This is how Dana White destroyed what could have been the best year in UFC history.
If you’re reading this, you know the back story: Conor McGregor smashes media records and has a two year stretch that would rival any newcomer in UFC history. He’s like a character from Irish lore, driving a Bentley.
By all accounts he earns a shot at doing what few have done, holding duel championship belts. A thirteen second shot to the jaw of Hose Aldo put an exclamation mark where there was a question mark.
The momentum of enthusiasm leading to the 155 contest between Conor and Rafael Dos Anjos could not have been more fever pitched. There were more people watching a press conference for McGregor than a whole year’s worth of the Belletor promotion.
Maybe it’s the lack of quality water, a corrupt government, or an anxiety disorder brought on by how bad the Rio Olympics are going to tank, but whatever the reason, Rafael Dos Anjos does what many Brazilians have a habit of doing, and has to pull out of the fight. Which is a bit like someone kicking the cord to the dvd player on your favorite moment in a Rockie Movie. Except in this case it may take a year to plug it back in.
Dana White by no means wants to lose the media and publicity that he has accumulated leading up to this fight, so with twelve days to go, he decides to find a replacement for Dos Anjos. Somehow Nick Diaz, who has every right to fight McGregor, steps up to take the fight, except he can’t make weight.
This is where Dana White should say the following: “The fight is at 155; if you can’t make weight, we’ll find someone else.”
But he doesn’t.
For some reason White lets Diaz fight at a higher weight, and then lets the Conor up the weight again to 170, out of sheer hubris. I can understand that, at the time, Conor looked invincible at any weight. There was even a video of him “sparring” The Mountain from Game of Thrones. He looked beyond human. But of course, he’s not. And he loses to Diaz, essentially running out of gas after pounding the brainless Californian to a bloody pulp.
So UFC 196 goes down as one of my least favorite UFC paper-views of all time. There was an extremely boring main card and two major upsets. This I could have gotten over. Throw your hands up and say everyone has a bad night or point out the obvious, that this was an ill-fated plan from the start. No problem, lets get back to fights that matter. Title fights. Let Conor defend his belt and wait for Dos Anjos to get better. A no brainer, right?
Dana decides to let this stupidity continue with a freakin rematch that means absolutely nothing in terms of titles. If this isn’t bad enough, Dana and Conor decide to get into a pissing match over the promotion of what should be the biggest event in UFC history.
Now UFC 200 is by all accounts a disaster and it hasn’t even happened yet. Meanwhile for fans of a sport that makes you wait an excruciatingly long for time for the fights you want to see, the wait for a Conor fight that matters will continue. While adding insult to injury we have to endure the circus side show and a “possible” tapping match between McGregor and Mayweather—why not let Michael Jordan fight Mayeather while we’re at it; after all, that who baseball experiment worked well for him. And that’s not to mention what may be the most annoying thing of all, the constant click-bate stories in our newsfeed that have about as much real-world bearing as a tweet about what Conor is wearing today.
All with one fatal decision to let two guys who should have fought at 155 fight at 170.
Maybe new ownership at the UFC is not such a bad idea after all.