Coming Full Circle: UFC President Dana White Searching for Violence in All the Wrong Places
By: Jesse Donathan
Dana White has an insatiable appetite for violence, and like a seasoned junkie with a tolerance level to match White is growing increasingly dissatisfied and frustrated with the lack of violence on the field of play. The UFC President is looking for killers, not wrestlers. Fighters, not athletes. Though obviously in the sport of mixed martial arts all of those elements come into play. But White only needs to look to the very recent past to take all his troubles away.
According to a March 27, 2007 MMAJunkie.com article titled, “Dana White: UFC and PRIDE Will Have Unified Rules,” the technicalities of the rule book that separated PRIDE Fighting Championships from its new proprietors were to cease to be as the UFC’s acquisition of the Japanese based promotion would bring PRIDE FC under the auspices of Zuffa LLC., the then parent company of the UFC who ultimately shelved PRIDE FC indefinitely. Quoting from a reviewjournal.com article with UFC President Dana White, MMAJunkie.com went on to report:
“This is a sport and we’re going to follow the unified rules that were established in New Jersey and then in Nevada,” White said. “It’s a sport — mixed martial arts — and the sport should have the same rules everywhere. As far as I’m concerned, if an organization doesn’t follow these rules, it’s not MMA. It’s something else, but that’s not MMA.”
In April of 2001, “the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board adopted a set of standards that would become known as the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts,” writes author Adam Hill in his April 24, 2013 bleacherreport.com article titled, “A Timeline of UFC Rules: From No-Holds-Barred to Highly Regulated.” The unified rules of mixed martial arts were little more than the result of government regulation into a once violently captivating event that managed to capture the imaginations of mixed martial arts earliest fans.
According to the report, “Ultimate Fighting took a huge hit in 1996 when Sen. John McCain, a supposed boxing fan, saw a UFC tape and famously characterized it as “human cock-fighting.” McCain went on a crusade against MMA and was successful in getting the UFC banned in all 50 states.” With the UFC adopting the New Jersey Unified Rules model Senator McCain was reportedly pleased with the sports new face. According to the Adam Hill report McCain was quoted as stating that, “The sport has grown up. The rules have been adopted to give its athletes better protections and to ensure fairer competition.”
“The list of fouls ballooned from the original three to 30,” writes Hill. And with the implementation of the Unified Rule set, the no-holds-barred era of mixed martial arts was officially closed, perhaps forever. And, in its place, a watered down, pseudo version of the real thing emerged in its wake. Today’s version of mixed martial arts nothing more than a more palatable, controllable version of combat sports for the ruling political elite, not the ordinary average Joes on the street responsible for the sport’s early success.
Only it appears as if UFC President Dana White is beginning to come back full circle to the originally intended visions of the sport, throwing conventional understanding of how to secure victory in the modern era of mixed martial arts out the window in denying Brendan Loughnane a UFC contract on the reality television show “Dana White’s Contender Series” after the young fighter went for a takedown late in the fight, going on to win the contest by unanimous decision.
“When you come onto this show, unlike any other show you would fight in or whatever, I’m looking for killers,” said the UFC President Dana White in the June 19, 2019 MMAFighting.com article titled, “Dana White confirms Brendan Loughnane’s late takedown cost him UFC contract” by author Damon Martin.
No, securing takedowns isn’t against the rules. In fact, securing takedowns is often credited with controlling the fight and as such has a long history as being viewed as a dominant maneuver and position in mixed martial arts. Loughnane was following years of understanding in executing traditional mixed martial arts paradigm inside the cage yet was ultimately denied a UFC contract as a result of performing how he was trained to do inside the field of play.
The definition of killer is, “one that has a forceful, violent, or striking impact,” according to Merriam-Webster. And while I appreciate White’s desire to see more violent fights, the fact is once upon a time there were more violent versions of mixed martial arts. We called it no-holds-barred, or even more recently PRIDE FC.
And the current, watered down version of the sport under the Unified Rules set, where wrestlers by in large dominate the Octagon and takedowns are given priority in determining the outcomes of fights is a long championed tradition by none other than Dana White and the UFC themselves. They are the worlds premiere mixed martial arts organization and the importance and emphasis on takedowns in securing victory inside the Octagon started none other than inside the UFC’s eight-sided, caged circle. A little self-reflection please?
Today’s modern mixed martial arts landscape is little more than a pseudo version of the real thing, the realization of those who sought to regulate the sport out of existence. The UFC enjoys the spoils as having saved the sport from certain ruin while simultaneously baring responsibility for what it has ultimately become.
What the UFC really needs isn’t more killers, it needs de-regulation so that the field of play can more closely resemble the realities of actual hand-to-hand combat. Instead of searching for more violent fighters to add to the promotion, the UFC simply needs to lobby to have the training wheels taken off the sport and the violence part will all but take care of itself on its own.
The only killers in the sport of mixed martial arts is the regulatory bodies which handcuff the athletes and deprive the public of what they really want to see. The UFC President Dana White wants a paradigm shift away from the significance placed on takedowns and a renewed focused placed on bringing violence back to the field of play. And re-introducing the no-holds-barred era to mixed martial arts or bringing back PRIDE FC is just the answer he is looking for.
The Pride of Ireland: Michael Conlan
The Pride of Ireland: Michael Conlan
By: Francisco Martinez
St. Patrick’s Day only comes once a year and this year you can bank on it that Michael Conlan’s debut will be one not to forget as the start of a promising career officially begins. Michael, or Mick, Micky as some call him enjoyed his 1st U.S. media day in Los Angeles, California but definitely not new to this media attention “I’m used to it. I like it. It’s just natural for me. It’s another part of the game and you got to enjoy what you do”
With an estimate of 2 thousand family, friends, fans and supporters making the trip for Michael Conlan’s massive debut in the Theater at the Madison Square Garden this is what Conlan says they can expect from his pro debut “I’m gonna give them some entertainment. Some excitement and a happy ending and a nice party after” making it sound more like a concert than a boxing fight as the charismatic Conlan plans to treat his family and friends to an unforgettable March 17th Top Rank promotions show in New York.
Not even 1 fight into their careers, Michael Conlan & Shakur Stevenson already seem to be in a crash course to a mega showdown as promoter, the legendary Bob Arum is aiming for with his two new young guns who became part of Arum’s young stable additions to the likes of WBO 126lbs champion Oscar Valdez, WBO 122lbs champion Jessie Magdaleno, who both Conlan and Stevenson have sparred and WBO 168lbs champion Gilberto Zurdo Ramirez. BoxingInsider picked the brains of both Conlan & Stevenson just to see where they stand on this little rivalry that has been sparked by their promoter Bob Arum.
“I feel like me and Michael Conlan have some unfinished business that we didn’t get to handle in Brazil so, Michael Conlan is a great fighter and I like his style. I love his boxing style he a technician also and the fans are gonna want to see that, so…” says the young enthusiastic 2016 Olympic silver medalist, Shakur Stevenson. Kind but competitive words of his rival Michael Conlan who replied by saying “He’s a nice respectful kid. It’s a potential fight and I’m happy with that. That’s good for me down the line that’s a money fight. Everybody is in this business to make money so that’s a fight I would want. I rate him as a fighter and he’s a real good fighter. Very skillful so, it’s a fight that I really want and I’m really happy he signed with Top Rank so it’s possible for a future fight”
Conlan goes on to systematically break down Stevenson’s style “He’s very defensive. He’s a box fighter. More defensive very up right, shoulder roll kind of stance but I’m sure, I’m confident that I would have beat him in the Olympics. I’m confident I’ll beat him now. I’m confident I’ll beat him in the future so no matter what happens I’ll be ready when the time comes. I got the best team around me. The best management team, the best promotional team and the best coaching team so I have nothing to fear. I’m ready for anyone so bring it on”
In regards to St. Patrick’s Day being an Irish exclusive holiday and time of celebration it’s a no brainer that his debut will benefit from this Irish contingency as Michael Conlan would like to make this date an annual date in his career a lot like when Floyd Mayweather Jr. took over the Mexican dates of May & September. Dates that now belong to Saul Canelo Alvarez. Conlan says “I want to hold St. Patrick’s Day in the Garden every single year. That’s what I want, I want that to be my day and this is the start of it and it will continue. I feel it’s probably the best day in the year to fight in the Garden and maybe 2 years, 3 years time we’ll be fighting in the big Garden and that’s my aim. I want to sell it out in a world title”
Most should be informed by now that Michael Conlan has the co-sign of the great MMA fighter and fellow Irish countryman in Conor McGregor who will walk him out for his pro debut upon the request of Conlan who McGregor was kind enough to accommodate for his wishes. Conlan first came across McGregor by helping him select sparring for one of his fights with Nate Diaz. Now if we dig a little deeper into this friendship between Conlan & McGregor we’ll find a little truth to the so much talked about dream showdown between McGregor and Mayweather.
A fight that has grasp the attention of both sports and Mayweather who’s really pushing for this fight as he sees some serious dollar signs at the end of this tunnel. Perhaps a bigger pay day than a rematch with Manny Pacquiao and a bigger pay day than the actual 1st fight with Pacquiao which netted Mayweather something along the lines of $300 million. Even though some are critical of this possible circus act that will surely entertain we’re not sure how much this fight is really possible. However rumors as of late say the T-Mobile arena in Las Vegas has been put on hold which only makes this dream scenario a more concrete one than ever before.
Michael Conlan shares a little insight as to who Conor McGregor is as a person and a little on how McGregor feels about a potential bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr. “He’s a guy who believes in his ability and if he gets the Mayweather fight 100% he believes he’ll win” as for possibly helping McGregor prepare for a fight inside of the ring other than the octagon Conlan said he wouldn’t sparr him “He’s too big. He’s like 170lbs at the minute or 180lbs. He’s a big man. His hands are like two sizes bigger than mine”
Michael Conlan previewed his speed, power & skills in front of dozens of media members and from what we saw the talent level in him is an extraordinary one. Great chemistry with trainer Manny Robles. Both being fond of each other as they competed in the World Boxing Series a few years back and managed to catch each other’s attention with their respective abilities as trainer and fighter. Fast forward a few years later now both a team and one that will surely be a great hit and formula for great success in boxing.
Tune in March 17th live in the Theater at the Madison Square Garden in New York, St. Patrick’s Day for the massive debut of this young future legend, the pride of Ireland, Michael Conlan.