Questions with Dana White
Here's what the UFC head said about some big issues
Posted: Thursday October 4, 2007 11:54AM; Updated: Thursday October 4, 2007 3:41PM
Fight fans have already weighed in on UFC 76, an event that saw Forrest Griffin ruin Mauricio Rua's UFC debut, and Keith Jardine hand Chuck Liddell a second straight loss for the first time in his career. I caught up with UFC president Dana White to find out what he had to say about submissions, scoring and the state of the Iceman.
Epstein: For a guy mounting a much-touted comeback, Chuck Liddell didn't seem to let his hands go as much as expected. What did you think of his effort?
White: I have to be honest, [you should] understand that Chuck Liddell is one of my best friends. Coming up with Chuck Liddell in the last nine-ten years, Chuck Liddell was always a guy who loved to fight. Didn't care about money, didn't care about his opponent, although he always only wanted to fight the best -- he just loved to fight.
The Chuck Liddell that I saw fight didn't look like the Chuck Liddell that loves to fight. I think Chuck is in a place right now where he needs to find himself, but it's like Rocky III. You know, when he has all the fame, and he needs to go back and find the old Chuck Liddell, the guy that used to love to fight. We need to bring him back. I think Chuck's life has become very complicated and it's always going to be like that now. He has a lot of money and he's very famous. But he can still be rich and famous and be the old Chuck Liddell. He needs to find himself.
Epstein: Submissions have been a little less prevalent lately in marquee fights. Do you think fighters are getting better at defending submissions? Or perhaps better at striking? Or is it just coincidence?
White: I think that the level of athletes in mixed martial arts continues to get better and better. These guys, like Randy Couture, Chuck Liddell, Matt Hughes and any of the guys who have been around for a while, came in with one style and had to learn the rest.
These kids coming up today are mixed martial artists. They've been training at everything since they were kids. When you see decisions in the UFC it is because you see two well-rounded fighters who are fighting each other. Dan Henderson and Quinton Jackson's fight is a perfect example --- both guys are very well rounded. That fight was a technical war.
The same can be said for Diego Sanchez and Jon Fitch and many other great fights and great fighters. The thing that makes it so exciting is that anything can happen at anytime. You will always see knockouts and submissions.
Epstein: Color commentator Joe Rogan criticized the largely subjective ten-point-must scoring system, saying it favors strikers too heavily. Others have criticized the system for allowing a fighter to win or draw in a fight by barely taking two rounds, while the other fighter completely dominates the remaining round. Do you foresee any scoring changes?
White: What people need to understand is that [the current UFC] is really only seven years old. We bought this company seven years ago and we have such a long way to go with scoring, refereeing and a million other things. This thing is in its infancy.
I agree 100 percent that scoring has to be tweaked. And let's say that we come out with a perfect system of scoring -- I guarantee you people will still [complain] about it.