White on Spike: ‘They’re not bad guys, they’re good guys’
The track record of fight promotions that aimed to rival the UFC is not a good one. The lucky ones – WFA, Pride, WEC, and Strikeforce – got bought and shuttered. ProElite XC, IFL, and Affliction simply went under, having lost many, many millions of dollars in the process.
And while the companies were being beaten, UFC president Dana White often added insults to injury with gleeful epithets like “f—ing loser,” “low-level bottom feeder,” “Strikefarce,” “36,000,000 million dollar losing retards,” “Djork,” and “Bjork.”
By contrast, in a recent interview with MMAJunkie, White spoke kindly about the Viacom-owned, Spike-broadcast, now Scott Coker-helmed Bellator FC.
“I don’t think he’s going into business against us,” he told MMAjunkie. “I don’t think (Bellator’s) business is at the level that we’re at. I think he’s going in there to try to do whatever he can to keep that thing alive.
“There were companies back in the day that I looked at that way; I don’t look at them that way. And I never did. It’s like when people were trying to make it sound like we were trying to go the same night as them. Do you really think that? I don’t even know my schedule. You think I know when they’re going? I don’t know and I don’t care. They’re doing their thing.
“(Bjorn) made this thing confrontational, and you know me, if you want to poke me, I’ll poke you back. And he’s gone, and there’s guys over at Spike that I like and respect. I did business with those guys, and I think if you asked them, they’d tell you I’m probably the best guy they’ve ever been in business with. I ate, slept and breathed Spike TV. I did everything I could to make it as successful as I could, and they’re not bad guys. They’re good guys.
“And Scott Coker’s not a bad guy, so I literally have nothing negative to say about him, and I don’t look at them as competing.”
Spike is apparently dropping the tournament structure at Bellator, which is widely lauded as a good thing. However, distinguishing Bellator as something other than a less than the best MMA show is going to be a hard thing, and in White's mind, an impossible one.