White: I have no power what so ever over the commission
Saturday night following GSP’s split decision victory over Johny Hendricks in the main event of UFC 167, UFC president Dana White directed the verbal equivalent of Wanderlei Silva’s knees at the Nevada State Athletic Commisison.
“Nevada is a very scary place,” said White. “This is the worst commission on the planet. I’m afraid to bring fights to Las Vegas.”
“The governor needs to step in and fix the incompetence that is happening in the state of Nevada that used to be the best commission in the world. It’s absolutely, 100 percent incompetence, and it needs to stop. I’m f–-ing scared to come back here and do fights. I’m afraid of this state.”
“I think the Nevada State Athletic Commission is atrocious. I think the governor needs to step in immediately before these guys destroy the sport like they did boxing.”
“This is our hometown, this is where we live, and our athletic commission is the weakest commission in the country. When you start looking at next year’s schedule, how many events do you want to do in Vegas?”
White appeared Wednesday on UFC Tonight with Kenny Florian and Chael Sonnen, and was asked to reflect on his remarks.
Florian got right into it.
“Obviously you’ve had a few days to simmer down now,” said Florian. “Looking back at the decision between Hendricks and George St-Pierre, how did you see it?”
White said he hadn’t changed his mind.
“I had Hendricks winning the fight,” said White. “That hasn’t changed. But – I haven’t watched the fight again, I haven’t watched it on TV – I had Hendricks winning the fight.”
Chael Sonnen then noted that all three judges were unanimous on rounds 2, 3, 4, and 5, which means only round 1 is in dispute. And further, Sonnen said he has rewatched round 1, and had it for GSP. Then Chael cut to the chase.
“Will you concede that it is was close enough for the argument to be made?” asked Sonnen.
White noted he was right there as GSP went for a double and got banged up with elbows, and reiterated that he gave Johny Hendricks the first round.
Florian then asked Dana what he feels the Nevada State Atheletic Commission needs to do to improve and move forward.
White replied at length.
“One thing that I wanted everybody to understand that night – because people don’t understand – I wanted to make it absolutely clear that we in no way, shape, or form have any input whatsoever on the judges or the referees,” said White. “We don’t pick ’em, we have nothing to do with them, it’s the complete opposite. And, obviously, I was a little fired up on Saturday night. But, I wanted to make it absolutely clear to everybody out there watching that we have nothing to do with judges and refs, the athletic commission does, which is the government.”
Sonnen pressed, asking Dana if his frustration lay with what is arguably human error in judging, or if it lay with a lack of response like further education or firing, if a judge does a poor job.
White agreed, and said he thought things would change.
“I think that, since a lot of things have been happening lately, it’s going to change,” said White. “I think it’s going to change. The commissioners who are on the commission, the actual commissioners, whether it’s Lundvall, it’s Cisco, it’s Bill Brady, there all good people. I respect the commissioners, but it’s exactly like you just said Chael, that needs to be done.
“First of all, your have boxing judges refereeing mixed martial arts fights, there’s no mixed martial artists, former mixed martial artists, or anybody who knows enough.”
Florian then asked if the UFC should take over, and preside over the judges and referees.
“Can’t do it,” explained White. “Can’t do it, we’re sanctioned. I’m one of the guys who fought hard for sanctioning for mixed martial arts. It’s a good thing. It’s not rocket science, we all know what needs to be done, it just needs to be done.”
Florian then jumped in saying “you can change it.”
White cut the line of inquiry short.
“Guys, if I wasn’t clear enough Saturday night, let me tell you again,” said White emphatically. “I have no power when it comes to this what so ever. No power. And I can tell you this, you know… what I had to say Saturday was frowned upon, you know. It’s not like people are thrilled with how I voiced my opinion on Saturday.”
There are constant requests on the UG that the UFC just sidestep bad refs or judges. Hopefully, at the least, the entire episode illustrates that the UFC does not choose officials, the goverment does.