Woodley: Who would aspire to be champion if that’s how I’m treated?
UFC welterweight champion and league president Dana White suffer a sometimes antagonistic relationship. Woodley recently said that his next fight was likely Nate Diaz.
“There are conversations about Nate and I fighting in July,” said Woodley. “The UFC has offered Nate that fight. They just have to make it worth his while. I think I’ll fight Nate this year, and I think it will be my return to the Octagon. If I had to bet the house on it, that’s my next opponent.”
White may have misunderstood, and pointedly denied what Woodley never said.
“He’s full of s***,” said White on UFC Tonight. “That fight was never made. You couldn’t be more wrong. He couldn’t be more full of s***. It’s absolutely not true.”
Woodley did not say the fight was made. He did not say that he was in negotiations for the fight. He said there were negotiations, and thought, perhaps hopefully, that the fight would happen.
Woodley appeared recently on Ariel Helwani’s The MMA Hour, said he was not impressed by White’s latest comments.
“That’s a little bit harsh, a little bit hardcore for somebody who is wearing the belt of your organization, that people and young fighters aspire to enter the UFC, they aspire to be UFC champion,” said Woodley, as transcribed by Marc Raimondi for MMA Fighting. “I don’t think many people are going to aspire to be the champion when they see how champions are treated. And they see that the non-champions and the people that are unprofessional — middle-finger flicking, s*** talking — they’re actually making the money.
“So what kind of picture are we trying to put out? I thought we were going in the direction to be parallel with the NFL, NHL, MLB and the other professional sports. It’s a circus until it comes to Tyron and now we want to go back to the old-school rubric. I got issues with that.”
“I was really pissed off. … I could see if it was a situation that I literally just made up.”
“I think even if he thought that way, it could have been said a different way. I think a lot of people spun what I was saying. Never said this fight was in negotiations. Never said any of those things. Then when Nate came out, I never heard anybody say how full of s*** Nate was. It’s so funny it was a one-sided bashing.”
“There’s no sport anymore, so quit playing with me when you guys want to act like this is a sport. And people want to [say], ‘Oh, Tyron is such a complainer.’ It’s so much negativity. Use that energy to talk about something positive.”
“It can’t go down like that. It’s very damaging for me, for a fighter that’s trying to generate his brand and his name.”
Woodley said he called up White the next day, and the pair will have a meeting next week in Las Vegas. The champion also said White wants the next title defense to be against Rafael dos Anjos, and he said he’d take it if formally offered.