UFC 259: 3 things we learned from Dana White
Here are the highlights from Dana White’s media scrum following UFC 259.
A heavily stacked and hyped UFC 259 resulted in several highlights throughout the preliminary card, as well as memorable moments — both for good and for bad — on the pay-per-view main card.
In the main event, Jan Blachowicz became the first man to defeat Israel Adesanya in MMA, scoring a unanimous decision win to remain UFC light heavyweight champion and dash Adesanya’s champ-champ hopes.
In the co-main event, Amanda Nunes furthered her legacy by submitting Megan Anderson in about three minutes to retain the UFC women’s featherweight championship. Meanwhile, the UFC bantamweight title fight made dubious history, as an illegal knee in the fourth round resulted in Aljamain Sterling defeating Petr Yan by disqualification to win the title — becoming the first UFC fighter to win a championship by such a method.
As per usual following a major pay-per-view event, UFC President Dana White sat down and shared some thoughts on the night with the media.
Here is what we learned from UFC President Dana White following UFC 259.
1. Dana White wants Israel Adesanya to focus on middleweight, says potential superfight with Jon Jones is off
With a win in the champion vs. champion main event, Israel Adesanya would have become the fifth fighter in UFC history to earn champ-champ status, and the eighth overall to win titles in two different UFC divisions.
Instead, however, the fight was a quiet affair, with Blachowicz and Adesanya fighting patiently and technically in the first three rounds. Blachowicz overall outlanded Adesanya, but Adesanya seemed to have control by confusing the defending champ with his feinting. But Blachowicz utilized takedowns to take the final two rounds and the judges’ scorecards.
Following the loss, Adesanya said he intended to return to 185 and defend his middleweight title — and White agreed that was what Adesanya should do. It also rules out a possible showdown with former longtime light heavyweight champion and heated rival Jon Jones, who is preparing for his heavyweight debut, and potentially the winner of Stipe Miocic vs. Francis Ngannou 2.
He, however, did give praise for Adesanya trying to write history and, in Adesanya’s own words, “dare to be great.”
“He doesn’t get the light heavyweight title. He doesn’t get Jon Jones,” White said. “But you know what, you never hurt somebody for trying to be big and trying to become great. He gave it a shot tonight, and it didn’t happen. And Jan is the man. He is the 205-pound champ, and now he starts taking on all comers in the division.
“Jon Jones used to be at [light heavyweight]. Jon’s going to be so much bigger than Israel. I think Israel should focus on middleweight right now. Get back in there and keep doing what he does in the middleweight division.”
White confirmed that Glover Teixeira will be next in line for Blachowicz and his title.
2. Dana White feels judges give out 10-8 rounds too easy and is tired of it
One of the bigger storylines and controversies coming out of the UFC 259 main event, however, came when the scores were announced. Blachowicz won on all three judges’ cards, with one judge scoring the bout 49-46, and the other two 49-45.
The latter two judges’ scorecards included a 10-8 round in favor of Blachowicz in the fifth, which saw the defending 205-pound champ take down Adesanya and get into full mount with just seconds remaining in the bout.
Many critics came out in regards to the judges’ scores, with many having the bout even at two rounds a piece heading into the final round. White is one of these people. In particular, he pointed at the 10-8s handed out as the biggest problem.
A 10-8 round used to only be given out when one fighter “overwhelmingly dominates” his or her opponent. However, under the newer set of Unified Rules of MMA that came into effect in 2017, the definition of a 10-8 round was relaxed to when one fighter “wins [the round] by a large margin.”
And it sounds like White wants to go back to the old definition.
“When I came up in the fight business, a 10-8 round was an a** whooping,” White said. “This 10-8 s*** is out of control right now. Hopefully we can get this fixed. They’re going to screw up a lot of fights if they’re handing out 10-8s like that. There was no 10-8 in that fight.
“People who watch fights every weekend thought that fight was 4-1. It’s a big problem with judging right now that needs to be fixed.”
3. Dana White has no answer as to why Petr Yan threw the DQ-causing knee
Petr Yan seemed to be in complete control of Aljamain Sterling in their bantamweight title fight, overwhelming the challenger with striking pressure and preventing Sterling from doing much in terms of the grappling he was expected to have a big advantage in.
In spite of being ahead on the scorecards, Yan ended up losing his championship by disqualification late in the fourth round. Yan threw a knee while Sterling was grounded, and Sterling was left unable to continue the match.
Plenty of claims from fans and fellow fights alike say that Sterling was milking the injury, and Yan and Sterling have since been going at one another in a Twitter war.
In response to Yan’s statement about not meaning to intentionally throw an illegal strike, and when asked why Yan would throw such in the moment, White had no answer.
“Do I think the knee was intentional? Yeah, he threw the knee,” White said through laughter. “He didn’t slip and accidentally land the knee. It was an intentional knee. [Sterling] got hit with a knee. I saw some guys on the Internet saying ‘It didn’t even land!’ Oh it landed, it landed. I felt it.”
“I think that there’s a lot of fatigue, frustration…it was a good fight. But the thing is he was starting to turn it on, he was starting to win the fight, absolutely, positively taking control of the fight. He was winning. You could see Aljamain Sterling breaking. Why you throw that knee? I couldn’t tell you.”
UFC 259 took place on Saturday, March 6, 2021, live from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, NV. Follow along with FanSided who will be on-site for all your live news and highlights.
Published at Mon, 08 Mar 2021 17:21:13 +0000