Dana White and Luke Rockhold have been beefing for a few months, and now the UFC boss and one of his fighters are taking their feud public, airing their grievances on social media.
As ESPN reports, White and Rockhold haven’t been seeing eye to eye for a while now, and it has to do with the way White books fights. White has booked a middleweight title fight between Michael Bisping and Georges St-Pierre, which is weird because St.-Pierre hasn’t fought since 2013 and, by just about any analysis, doesn’t deserve a shot at the title right away.
That hasn’t sat well with Rockhold, who believes that the middleweight title picture is unclear, especially with St.-Pierre in the mix. Further, he says, he’s been reluctant to accept bouts because he’s unclear of where he stands.
— Faizan Ahmad (@Faizan11_Ahmad) April 29, 2017
Last week, at a UFC news conference, White took exception to the idea of one of his employees telling him how to do his job. He also took a jab at Rockhold’s performance against Bisping, in which he was knocked out in the first round.
“You got Rockhold right now, screaming, ‘I deserve this,’ — you just got knocked out in the first round. You don’t deserve anything. You have to come back and earn it.”
On Tuesday, Rockhold responded to the jab on Twitter, in a post that appears to have since been deleted.
“I never said I deserved a title shot. I said we [middleweights] deserve clarity. We deserve something to fight for. You have to earn your way in this company? Tell me how did [St-Pierre] earn a middleweight title shot? Think before you run your mouth.”
That got White to respond.
— Dana White (@danawhite) May 16, 2017
As it turns out, it’s all for naught, as there isn’t going to be a Bisping-St.-Pierre fight after all. St.-Pierre won’t be able to fight until November at the earliest, and instead, Yoel Romero with challenge Bisping for the middleweight title, says White, although that fight hasn’t officially been confirmed.
— TheMacLife (@Maclifeofficial) May 14, 2017
Beyond the Bisping-St.-Pierre fight issue is a larger problem in MMA, according to Rockhold, and it’s MMA’s new tendency to schedule matchups based on fan appeal rather than which fighters legitimately deserve a shot at each other. As Fox Sports explains, Rockhold, who has been angling for a second shot at Bisping, sees White as employing “WWE-Style Matchmaking.”
“I’m bummed they took this route and it’s kind of taking away from the sport. Heart of the sport, it’s about the top guys fighting each other. This isn’t WWE. This is fighting. This is what it’s all about. So when they make moves like this it definitely makes you question a lot of things and what you’re doing and how you approach things.”
In fact, there has been a lot of crossover between Wrestling and Mixed Martial Arts of late, as several MMA fighters — such as CM Punk and Brock Lesnar — have tried their hands in the ring.
However, one point that needs to be made is that, for now anyway, MMA fights are absolutely, 100 percent real. WWE bouts, as you undoubtedly know, are scripted. Similarly, most of the backstage “beefs” between wrestlers are also scripted. Whether or not MME’s backstage sniping is real or scripted (or at the very least, hyped up for the audience) is difficult to say conclusively. But as Bleacher Report noted in February, for some time Wrestling and MMA have been “Kissing Cousins.”
Do you believe that Luke Rockhold has a legitimate complaint about how Dana White is scheduling matches?
[Featured Image by Michael Reaves/Getty Images, Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images]