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There Should Be a Way to Bet on Dana White’s Comments
In the advent of the Tony Ferguson vs. Kevin Lee fight, Dana White announced that he expects Conor McGregor to face Ferguson to unify the Lightweight belts. This got me thinking. Dana White has become famous online for making statements and then having the opposite happen. So why shouldn’t we be able to bet on the outcomes of his predictions and comments?
For instance, the comment above about Tony Ferguson fighting Conor McGregor. I am now more confident than ever that Nate Diaz vs. Conor McGregor III is the next fight to take place for McGregor. It’s the money fight, and I don’t see how they can risk Conor losing to Ferguson with that albatross fight with Nate hanging over their heads.
But this is hardly the first comment that Dana has made with a low likelihood of being right or accurate. Let’s examine some other instances of robust Dana White comments that it would be nice to be able to bet against.
“Women Will Never Fight In the UFC”
Considering Ronda Rousey ended up becoming one of the biggest stars in the history of MMA, this was a particularly hilarious lie. I feel like I would have been able to get +700 or so odds at the time Dana clumsily told a TMZ camera that women would never fight in the UFC.
That comment was made on January 19, 2011. By November 2012, Ronda Rousey became the first woman fighter signed to the UFC. At UFC 157, on February 23, 2013, the first woman’s fight took place when Ronda defeated Liz Carmouche for the woman’s bantamweight championship in the main event.
This is probably the most historic Dana lie of all time as even the post-Ronda women’s MMA scene is thriving with women such as Joanna Jędrzejczyk and Rose Namajunas becoming legitimate stars in the UFC.
“The UFC is Not for Sale”
Another big one! The entire world would have bet against Dana’s public comments on this one, as it was fairly obvious that they were gearing up to sell the UFC. In May of 2016 reports began leaking that Zuffa, the parent company of the UFC was taking bids to sell the company for billions. These speculations were called “overblown” and “fact-free” by Dana White.
Doubling down on the denials, Dana showed up on the Dan Patrick show reiterating that,
“We are not for sale. We’re always working on deals and our expansion globally I’ve been saying since this thing came out, no, we’re not for sale, but let me tell you what. If somebody shows up with $4 billion, we can talk. We can definitely talk.”
WME-IMG showed up with 4.2 billion dollars, and the UFC was in fact sold. Hilariously, the UFC continued to vehemently deny the purchase even after the transaction took place.
At best you would have gotten -500 odds on this one, as the whole world knew it was going to happen, no matter how emphatic their leader proclaimed the opposite.
“GSP Went to the Hospital”
This was a super awkward one. And quite frankly would only be able to be wagered on with live betting as the lie only lasted a few minutes before being exposed as such. At the time, Georges St. Pierre had just finished successfully defending his Welterweight title against Johny Hendricks in what was a controversial decision. Most viewers, Dana White among them, believed that Hendricks deserved to win the decision.
At the post-fight press conference, a tomato-red Dana White expressed extreme frustration that GSP had been granted the win, saying that he “owed” Hendricks a rematch. He also told the press that St. Pierre would not be attending the press conference, as he had been sent to the hospital. It turns out that this was not the case.
Midway through the presser a badly bruised and visibly damaged Georges St. Pierre sauntered into the presser, exposing the lie above. Add insult to injury, according to GSP, a UFC employee had taken his championship belt from his dressing room. The press conference was briefly postponed so that St. Pierre, Lorenzo Fertitta, and Dana White could meet and discuss what had just taken place. GSP hasn’t fought in the UFC since, although he now has a return fight scheduled with Michael Bisping.
“Brock Lesnar is Not Fighting at UFC 200”
This lie was somewhat understandable, as they were trying to keep the news that Brock Lesnar was returning to the octagon a secret to announce in a promo package at UFC 199. Ariel Helwani, a favorite MMA journalist, had gotten the scoop though and reported the return. During the event, Dana White had Helwani and his colleagues removed from the venue. It was then announced the Helwani was banned from UFC events for life (which also turned out to be untrue).
In the media, Dana continued to deny the return of Brock Lesnar. Instead, they reported that they were only working with him on some video packages to celebrate UFC milestones, to be shown at UFC 200. Brock Lesnar did indeed fight at UFC, netting a decision win over Mark Hunt before returning to the WWE. I would have set the line on this untruth at +150.
Conor McGregor’s Next Fight
So now that we have established a history of some of Dana’s greatest fibs, we come to the UFC’s Golden Child Conor McGregor and who he will return to the octagon against after a profitable venture into boxing.
At the moment Dana White and Conor both are signaling for a Lightweight Championship unification bout against Interim Champ Tony Ferguson.
I’m calling the bluff, and I desperately need someone to let me place a wager on this one. I’m here to say that Conor’s next opponent will be Nate Diaz. Nate Diaz has reportedly been holding out for a $20 million payday to finish the trilogy. The UFC, never having been known to pay their fighters particularly well are balking at that number and playing hardball.
But WME-IMG (recently renamed Endeavor) are all about money fights to recoup that $4.2 billion investment that they paid, and I don’t think they can risk Ferguson winning this contest and derailing the hype train. With Nate, they can always point to Conor’s previous win and the size difference to keep his image whole. With Ferguson, he’d be fighting someone in his own weight class, who stylistically may present some challenges.
With Nate, they know they can lean on the leg kicks earlier since he will never check thems or changes his style and make an incredible fight of the whole ordeal. A bout with Tony Ferguson is less sure. Which is why I know that Nate Diaz vs. Conor McGregor III will be the next time we see McGregor in the octagon. If anyone out there is willing to give me +300 odds, I am begging you to get in touch!