Dana White ‘Embarrassed’ by UFC 149 Main Card, Praises Undercard Fighters

July 22, 2012
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Saturday night served as a bit of déjà vu for UFC president Dana White, and that was not a good thing.

The main card for UFC 149 ended with four out of the five fights going to decision, with most of them being fairly lackluster affairs drawing boos from the Calgary crowd in attendance.

White remembers an eerily similar night from more than a decade ago when the UFC was hoping to re-launch to the masses with one of the biggest cards ever that quickly turned into one of the biggest disasters ever.

UFC 33 was touted to be one of the biggest cards ever for the promotion, but after injuries scrapped their main event, and every fight on the main card went to decision, forcing the show to go over the pay-per-view time limit, it was anything but a success.

Fast forward to UFC 149 on Saturday night and White was feeling the same exact way he did that night in September 2001.

“I felt like I was at UFC 33 again,” White said at the post-fight press conference.

The night in Calgary definitely did not go as planned, but White couldn’t be mad at the undercard fighters who performed on both FX and Facebook. Fighters like Ryan Jimmo burst on the scene with his ultra impressive seven-second knockout, as well as Bryan Caraway putting on a “Fight of the Night” performance against Mitch Gagnon.

“Before I get too negative, I think that the undercard was awesome, these guys blew it out of the water,” said White.

The rest of the card, however, failed to impress and White wasn’t ashamed to admit it. Records were broken in Calgary Saturday night, but White is not a proud man for how his fighters delivered or didn’t deliver as the case may be.

“I like breaking records, we broke the gate record here tonight and I’m embarrassed by it. I was excited when I heard, and now I’m embarrassed. The undercard delivered; they were awesome. The main card did not,” White stated.

He did defend the main event that came under a wave of boos as well, but White believes that was mostly fallout from the previous few fights that caused the entire crowd to feel like they were on Ambien instead of watching high level mixed martial arts.

“I don’t think the Faber/Barao fight deserved the boos that it got. You’re talking two of the best guys in the world in a five-round title fight; it was very technical. Everybody knows how good Urijah Faber is and Barao dominated him tonight. If the undercard wasn’t as (expletive) as it was, it wouldn’t have been so bad,” White stated.

The two fights that led into Barao vs. Faber definitely left the crowd in a frenzy as Hector Lombard came up flat in his UFC debut against Tim Boetsch, while Cheick Kongo and Shawn Jordan put on one of the worst heavyweight fights this side of Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Kevin Jordan at UFC 56, which is widely considered one of the most criticized fights in UFC history.

“I think Cheick Kongo and (Shawn) Jordan pushed against the fence for three rounds and I think the ref let them do it. This isn’t the ultimate clinching championship, it’s the fighting championship, and when you see two guys clinching for three rounds and in the third round they clinched for an entire five minutes, and this idiot (referee) standing around looking at them,” White said.

“As a referee your job is to enforce the rules and make sure that these guys fight, and if they’re not fighting you break them up and you make them fight. We’re talking about guys that are experienced. Experienced guys that have done enough fights by now. Yves Lavigne was horrendous, horrendous tonight.”

There was definitely a bad taste left in Dana White’s mouth following UFC 149, but the promotion will live to fight another day with hopes that the next group of fighters performance at UFC on Fox 4 in two weeks paid close attention for what not to do when the eyes of the world are on you.

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  • Maine2Alaska

    I agree Dana. I couldsee you in the backround with your head down probably tweeting for most of it,. And i actualy felt horrible for the crowd that actualy bought tickets. I also told my brother i felt bad that he bought the show and had me come over as well.. one of the worse UFC’s .. PERIOD

  • Yves Lavigne has been a bad referee for a long long time.

    • DrkDisciple

      Was he ever good?

      • When he first came on the scene he was.

  • scottw

    bring back Big John

  • I agree with Dana.
    – the card is the real loser of the night … what a boring main card! Is better to merge some less-important cards like the Munoz vs. Weidman one with the main cards …
    – no way that Boetsch won that match … it was a very boring match of point-fighting but IMO Lombard hit more and better then Boetsch and perform at least one takedown, TB doesn’t do anything to win the fight …
    after this fight and watching Barao outstrucking the California Kid I was scared thinking that the judges could gave the victory to Faber avoiding the fact of having one more brazilian/latino champion.

    • me vs you

      lombard hit more? are you serious? the guy didn’t do anything…even the fight stats showed boetsch landing more. but if you want my honest opinion, neither guy should have won. that fight sucked so bad that it should have been a no contest.

      after that performance boetsch isn’t moving up and lombard definitely dropped to the bottom of an already boring division.

      where are all of the middleweights?

      • Shields vs. Kampmann
        Sonnen vs. Bisping

        in all these matches the winner loose on number of strikes and won on takedown number and % of ground control …

        … why not the same with the Lombard-Boetsch match?

        btw you’re right that it was such an awful show that it doesn’t deserve a winner, and as a split decision it could went to any of the two fighters …

        • shakejunt

          it’s called top position and lombard never had it. see condit vs diaz, moving forward doesn’t equal winning.

          • clizzark

            Wrong and wrong. Lombard had top position and also Condit outstruck Diaz by a comfortable margin. Lombard won. There’s no way in hell Boetsch should have won that fight. Running away the entire fight while landing a couple decent leg kicks does not win fights when your opponent did more. Anyone who actually stayed awake and paid attention knew Lombard won. Was it impressive? Hell no, but did he deserve to win? Yes.

            I looked at the numbers and apparently they called it a “significant strike” every time Tim picked up his foot. Those “significant strikes” numbers are an absolute joke. There’s no rhyme nor reason to them. Somehow, landing a weak leg kick is the same as cracking someone in the jaw…

          • shakejunt

            ^ this dude clizzark must’ve been sleepin, nothing got cracked except boetsch’s foot

  • Dickweed

    Mcgee got screwed was that mentioned

  • Exactly why i didnt buy the ppv last few i did buy were let downs with the top fighters looking more and more like boxers trying to survive the “fight” instead of finish/win it.
    I know committing to offense opens you up for counters and a loss but thats the game. I have also noticed more ufc fights look like sparring, where the actual fights mimics their training 1/2 speed feints and “air punches/kicks” that one would execute in the gym. that reflects on both fighters because a pro would spot that half hearted technique and explode for the counter and finish.instead we see BOTH fighters doing it! as the ufc expands and floods the airwaves with soooo many cards we can only expect the pool of true talent and experience to diminish dramatically. Hunger and aggression is the game kiddies let’s see action. The difference between GSP, Liddel, Couture and Hughes and the new blood is the difference between NFL and Arena League and College and it is glaringly obvious. same game different level. this is also unavoidable as this sport has a quick turnover and short shelf life overall. I applaud dana White and Joe Silva for the exemplary job they do and their candid honesty win they hit the mark and when they miss it. This will continue to fuel the gene pool to perform and keep fans willing to come back again and again. Bravo UFC

  • whiteman17

    I feel a lot less now that I watched it for free online lol..the riddle fight was great and after that it sucked…and what’s up with Lombard..this guy ever here of a combination, looked like he was going for the ko everytime he swung

  • wilfredfreytes

    Dana…you should pay more money to your fighters man!!..how come you sold the ufc 148 using Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen rematch but Forrest Griffin ended up earning more money than both Silva and Sonnen…you shouls star by doing that…pal!!..UFC fighter get ridiculous money…you should be ashame Dana..that’s what you get for what its worth man

    • chuteboxeCWB

      people should really get informed before saying stuff, anderson reportedly made 7 million just for accepting the relocation of the fight to vegas then 200k from the UFC(fight salary), close to 1 million from sponsors and finally 5% of total ppw sales which were over 2 million times at least $50(restaurants and bars pay a higher fee). the spider took home close to 15million.
      it would take me 300 years to make that,aint bad for one night of fighting is it?

    • lowlb

      Agreed! I’m not sure if this is why these fights were so boring but the ufc just doesn’t pay..

      UFC 148 Chad Mendez made 36,000, Patrick Cote made 21,000..??..
      That’s poverty. Cody McKenzie get’s blasted in the liver then gets paid $10,000?
      And don’t give me the sponsorship crap.. Who’s going to sponsor Cote, dunk’n donuts? They are not making money.. These are professional athletes, fighting once a year if they are lucky making under $50,000…

      Chael Sonnen made $50,000 in the last fight. That’s crap! He made that fight. It would have been nothing without Sonnen.

      Don’t be fooled little boys. These fighter are not going to grad school at 38 for their next career.

      I don’t know these fighters or Dana White and neither do you, so don’t worship these guys.

      It’s entertainment and it makes a lot of money but most of the fighters aren’t making Sh*t!

      • Maine2Alaska

        Well, fight 3 times a year, thats good money..And sponsors do help. These guys arent awesome anywase..But also, thats what the bonuses are for.. go out there, get a submission of the night or ko, or fight of the night, theres the REAL bread. When UFC really hits NFL size, im sure fighters will make more.

        • pooby

          The UFC is already bigger than the NFL worldwide (L. Fertitta said as much in his ESPN interview). I realize that not all fighters are going to be millionaires, but how much does A. Silva, the greatest fighter in the world, make a year? A million or so from fights and maybe another million or so from sponsors?

          Have you seen Drew Breese’s new contract? And that’s just for throwing the football. That doesn’t count the mountain of money he gets from advertisements.

          The UFC needs to pay much more for the guys that fight at the top ten level. And they need to dramatically increase bonuses to encourage exciting fights.

          • Maine2Alaska

            I think i will respectfully disagree with Lorenzo.It’s still far away in my opinion. And for now i think thats okay, i kinda like that underground feel to it. MMA is still looked at as human cock fighting by many. When you start getting MMA scholorships lol, then you know UFC has made it BIG

    • rsnowbass

      Forrest got paid that amount of money because he came in on short notice and helped to save the card…plain and simple.

      If he were originally slated for that card, he wouldn’t have seen half that.

      My .02

  • AdamBianski

    Joe Silva should be fired.

    • Your retarded…Joe Silva isn’t the one in there fighting. He has been working his ass off over the last few months with all the injuries and stuff to even put together a full card. Its not his fault Congo and Jordan decided to hug for 15 minutes…and that Lombard will go down as one of the biggest flops in UFC history.

      Should he be fired because Guida ran away from Maynard their whole fight? Should he be fired Valasquez getting KO’d in less than a minute on their first Fox card?

      The answer to all of this is no…he makes the FIGHTS…he can’t make the guys go in there and re-enact Griffin/Bonnar 1

      • AdamBianski

        Well buddy without injuries the fight cards for the last year have been garbage. Injuries did not plague this last card, terrible fights did.

  • Dickweed

    Time for Kongo to go

    • Maine2Alaska

      lol yup, he actualy fought just like a 37 year old. That fight was so tough to watch. I felt like i got old just sitting there

  • Dickweed

    UFC 150 Dana takes on Yves

  • axis

    Why isn’t there a bonus for finishing fights? Talk about a perfect solution for these boring A fights, instead of always complaining about your fighters lackluster performances why not do something about it! I’m sick of fighters fighting not to loose instead of fighting to finish, fans pay their bills so at least try to make it exciting for us. What a horrible main card!!

    • maddawgmar

      I agree. I have said that for years. The best fights are on the TUF shows. Why? Because you get a 5k bonus if you finish.

      For the idiots above the fighter salaries are better than what is shown. Every fighter in the UFC has endorsements. Why do you think there are banners? That is how they survive til the next fight and can train full time. Fighters on PPV main card get a percentage of the PPV orders. They get their salary, plus bonuses then endorsement fundage. They do pretty well. Top guys like Faber easily cleared a million or two. The answer to fixing boring fights is not more money. In my opinion, there isn’t a fix for this. Adding money, taking money doesn’t fix it at top level. Because what does a Silva or a JDS care about 5g’s. Just don’t reward a bunk performance with a move up in the standings.

  • After a very strong UFC148 that was the best they could come up with for UFC149 they tough it would go smooth because the ppv was in Calgary, that was one of the worst card ever, the free UFC on FOX and Fuel cards are better then this. Who cares what White thinks the guy must have a say in theses booking and card.

  • bajafox

    I feel like a winner last night when I decided I would read about the fights today instead of ordering it. Feels like legal gambling, hahaha

  • samflchr

    The fight Card sucked since they announced it I knew better then to to watch it Dana white can say what he wants but. UFC still made there money what do they care about yours

    • elguapo

      What gave you the impression that the UFC was happy with last night’s fights? I think Dana was pretty clear with his thoughts on the performances last night. The real question is what the UFC is going to do about it. POOBY said it right earlier, they need to dramatically increase the bonuses awarded for finishes. For example a fighter getting paid $20k to fight should get a $20k win bonus, but the opportunity to win a further $40k or whatever for the finish. The chance to quadruple your salary is a big carrot to have dangled in front of you. I do also think fighters are becoming scared about getting cut. If there’s no real alternative companies to fight for, fighters are gonna employ a win at all costs mentality just to stay in the UFC. And win at all costs generally means lay and pray or jab & leg kick, run away and repeat. A UFC contract should be for a minimum four fights and then you are evaluated after those fights as to whether it is renewed. And the evaluation should be based not only on victories but performance/entertainment value too.

  • spidersilva

    silva does not make 2 mill a year retard. Google something once in awhile before opening ur mouth

  • Dreadful fights. I disagree with Dana though. The real issue is too many natural groundfighters trying to stand – so they’re not in their zone and look lousy. Riddell standing up repeatedly when he was on top for example. WTF? The dumbass ‘fight for the fans’ UFC mantra means nobody is trying to win, they’re all trying to recreate that dumb Bonnar – Griffin slugfest.

  • Dana really does run the UFC like a business. Yelling @ his fighters if they do a bad job. Bonusing the ones who deserve it. I’m sorry folks, but I love it. DANA RULES!!! And this is one of the many reasons why I follow the sport. GO DANA & THE UFC.

  • clemwilson

    Doesn’t Dana make these PPV events? The small amount these fighters get is sad. Dana gets rich the fighters don’t. Faber couldn’t headline a Taco bell lobby fight.

  • I would choke a baby for some tacos right now.

  • B-rok

    The point that dana should take away is that this ppv should have been free. There are too many ppvs. The ufc has three channels to exploit and they have chosen to trot out 147 and 149. Ppvs should be for big fights. If this card was free it would not be that big of a deal, but the fact people bought it impacts opinion. I haven’t been compelled to buy a ppv since feb, other than 148.

  • Dana has to adjust the rules …
    now they put an advantage on wrestlers just because most of the native fighters are wrestlers, but it get boring fights …

  • kevstinx

    Main card was not interesting, I recorded it live and watched it days later, whilst i stayed awake till 6am to watch Silva Vs Sonnen 2, which was disappointing also, Sonnen put up no fight, couple of shots and his will was smashed to pieces. More hype than 148 was worth. As for 149, please don’t make me laugh. My attention flickered from picking my nose and watching boring 3 round fights. Any chance of a dynamic Octagon, where the walls of the cage gradually close in forcing the fighters to hug each other 🙂 I am just happy I cancelled our subscription days before the event, less than 25 days now until I lose ability to watch 🙂