Dana White "embarassed" with UFC 112 main event, promises to "make it up" to fans
by John Morgan [April 11, 2010] --
The story of Saturday's "UFC 112: Invincible" event should have been Frankie Edgar's historic upset of B.J. Penn, but Anderson Silva's early showboating, followed by an absolute refusal to engage his opponent in the latter rounds, ruined "The Answer's" chance of being the night's hot topic.
UFC president Dana White did little to hide his disgust for his middleweight champion's latest performance – both at cageside, which he left before the fight was over, and in the evening's post-fight press conference.
But White stood firm in the line of fire and owned up to his company's failure to deliver fireworks in Abu Dhabi, and he swore he'd make the night up to UFC fans.
"This was a historic event for us," White said. "The arena tonight was incredible. The energy was amazing, and to end it the way that we did was an embarrassment for me, the Fertittas, the UFC and the sport in general.
"I apologize, and I will – I don't know how yet – but I will make this up to the fans who bought this [expletive] tonight."
Silva dominated opponent Demian Maia for five rounds, but the action was hardly worthy of the champion's reputation as one of the world's best fighters. But while Silva's late passivity was indefensible, some fans didn't mind the early antics.
White was not among them.
"I didn't like it from the first minute of the first round," White said. "Nobody has been more supportive of Anderson Silva than me – talking about him being the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. Even after a couple of goofy performances, I'll call them, I still stood behind him and supported him.
"I think this guy is incredibly talented, and in the first couple of rounds, he was showboating and doing whatever he was doing, and that's not what I'm in to. I don't like it. If you're that talented, be Mike Tyson. Go in and finish it in two minutes."
While some MMA observers have argued that Silva's early antics were a result of the Brazilian simply trying to entertain, White argued that he'd rather his fighters focus on finishing fights.
"I'd rather have somebody say, 'Let's not buy the Anderson Silva fight tonight because he knocks people out in two minutes,' rather than, 'He runs around like a jackass for five rounds,'" White said.
Immediately following the fight, the latest in a string of disappointing performances from Silva that also includes ho-hum wins over Thales Leites and Patrick Cote, many began to question the champion's place on the list of the world's best pound-for-pound fighters. White refused to question Silva's talent, but he was honest about his concerns.
"As mad as I am right now, he's one of the most talented guys in the business," White said. "I don't know what I'm going to do to him right now. I don't know. I honestly don't know what to say. I'm so blown away and disgusted and saddened."
White's frustration was palpable throughout the press conference, and he'll have a challenge with future operations as Silva's performance further marred the reputation of a fighter that has the ability to entertain all fans – both casual and hardcore.
But putting Silva in a future main event would almost certainly spell pay-per-view disaster, and White didn't shy away from that reality.
"Anderson Silva might be the first champion in history fighting on a prelim," White said. "How do you sell Anderson Silva after tonight? How do you do it? People don't want to see that [expletive]. I don't want to see it.
"It makes me sick to my stomach."
Fans who spent $45 to watch the latest Silva oddity have been quick to point fingers. A reporter at the evening's press conference even asked if the UFC's new partner, Flash Entertainment, was to blame for Silva's behavior.
White said he would have a private conversation with Silva to determine who was responsible and how it would be fixed moving forward. In the meantime, the UFC exec said he would figure out a way to set things straight with the people that matter most.
"I'm going to make it up to the fans – that I guarantee you," White said. "I just don't know how yet."