable?Think about it. You took off work for your two week vacation. Boss calls and says Phil tore his hamstring and he needs you back at work on Monday. Umm. I'm on vacation eating funnel cakes with my kids?Do you want to be a fucking auto parts salesman?Ok. Pay me manager pay or give me an extra week vacation or double time for me coming back when I'm not scheduled. No fucking way. You aren't the manager. He sold widgets for 30 years to get there. See?In the real world if the boss expects YOU to do him and the company a favor; YOU expect your boss to do the same for you be it extra pay, days off, tickets to a game, fancy dinner, etc. No way you agree to work triple shifts for no extra pay because you want to "step up".

Madmuzzy site profile image  

7/16/11 9:21 PM by Madmuzzy

are u? how is vlad top 5 he's barely top 10

BrunoMcGyver site profile image  

7/16/11 7:58 PM by BrunoMcGyver


The Notorious OMG site profile image  

7/16/11 7:46 PM by The Notorious OMG

what dana's going to conveniently leave out is of course, what changed on the UFC's end when the actual contract showed up.things like the UFC wanting Machida to move his camp to the US for the next few weeks instead of training in Brazil.things like that cost money.

fightharder site profile image  

7/16/11 1:21 PM by fightharder

 Obviously, But why would Dana lie about something that is easily to check up on. Machida already admited to demanding the extra money (basically he did not want the fight because the notice was to short). I really do not understand why he did not used the visa argument with Dana (even if it is an excuse it would leave a more favorable impression with Dana then the money thing,which was a really dumb gamble),though. Anyways i like Vladdie but a match-up between him and Evans would just have been kind of silly. I mean Jones swept throught the guy and he is not even top five in the division. I am glad the got Tito because,even though he isn't either,he at least showed he has to tools to hang with Evans. So respect for Tito that he stepped up. And even though i do not give him much of a chance all it might work in his favor since i was completely off the mark in the Bader fight as well.

AceAtGSU site profile image  

7/15/11 12:56 PM by AceAtGSU

First off I will say I think the Machida thing stems from Machida's management and not him personally. That being said my problem is not with wanting more money, my problem is accepting the fight and then when it comes time to ink the deal saying you want more money and trying to strong arm someone. If you want more money for the fight say it up front.Obviously this is all based on what Dana is saying.

atikiN site profile image  

7/15/11 12:55 AM by atikiN

LOL at all this UFC Drama. I hope Machida hits Dana with a chair during his on air pitch on Spike, then Brock can run out and chase off Machida. Thats when the rest of the Blackhouse gang can come out and the two sides can snarl at one another.

BrockTheBearLesnar site profile image  

7/15/11 12:22 AM by BrockTheBearLesnar

He paysdominick peanuts shit the guy is the bantam weight champion

Sean The Saint site profile image  

7/14/11 11:52 PM by Sean The Saint

What you don't realize is Machida's camp verbally agreed to the fight at his current contractual obligations and I am sure there would have been bonus money for taking the fight on short notice.  Three days later, when they officially offered the fight, Machida's camp asked for more money, thus putting the fight in jeopardy...which we all know pisses Dana off.  Never bite the hand that feeds you, especially if it is DFW.  

JBob300 site profile image  

7/14/11 10:25 PM by JBob300