UFC President Dana White Rips Strikeforce, Guarantees He'll Sign Shields
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April 22, 2010 12:35 a.m. EST
Topics: sports, mixed martial arts
Shawn Krest - AHN Sports Correspondent
New York, NY, United States (AHN) - In an exclusive interview, UFC President Dana White ripped Strikeforce for their April 17 melee and guaranteed that a current Strikeforce Middleweight champion will be joining UFC.
“Jake Shields is definitely going to leave Strikeforce,” said White, “and he’s definitely coming to the UFC.”
Shields defeated Dan Henderson in last Saturday’s Strikeforce Nashville show. Henderson was making his debut in the organization after leaving UFC as a high-profile free agent last December.
Shields, undefeated since 2004, was fighting in the last bout of his current contract and made no secret of his desire to explore free agency.
Henderson nearly scored an early knockout, but Shields was able to recover and dominated the final four rounds on the ground to win a unanimous decision.
After the bout, Jason “Mayhem” Miller, who lost to Shields last November in a battle for the vacant Middleweight title, entered the cage to challenge Shields during the champion’s post-fight interview.
Team Shields shoved Miller away, causing a wild brawl at the end of the CBS network broadcast.
White, who has never tried to hide his lack of respect for the competing MMA organization, immediately posted an update to his Twitter account with a two-symbol assessment of the situation:
“I was actually down in Mexico,” White told AHN. “I was getting regular updates on it all night.”
“I know, you know, everybody knows that these guys shou”ld not have been on CBS,” White continued.
White explained that he nearly signed a deal with CBS to air UFC bouts, making the embarrassing incident even sweeter for him to watch from afar.
“We were close,” he said. “Then the ShoBox idiots said, ‘We can do this. We’ll compete with UFC. We know boxing. MMA is just another kind of fighting.’”
“Showtime Boxing sucks,” continued White. “How do they think they’re going to do better at MMA?”
On the other hand, Saturday’s CBS show featured three bouts which all went the distance. With no highlight reel knockouts or submissions, it’s doubtful that people would still be talking about the event days later without the near riot in the post-fight interview.
“I don’t think that’s the kind of attention CBS is looking for,” responded White. “I don’t know what network would be thrilled about what we saw Saturday night.”
“This isn’t pro wrestling,” he continued. “It’s a real sport with real athletes. That‘s not the kind of PR that we need.”
Having said that, White still accused Strikeforce of orchestrating the incident.
“It happened for a lot of reasons,” he said. “First of all, they put all of their eggs in the Dan Henderson basket. They went out and acquired him and thought he was worth a lot more money than we were willing to pay him. They went out and paid him more money than they can afford to.“
“They never respected Jake Shields, who is their champion,” White continued. “They didn’t even have him in their commercials for the fight. Then the fight happens and Jake Shields wins.”
“They were like, ’Oh my God. He won. What do we do?’” said White. “I think they sent (Miller) in there to challenge him, so that if Jake leaves, it looks like he doesn’t want to fight Miller. That‘s not the way you do it. You let the winner speak, then you ask him at the end about whether he‘s willing to fight Miller.”
“But that’s them,” concluded White. “They’re a Podunk, unknown, small-time organization. There shouldn‘t have been that many guys in the cage in the first place!”