LAS VEGAS – UFC president Dana White knows a thing or two about brawls at press conferences.
On Tuesday afternoon, a brawl broke out at the pre-fight press conference for an upcoming boxing match between Caleb Plant and Canelo Alvarez. White, if present, is usually the man standing between UFC fighters when they come face-to-face at press conferences and weigh-ins, but was confused as to why the promoters allowed the two boxers to get so close without someone standing between them should tempers flare.
“I’m not surprised at ‘sh*t-Showtime’ those guys are great, they’re really good at what they do – from production, to press conferences, they’re f*cking awesome,” White said sarcastically during the Dana White’s Contender Series 40 post-fight news conference on Tuesday evening. “How long have you been in the business, that you would let two fighters go up to each other, face-to-face, without somebody there to try to (stop them).”
The brawl between the two fighters was quick, but damage was caused to Plant’s right eye. Initially thought to be caused by the open-handed strikes thrown by Alvarez, a cut on Plant’s right eye was caused by the sunglasses Plant was wearing, Plant’s manager, Luis DeCubas Jr. told ESPN. The cut is not expected to affect the fight as it is currently scheduled.
Showtime, who is the entity promoting the fight, drew harsh criticism from White as he believed they handled the entire situation poorly.
“Then, when it breaks out, there’s like two women that are there between them before there’s a man anywhere near it,” White continued about the brawl. “You couldn’t be f*cking dumber than what they did today. Risk a massive fight with one of the biggest stars in the sport by not having the fighters safe.
“You can’t have two alpha males walk up to each other face-to-face at the f*cking supper club or wherever they were today having that press conference, and let two guys stare down without someone there to break it up.”
Currently, White ensures either himself or one of the UFC matchmakers, Sean Shelby or Mick Maynard, are always present to stand between competitors when they do staredowns before fights.
There have been a number of times in the past where fighters have put their hands on each other during staredowns. Perhaps the most infamous UFC incident was between former champions Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier went at it as former UFC public relations vice president Dave Sholler attempted to stop the brawl.
While these moments are intended to be photo opportunities for the media and fans, the worst-case scenario is that a fight gets canceled due to a faceoff altercation, which has happened even when there is someone present to break the fighters apart, like when Jeremy Stephens shoved Drakkar Klose.
The idea is to keep the fighters from engaging in a full-on fight before their officially sanctioned bouts are scheduled to take place.
“But they’re awesome, they do a great job with everything they do,” White said sarcastically again, taking one last shot at Showtime.
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