by Steven Marrocco – MMAWeekly.com
Resistance be damned, UFC president Dana White says UFC 99 will go on.
The promotion’s first trip to Germany hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing.
Front page news decrying mixed martial arts as a bloodsport was the first harbinger of trouble. Now, television partner Setanta Sports could go under before it gets a chance to televise the event for British audiences.
All in a day’s work, says White.
“The fight business is so much fun, it’s always fun stuff happening,” laughed White on a Tuesday teleconference announcing Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic’s UFC return. “I mean, what are you gonna do? There’s nothing we can do. We’re going to have to roll with this thing and see what happens.”
White assured the media his staff was “all over it,” and promised a solution if there were any last minute changes in the broadcast truck. There are several U.K.-based networks that could step into the mix, though White did not detail any ongoing negotiations.
The political heat, White could take.
“It’s still there, but it’s nothing new,” he said. “This is what we do. I remember when we went to the U.K. Lorenzo and I were literally in a hotel room, dealing with stuff right up until we went to the event. It’s all part of the process. This is nothing new – just this is a little more public than most places we go to.
“Everybody always asks me if I’m frustrated, if I’m aggravated. No, I’m used to it. It’s what we do. It takes time. We get in there, we educate people, and we get it going.”
A goal that once looked insurmountable – MMA in New York – was realized in the Empire State’s assembly last week when the Tourism, Sports, and Arts Committee passed legislation to legalize the sport.
“I was very confident we’d get New York done,” continued White. “We got Germany done, we’re going for France next. It’s all just a process.”
The UFC president said he was very happy with ticket sales for the promotion’s next two trips outside Las Vegas.
“Philly’s almost sold out already,” he said. “We’re almost sold out in Germany right now. This sport isn’t going anywhere.”