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Fireside chat with UFC President Dana White

The always colorful Dana White holds court to answer any and all questions regarding UFC

Dana White

Andy Samuelson

UFC President Dana White talks during Thursday’s UFC 102 press conference as Randy Couture looks on at the Portland Marriott Downtown Waterfront.

Fireside Chat with Dana White: UFC 102

UFC President Dana White is known for sitting down with media members at every pre-fight press conference to answer any and all questions about his organization. In our first installment of Fireside Chat, White discusses everything from a contract extension for Randy Couture, to Chuck Liddell on Dancing with the Stars.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Dana White is known for many things. Being a man of few words isn’t one of them.

The UFC president makes it a point to answer any and all questions media members have for him at pre-fight press conferences.

Sometimes his answers are informative. Sometimes they are insightful. Other times they’re just entertaining.

The Las Vegas Sun would like to give its audience a look into these conversations with its new package, Fireside Chats, which includes a video and text breakdown of the answers White provides. While this version probably features a little stronger language than the ones of the 1930s with Franklin D. Roosevelt, it is Dana White so that's to be expected.

This time, it was from the pre-fight press conference for UFC 102 on Aug. 27.

WEC rumors cont.

White refused to give a clear-cut answer on whether or not ongoing speculation that the UFC would be adopting the lighter weight classes and dropping the WEC brand name. White did say that the idea makes sense and that something along those lines could happen in the near future.

Couture extension

White confirmed that the UFC is working on a contract extension with 46-year-old Randy Couture. Although he offered few details on the deal, he did say he would support the proposition of Couture moving back down to the light heavyweight division to face, among others, Anderson Silva.

Diego Sanchez is next for B.J. Penn

It’s official that Diego Sanchez is getting the next title shot at B.J. Penn’s belt. However that fight will not happen in Manchester, England as some speculated it would. White did say that there is a chance the UFC will schedule another event in November, which would bring the total for that month to three including UFC 105 and 106. White also said that the new event would not be aired on Spike TV or pay-per-view…hinting that a network deal could be in the works.

Why the video blogs stopped

Many were disappointed earlier this month when White announced via Twitter that he would no longer be filming his popular video blog. When asked about it on Thursday White said, “Something weird happened to me during the blogging.” White went on to say that he received letters from viewers calling him out on his lavish lifestyle during a time where many Americans are struggling financially. “It’s not the right time in the world right now for me to be doing the blogs,” he added.

Not a Mazzagatti fan

Thursday wasn't the first time White offered his opinion that Nevada mixed martial arts referee Steve Mazzagatti shouldn't be allowed near the Octagon. Mazzagatti's career has featured more controversial moments than one might want, most notably his involvement in the first fight between Brock Lesnar and Frank Mir where he penalized Lesnar and stood the fight up due to questionable punches to the back of Mir's head. After the call of course, Mir went on to win the fight.

Chuck Liddell the professional dancer?

White joked that he hoped that the announcement that Chuck Liddell would become the first UFC fighter to appear on 'Dancing with the Stars' would mean he's found a new career path. While White claims Liddell will tell him behind closed doors he's okay with the idea his fighting career is over, publicly he's always made it sound as though his time in the Octagon isn't finished. For now, we'll see what he's got on the stage. Whether he's truly done as a fighter is a question that's yet to be answered.

St. Pierre's next challenge

Because of the early success Anderson Silva has seen in the 205-pound division, a fight between he and Georges St. Pierre has become much less likely than it appeared just a few months ago. White said that the biggest challenge lying ahead for St. Pierre is recovering from the groin injury he suffered at UFC 100. He also said that the next top contender at welterweight would likely be the winner of Mike Swick versus Martin Kampmann at UFC 103.

Beef with Showtime, not Strikeforce

It would probably be a stretch to say that White is a Strikeforce 'fan', but he did claim he feels no animosity towards the MMA organization. Those feelings are reserved for the Showtime network.

"I don't dislike Strikeforce, I dislike Showtime," White said. "I don't like them. I don't like their attitude. They think they're better than they are. My fight is with them, not Strikeforce."

White went on to say that the UFC would not schedule a live event just for the sake of counter-programming Fedor Emelianenko's debut for Strikeforce in November.

"I can beat Strikeforce with a card we've aired 790,000 times," he said. "I don't need to run a live event."

Base jumping

Nobody is forgetting White’s promise that he would base jump off the top of Mandalay Bay if UFC 100 eclipsed 1.5 million pay-per-view buys (which it did). White promised media for the billionth time Thursday that he wasn’t backing out of his promise and still trying to talk the right people at the hotel and casino into letting him do it.

Brett Okamoto can be reached at 948-7817 or [email protected].

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