Dana White, the outspoken UFC president, has never shied away from calling out guys for their behaviors both inside and outside the ring.
When Anderson Silva was once in the middle of a historic 17-fight win streak, he phoned in one performance against Thales Leites and won a unanimous decision, claiming that he did not finish the fighter out of respect and because he was a friend.
That caused Dana White to admit in a press conference that “I’ve never been embarrassed of a UFC fight like I was tonight.”
He has also gone to war with words against UFC legends like Randy Couture and Tito Ortiz, the latter of which almost came to blows.
Keeping all of that in mind, it may not seem as harsh what he said about Jon Jones’ comeback performance at UFC 197, but it definitely lacked flattery.
“I’m a firm believer in ring rust,” White said on the FOX Sports 1 post-fight show. (Jones was out of action for 15 months due to personal turmoil that included a hit-and-run accident.)
He continued, “Jon Jones looked rusty tonight and it was a really good thing for him that it was OSP tonight, the sixth-ranked guy, and not Cormier, because he was able to get some rounds under his belt, get in there and feel himself out. Now he knows what he has to do when he gets back in the gym.”
Dana White knows about the history between Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones and how the men share an intense hatred for one another that even once resulted in a pre-fight press conference brawl.
That hatred was still on display Saturday night (April 23) when Jones won his unanimous decision against Ovince Saint Preux.
As Jones left the cage, he flipped the bird to Daniel Cormier.
News Jon Jones had no words for Daniel Cormier — just a finger https://t.co/BCDZCJCVMh
— news4trends.com (@news4trends) April 24, 2016
The two men have met one other time, resulting in a unanimous decision victory for Jon Jones. Shortly thereafter, Jones sidelined himself with drug use and the hit-and-run.
While he was out of action, the light heavyweight title had to be vacated, and that gave Cormier a chance to step up and win it from Anthony Johnson in 2015.
Responding to the sign of disrespect after UFC 197, Cormier took it upon himself to remind Jon Jones who the champion is.
“Don’t bring that interim belt,” Cormier said. “You leave that at home. That’s garbage. That’s a play belt. They got that thing from the kiosk upstairs before they gave that to you in the middle of the Octagon. Leave that thing at home, Jon. Come chase this real title, and get beat, and I’ll ship you back to Albuquerque.”
For Dana White to invoke Daniel Cormier in describing Jon Jones’ lackluster performance, he took a clear but subtle dig at where Jones’ skill sets are now and how much they have faded amid his personal struggles.
While White will be the first to admit that Jones is one of the greatest champions in UFC history — his only loss to date was because of a disqualification in which the guy who “beat” him was left unconscious from an illegal elbow — he is also one of the most problematic.
As a business person, Dana White appreciates the money that Jones draws, but he also realizes that personalities of Jon’s type can sometimes be more trouble than they are worth from a PR and scheduling standpoint.
His Cormier dig should serve to motivate Jones and set up a possible main event grudge match at UFC 200 in July, provided that Cormier can get cleared to do battle by his doctor.
Sounds like the fans like that idea! https://t.co/hUPaptO2Oj
— UFC (@ufc) April 22, 2016
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[Image of Dana White via UFC Website]