September 29, 2006

by Al Yu – MMAWeekly.com
(photo: Wanderlei Silva and Chuck Liddell in the Octagon after their fight was announced at UFC 61 on July 8th)

Pride USA producer Jerry Millen was recently a guest on Scott Ferrall’s radio show on Sirius Satellite Radio, and an explosive verbal confrontation ensued when UFC president Dana White called into the show during Millen’s interview.

The vast majority of the disagreements between White and Millen were focused on the now-cancelled fight between the UFC’s Chuck Liddell and Pride’s Wanderlei Silva.

For readers who are unfamiliar with the situation, the Liddell-Silva fight was announced by White during the UFC 61 event on July 8th, but no actual contracts were signed at the time. Negotiations between the UFC and Pride broke down shortly thereafter, despite the fact that by all accounts both Liddell and Silva want the fight to happen.

Also, while the UFC and Pride have both subsequently made conflicting statements on the matter, MMAWeekly was told by sources in mid-August (and reported in the Rumors section) that the Liddell-Silva fight was already off at that time. This was not only before Silva fought Mirko Cro Cop, but it was also before Liddell fought Renato “Babalu” Sobral.

Nevertheless, both sides stuck to their guns during the interview, and the result was a lot of contentious back-and-forth exchanges.

There has been some misinformation about what was and wasn’t said during the interview, so we hope to clear up any misconceptions by using actual quotes based on the actual audio.

During the interview, White said, “I’ve been trying to do Wanderlei [Silva] vs. Chuck [Liddell] for five years… not to mention the fact, didn’t Wanderlei just get executed? … Nobody buys their [Pride] pay-per-views in the United States, so I’ll let everyone know what happened. Wanderlei Silva got beat to death for the first two rounds, then got his head kicked to another planet.”

Millen responded by saying, “First two rounds? Dana, did you watch the fight? The fight didn’t go past the first round. Did one of your assistants type up a memo for you?”

White responded by saying, “I was the one guy that watched it on the Internet over here in the United States.”

Millen later said, “Put your guys up. If you have such a great stable, put them up… make it [Liddell vs. Silva] happen. What’s the hold up?” White responded to Millen’s question by saying, “Silva just got knocked dead in the first round.”

On the same subject, White later said, “I’ve been willing to do it for the last five years, they haven’t been. Now Wanderlei gets executed almost into a coma, and now they want to make the fight.”

Millen said later in the interview, “Let me ask you this. You announced on your pay-per-view that if Chuck beats Babalu and Wanderlei is able to fight, the fight’s going to happen. What happened between the time you made the announcement on the pay-per-view till now? Besides going, ‘Oh, he got executed,’ what in the negotiations process broke down to make this fight not happen?”

In response to Millen’s question, White posed a question of his own, asking if Millen is aware of the problems that Pride is having in Japan (losing the Fuji TV deal, etc). Millen replied, “I’m just asking you why this fight is not happening,” at which point White said, “This is exactly why it’s not happening, because you [Pride] are having a lot of problems.”

At that point, Millen said, “You’re saying it’s not going to happen because you don’t want it to happen, correct?” Both sides were very agitated, and White’s response was, “You guys say you’re going to do something and you never f—ing do it.”

When the host of the show later asked if White was ready to restart negotiations with Pride, White said, “I’m sick of them, but if they want to give us Wanderlei Silva to fight in the UFC, I’m in.”

At one point in the interview, White questioned how much the Pride USA producer knew about the negotiations and said to Millen, “You don’t know s—” at which point Millen shot the same inflammatory statement back at White.

When Millen asked White, “Why wouldn’t you give us Tim Sylvia?” White responded by saying “because he [Sylvia] is fighting on November 18th.” Millen then asked, “Why won’t you throw him in a Pride fight?” to which White responded, “Why the f— would I throw him in a Pride fight, you retard, when he’s going to fight in my fight?”

White later said, “You guys don’t do any pay-per-view buys here in America and you got kicked off television in Japan. Of course you’re going to come over here and want my fighters in your show. You guys suck, so of course you need them.”

Later in the interview, Millen invited White to attend Pride’s debut show in the United States, and White accepted the invitation.

Millen said, “Dana, listen. October 21st, I have a pair of ringside Pride tickets for you so that you can see what a real MMA event is like.” White’s response: “I’ll be there.”