Dana White’s Lumpy Mattress
Last Saturday night, the Ultimate Fighting Championship celebrated its 100th pay-per-view event with a spectacular fight card. From the stateside debut of Yoshihiro Akiyama and subsequent highway robbery of Alan Belcher (Akiyama won via a controversial split decision) to the public execution of Michael Bisping by the shotgun-like right hand of Dan Henderson, ?UFC 100: Making History? proved to be worth all $50 of my hard-earned money.
A truly scientific title defense by Georges St. Pierre was a given, but the main event of Mir v. Lesnar II was not. Brock Lesnar’s post-fight antics inside the octagon following his successful heavyweight title defense set the UFC back? potentially back to its primeval beginnings. After his second-round knockout of Mir, Lesnar continued his onslaught by verbally demolishing Mir as doctors tended to his injuries. The reactionary jeers from the Las Vegas crowd drew a truly professional retort from Lesnar? two middle-finger salutes.
The over-the-top dramatics did not end there, as while delivering his post-fight analysis Lesnar decided to insult the major sponsor of the event Bud Light, and toe the line of decency by saying he might mount his wife afterwards.
Since January of 2001, it has been UFC President Dana White’s responsibility and obligation to make the Ultimate Fighting Championship more than just the ?human cockfighting? that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) labeled it as in its infancy. From the ?ultimate fighting tournament? that was conceived to just determine the greatest fighting style came the formation of an organization that heralds all forms of hand-to-hand combat. From the completely surreal scene of a 170 lb. man facing another 9 inches taller and tripling his mass, we now have weight classes and fighting commissions across the nation and the world recognizing what was once lauded as barbaric as sport.
Over eight years it has taken White to pull his federation out of the quicksand and onto solid ground. After purchasing the rights for two million dollars, the estimated worth of UFC is now in excess of $1 billion. White has produced, what is being argued as, a legitimate fighting promotion.
I wonder how comfortable Dana White has been sleeping in this new bed he made for himself over 17 months ago. From what I have seen in his eyes and read in the cantor of his words, this ?Lesnar posteurpedic? bed seems uncomfortable.
In the press conference that followed UFC 100, White had some choice words on Lesnar’s antics. How do we sparse through the rhetoric? That is where ?Reality? comes in?
Dana White added, “Straight WWE. Brock went so far over the top tonight I can?t even describe it. I don?t think in the history of the UFC we?ve ever done anything like that. With women in here you don’t want to know what I said [to Brock after the fight.] What he’s doing out there tonight is not real. You don’t have to act like something you’re not. This isn’t the WWE. I don’t ask these guys to act crazy so we get more pay per views. That’s not the business I’m in. Brock hasn’t made himself very loveable. They hate Brock.”
True, you don?t ask your fighters to act crazy in order to get more buys? you just ask them to display animosity for one another, exploit them for their competitive natures, lock them in a steel-reinforced octagon and have them beat each other to a bloody pulp. A knockout right hand followed by a relentless and unmerciful hammer punch to the skull as a defenseless competitor lying on the canvas is what you?re looking for right? So where is your contempt for Dan Henderson, Mr. White? Because that is exactly what he did inside your sanctioned arena.
You mean to foster mutual respect and honor between competitors and yet you air a reality show where two of the organizations fighters head teams of amateurs and in the future, meet in the octagon to vent the frustrations out on each others? faces. That sounds about as honorable as Indiana Jones shooting the sword-wielding assailant in ?Raiders of the Lost Ark?.
All hypocrisy aside, you damn well know White absolutely loves that Lesnar has not lost what he has inherently learned from World Wrestling Entertainment. More to the point, if Brock Lesnar had never performed for WWE, would White have even signed him to the UFC? Would White have gotten the tremendous draw without the pre-recognition of WWE? Continuously denigrating WWE for the product they have is one thing? but you cannot deny that without them, you would not have Brock Lesnar and you would most certainly not have the tremendous amount of money and heat that comes with it.
Within the UFC, it is blatantly apparent that there is some kind of ?professional hatred? for WWE and the performers it creates. It is equally difficult for the UFC to continue to strive to become the fighting promotion it wants to become without the shadow of the demonstrative nature and storyline scripts of WWE looming over them. Amazing? to go from a battle with local commissions over the legality of your ‘sport? to trying to differentiate yourself from what is nowhere the term ‘sport? but more towards ?entertainment?.
You made this bed, Mr. White. You decided to sign a former professional wrestler. You decided to name him as your heavyweight champion, your representative to the unknowing public and global media. You chose to bestow a behemoth of an individual, one with so little experience in ‘sport? but with so much in ?entertainment, with a belt to catapult his credibility in your ‘sport? that you have been fighting to prove is so.
But alas? speaking of ?reality?? all of this is moot.
Deplore his comments and scold him for his post-fight buffoonery, but Dana White loves every minute of it. With each second that passes by as Lesnar causes the border between ‘sport? and ?entertainment? to disintegrate, White continues to see his buy-rates sore. Sure White doesn?t ask for his fighters to sell pay-per-views, but if they go out of their way to sacrifice their professionalism and dignity to do so, who is he to complain. While White had a heart-to-heart with Lesnar after the fight, scolding him for his actions, you damn well know he really wanted to say, ?At least you didn?t say that you wanted to eat Frank Mir’s children.?
Again, taking potshots at WWE and their brand of entertainment no longer counts as verbal jabs at a pay-per-view competitor. Moreover, they now count as Hallmark ?thank you? cards from Dana White to Vince McMahon. ?Thank you, Vince, for grooming a superstar for my organization and making me more money than I could have ever dreamt possible.?
Sure the bed does seem uncomfortable, but for Dana White and the UFC, the sheets knitted with pay-per-view buys and the $1 billion thread count of the comforter make the sleep much more peaceful.
Until next time, mouth-breathers!