Thursday, June 10, 2010 | 3:53 p.m.
VANCOUVER — The UFC is in Vancouver, Canada, for the first time in company history after a long period of negotiating that nearly saw the deal fall through because of high demands placed on the organization by the host city.
Eventually everything came together and UFC president Dana White took center stage Thursday at GM Place for the pre-fight press conference leading up to Saturday's UFC 115.
White is known for sitting down and shooting straight answers to any questions the media may have leading up to an event. Here are a few highlights from Thursday's chat.
Mauricio Shogun Rua has knee surgery again
White confirmed reports that newly crowned light heavyweight champion Mauricio "Shogun" Rua has had to undergo knee surgery for the second time in two years.
The procedure apparently has gone well in Los Angeles, and Rua now will spend the next five weeks rehabbing the injury in Las Vegas, according to White.
It was reported that Rua had injured the left knee prior to taking the belt from Lyoto Machida at UFC 113, a report the UFC refused to confirm.
White stuck with his story that Rua suffered the injury during the Machida fight and not before — however, he wasn't very convincing.
"He needed it after the fight," said White, with a grin. "He got hurt in the fight."
White not ready to take UFC to NFL and MLB stadiums
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum has made it clear he intends to take boxing matches outside of the traditional confines of Las Vegas.
In March, Arum took his prized fighter Manny Pacquiao to Dallas Cowboys Stadium and recently held a fight between Miguel Cotto and Yuri Foreman at the new Yankee Stadium.
White was impressed by the show in Dallas but not nearly as much by the one in New York. He went on to add that the only place he has a strong desire to take the UFC to right now would be Fenway Park, because of its smaller size.
"I didn't think that (New York) show looked good on TV," White said. "With the amount of people they had, they could have done it at (Madison Square Garden). That place looked enormous, and it looked more than half-empty.
"I like smaller venues. I just don't want to lose that experience you feel when you go to a live event."
White to his fighters: Leave drug testing to the commissions
White publicly has given his opinion on several occasions that Floyd Mayweather Jr. is wrong in demanding Manny Pacquiao undergo Olympic-style blood tests in their proposed fight.
So, of course, White was a little disgusted when UFC welterweight Josh Koscheck recently said in an interview he would like to implement blood tests for his next fight against Georges St. Pierre, which is expected to happen in December.
Currently, the Nevada State Athletic Commission requires fighters to undergo urine tests, not blood tests.
According to White, what's good for the commissions is good for him.
"I think that's what an athletic commission is for," White said. "The athletic commissions have been around for a long time. When fighters start talking about other guys being drug tested? Shut up. Worry about you.
"It's been a long time since somebody tested positive for steroids. When we first took over, guys were popping here and there and I said, 'You have to be a moron to do steroids in this sport.' It's just dumb."
White went on to say that the UFC actually brings in DEA agents to talk to fighters about the consequences of taking steroids.
Cro Cop in surprisingly good mood
The usually subdued Mirko Cro Cop Filipovic has been noticeably upbeat headed into his co-main event fight against Pat Barry at UFC 115.
During Thursday's press conference, Filipovic cracked a couple of jokes that had everyone laughing — something that surprised White even more because of the fact that "some things" have happened to Filipovic that White wouldn't elaborate on.
"It's crazy he's in good spirits," White said. "He's gone through some things since he's been here that nobody knows about. It's nothing that will affect the fight, but it's awesome he's in such good spirits."
Filipovic is in the last fight on his UFC contract and when asked if the UFC would want to keep him around, White was vague, although he did say a win over Barry would be highly impressive.
"I have a lot of respect for Pat Barry," White said. "Pat is a very motivated, tough guy and if Mikro beats him it's interesting."
Chuck Liddell was a zombie
Back when the eleventh season of 'The Ultimate Fighter' went into production, Tito Ortiz dropped a bombshell on MMA media when he announced that Chuck Liddell was a recovering alcoholic.
Both Liddell and White responded by saying the claim was completely false, however White did admit Thursday that biggest factor in Liddell's fall from the top of the light heavyweight division was his partying.
White said Liddell has earned the right to get back into competition since making changes to his lifestyle and actually credited his appearance on 'Dancing with the Stars' as what sparked his comeback.
"It's going to be something interesting to see on Saturday," White said. "Chuck Liddell was a zombie, man, literally walking around like a zombie. You can't go out and party every night, roll into camp for four weeks and come out and fight.
"This guy took a lot of time off, which I'm usually not a big fan of because ring rust is real, but Chuck Liddell needed that time off. As goofy as this sounds, that time on 'Dancing with the Stars' was good for him. He started getting in shape for that show and has continued up until now.
Brett Okamoto can be reached at 948-7817 or [email protected].