White: Uriah Hall said criticism ‘lit a fire’
When the last season of TUF was filming, word filtered out about a ‘TUF Beast’ that was sending sending fighters to the hospital. Pre TUF hype is not always accurate, but Hall did indeed send his first four opponents to the hospital.
There was talk of an inevitable title shot against the unbeatable Anderson Silva.
Then, in the TUF finale, Hall faltered vs. the game Kelvin Gastelum, losing a split decision. On Aug. 17, 2013 at UFC Fight Night 26, UFC matchmaker Joe Silva brought back John Howard to provide Hall with a tough test, and Hall failed, losing his second split decision in a row.
The bout was notable for its extraordinary cameraderie – the two clearly and enormously appreciated fighting each other – but it was not notable for its action.
UFC president Dana White finally saw Hall in a new and not unkind light – he’s too nice to be a fighter.
“I love Uriah Hall,” said White post fight. “I have a great relationship with this kid. He’s one of the nicest human beings you can ever meet. He’s not a fighter, man.”
“He was this killer that everybody was afraid of on ‘TUF.’ Then he comes in to the big show, where it all really matters and where this is going to make your livelihood and everything else, and he turns into this different person, this super-nice guy.
“He was telling me when I talked to him after ‘TUF’ like, ‘You know, I just really like him (Gastelum) He’s a really nice guy.’ OK. Well that really nice guy just took every f—ing thing you ever wanted. Do you understand what I’m saying to you?”
Speaking to the press recently in an interview trascribed by Tom Ngo at 5thround.com, White said that Hall understands, and that the remarks lit a fire
“[I’ve been] very critical [of Hall],” said White. “He sent me a text and said, ‘I appreciate what you said, it lit a fire under me.’ I said, ‘It better.’
“[We didn’t talk beyond that brief text message]. What else do you say to the guy? I care about the kid, I like him. He’s one of the nicest human beings you could ever meet, therein lies the problem. It really is part of the problem. He has no killer instinct, whatsoever.”
White had no explanation for how Hall sent four profession four promising professional fighters to the hospital, without a killer instinct.
“I have no idea!” said White when asked. “And it wasn’t like he had killer instinct on the show, he was catching guys with some good s—. Everybody was saying s— about Uriah Hall. Everybody was talking about that kid. People were saying, ‘We want to see him versus Anderson Silva.’ That’s how much hype there was behind Uriah Hall.”
After his second consecutive loss, White said he had to think about whther he would rlease Hall from his contract. He apparently thought about it, and now fights Chris Leben on what promises to to be the biggest card in UFC history – December 28 at UFC 168.