UFC president Dana White spoke to a round table of reporters today in Abu Dhabi, in advance of Saturday’s UFC 112 which will take place in the middle eastern city. The interview covered a wide range of topics from future Middle Eastern events, to “The Ultimate Fighter”, the upcoming WEC pay-per-view, and even Fedor Emelianenko.
Speaking about the UFC’s plans for Middle Eastern events White said, “This is our first show here, and our second will be in Afghanistan in the next, you know, I don’t know, two to three months.” He admitted that an event in Afghanistan poses numerous security and logistical threats, and may not even be able to be televised, but indicated that putting on an event for the troops in the country is a priority, as well as potentially using the card to continue past efforts which have raised $6 million in aid for troops suffering from traumatic brain injuries.
In regards to China, White praised the UFC’s new partners, Flash Entertainment, who purchased a 10% stake in the company a few months ago, for securing a better TV deal for the promotion. He also indicated that Flash has done a lot towards facilitating a live event in the country, saying that it could happen “sooner than (he) can imagine.”
Some other notes from the discussion are:
- James Toney’s UFC debut is still uncertain, and the aging boxer needs to pass his medicals before plans can be made.
- White predicts 150,000 buys for the April 24 WEC pay-per-view. He said he will help promote the event, and only smiled in response when asked about the possibility of UFC commentators Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan being on the broadcast.
- The Middle Eastern version of “The Ultimate Fighter” will be filmed in Abu Dhabi, completely separate for US version.
- White lamented that the UFC will hold events in Abu Dhabi and Afghanistan before doing so in New York. The Octagon girls will be wearing their usual attire Saturday night. He also stated that the UFC have more speakers than Aerosmith did when they played Ferarri world, and that the stadium for the event will be torn down starting Monday.
- Acquiring Emelianenko “has become (his) obsession now,” and hinted that he had been in talks with M-1 recently. When pressed about the fighter’s contract with Strikeforce and CBS, which has come under question lately, White simply stated, “I would never interfere with someone else’s contract.”