In addition to discussing the UFC’s deal with HBO and his plans for Pride, UFC president Dana White also discussed numerous other issues during a pre-UFC 70 teleconference on Tuesday.
A reporter mentioned that the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board might be interested in legalizing knees to the head on the ground in MMA, and asked if White thinks the Nevada State Athletic Commission would follow suit if that were to happen. White said, “Probably, because it was New Jersey that didn’t want knees to the head before.” White has previously stated on multiple occasions that he would personally like to see knees to the head on the ground legalized in MMA.
White also said that Brandon Vera will be fighting on a UFC card in the near future, that the Spike TV program Inside the UFC (which was previously placed on indefinite hiatus) will be returning at some point, and that ESPN will not only be covering UFC events from now on, but may also broadcast live UFC events in the future.
Regarding the UFC’s show in the United Kingdom this weekend, White said that because there is no athletic commission in the U.K. that regulates MMA events, UFC vice president Marc Ratner will be regulating and overseeing UFC 70. Ratner is the former Executive Director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
A reporter asked about all of the recent drug test failures in the UFC, specifically mentioning Diego Sanchez’ positive test for marijuana and Melvin Guillard’s positive test for cocaine, and White said that it always sucks whenever any UFC fighter tests positive for anything. When the reporter asked if the UFC would consider instituting random drug testing of its own, in addition to the athletic commission drug testing that always takes place on the day of the events, White did not directly address the question. Instead, he said that all of the fighters on The Ultimate Fighter have to pass a drug test before they can be on the show, and some of the other fighters are drug-tested by the athletic commissions, but he concluded, “I don’t know what else I can do.”
White was also questioned about Tito Ortiz’ recent statement that he would still be willing to fight White if the right contractual terms were reached. White said, “Why would I pay him to fight me? He wanted the fight.”
When the reporter continued, asking White whether or not Ortiz is aware that the Nevada State Athletic Commission said that they don’t want to hear about the fight again, White responded, “Tito’s not aware of anything. He’s living in a f***ing bubble. He’s out there making himself look like a jackass right now. He ought to shut his face and focus on Rashad Evans.”