White on Rousey, gay fighters, and that d—head Justin Timberlake

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Sports Illustrated’s Jon Wertheim conducted perhaps the most compelling interview to date UFC president Dana White.

Jon Wertheim: You told me once that women were pretty, and you didn’t want them fighting in the UFC.

Dana White: [I said] it would never happen.

JW: So how much of your signing Ronda Rousey is about Ronda Rousey . . .

DFW: It’s all Ronda Rousey…

At the end of the day, what everybody needs to understand about me is that I’m a fight fan. I’m a fight fanatic. I love fighting. Everybody wanted to come out and say it’s because Ronda Rousey is hot, and I got a crush on her. Gina Carano is hot too. Ronda Rousey is a different animal. Yes, she is pretty. She is also mean, she is nasty, and she likes to finish people.

You sit down and have a real interview or spend a day with Ronda Rousey, she’s a different breed, man. She’s a Diaz brother trapped in a really pretty girl’s body. I’m telling you, man. She’s mean and nasty and she likes to fight and finish people.

She doesn’t want to go in — she never wants to go in and win in a decision. She wants to go in there and she wants to hurt you…

I can tell you this: When Ronda Rousey comes into the picture in the UFC, there is going to be a lot of people that aren’t really into women’s fighting and are going to think that women’s fighting doesn’t belong in the UFC.

Once they see Ronda Rousey fight, I think they’ll change their mind. Yeah. You could line up 100 women with judo gold medalists, you know, they could win gold medalists every year for the last ten years, it does not mean that they’re a fighter, you know.

I don’t mean to sound like I take shots at Gina when I say Gina is pretty and I wasn’t chasing her around. But Gina Carano does not have the desire and the fire and the meanness and the nastiness that Ronda Rousey has. Believe me when tell you. Completely different.

JW: What trait ticks you off? Disloyalty? Stupidity?

DFW: I would say both of those things. We’ve had some people around who have been incredibly disloyal. Once you’re like that with me, you’re done. You’re shut off. Maybe we repair it for business reasons, but you’ll always be a short-termer. If you look at the guys — Chuck Liddell, Matt Hughes, Forrest Griffin — who have always been solid, good guys to the company, they’re guys who will be with the company. Chuck Liddell works here. He’s an employee. He hasn’t been here in a long f—— time, but he gets a paycheck every week. That’s what I mean about loyalty. Chuck Liddell gets a big fat paycheck every week, and he’s out doing his thing.

JW: Do you worry that 20 years from now, say, we’re going to see data that reveals head injuries and concussions in fighters in their 40s and 50s?

DFW: Here is the reality: Let’s say Tom Brady gets a concussion in the NFL. You going to pull Tom Brady out for the season? No. They’re going to do these tests where he can probably come back in 13, 14 days, whatever. You get a concussion in the UFC, you’re on a three-month suspension. That’s the difference. Yes, fighting is a contact sport. There are definitely risks. [But there] has never been a death in the almost 20-year history of the UFC. Are guys banged up and are their joints this, that and everything else? Yeah. But talk to any professional athlete. If you play at that level, it takes a toll on your body.

JW: There have been a lot of training injuries lately. Is there any way you can monitor your fighters’ training?

DFW: They have new camps now, and you have to understand, for guys like [renowned MMA trainer] Greg Jackson, training the best [fighters] in the world is a business. I get it. So he has five to 10 guys training at the same time, all for their [own] fights. His 10 guys are all rolling together, and everybody is trying to kill each other. We never had these [injury] problems until we had these supercamps.

JW: You ready for a gay UFC fighter?

DFW: If somebody came out and said they were gay, I couldn’t care less. It would be interesting to see the reaction from other fighters, but I don’t think it would be that big a deal.

It’s 2013, and I think that it’s crazy. I think that it’s actually insane that it’s 2013 and the government can tell two people they don’t love each other.

If this guy says he loves this guy and wants to marry him, what do you care? How does that affect or change your life whatsoever? And sometimes when I ask some people that I would consider weirdos that question, their answer just blows my mind that it’s 2013 and something could come out of somebody’s mouth like that, you know.

So I know this is a political — you know, politically this is a big beef. I’ve gotten into personal arguments with people over this. I just did around Thanksgiving got into a huge argument over this whole thing.

Believe me, I could care else if one of our guys came out and said he was gay. Wouldn’t change my opinion of him at all. I guarantee you we would probably get a lot more of the gay market tuning in to follow.

Look at Ellen. Look at anybody who has come out and admitted that they’re gay. There is a pretty big support group in the gay community.

Could care less, man, and I think a lot of our fighters wouldn’t either. Going to have some here or there that are going to say some stupid shit. And when they do, the gay community can’t go crazy about it. It’s going to happen. Everybody is entitled to their own opinions.

JW: What if somebody said I’m not fighting him because he’s gay?

DFW: Yeah, you are. You’re going to fight him.

JW: You told me the story, and I can’t remember the specifics. You met some celebrity or someone and they didn’t give you the time day and it stuck with you. You said, ‘When somebody shouts out to me in a crowd or someone says can I talk to you…

DFW: That story you are talking about was when I was a kid. It was at the library here in Vegas and it was the guy from like the Channel 13 news. I was a little kid and I ran up to him and I was like, ‘Hey, could I get your autograph?’ Could not have been a bigger d—.

Yeah, I was so blown away by that. That was like the first celebrity I had ever seen. He was such a d—. Yeah, you know, I said I would never treat people like that and never be like that.

Recently me and my wife were at Nickelodeon Awards and we were backstage with the Black Eyed Peas in their dressing room hanging out.

First of all, this thing is in L.A., so every guy on the planet wants to get their kids backstage with all the people that are back there. They had Bieber, Selena Gomez, all these people are back there. So my kids are back there and they’re taking pictures with all these people and stuff.

There [are] no other kids backstage. No other kids. Just my kids, and I think I have Lorenzo’s daughter with me, too. This was a few years ago. You name it, A-list, all the A-listers that the kids would love are backstage.

The biggest d—head back there was Justin Timberlake.

Just such a complete jack off, yeah.

I don’t know if he’s a UFC fan or not, but I’m not a big Timberlake fan. Takes two seconds to say hi to a kid. Takes two seconds. I never run by anybody. If you’re a fan of the UFC and you like it or your kids like it, why would I not want to talk to you? Why would I not?

JW: What’s the best story you never told?…

Read entire interview…