President trying to patch things up with Rampage; impressed with Daley’s debut and Brazilian heavyweight’s big win
Vernon Bryant / Dallas Morning News
Junior Dos Santos (blue) celebrates after defeating Mirko Cro Cop (red) at UFC 103 at American Airlines Center in Dallas. Dos Santos defeated Cro Cop.
By Andy Samuelson
Sunday, Sept. 20, 2009 | 3:30 a.m.
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Dallas — While technical knockouts were happening all around him in Big D, UFC boss Dana White, a longtime boxing fan, was keeping tabs on a bout back in Las Vegas.
But much like he predicted, Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s return to the ring was not must-see TV.
“It sucked just like I thought it would, just like I knew it would,” White said of Mayweather’s unanimous decision victory over Juan Manuel Marquez in his first fight in nearly two years.
“It was a horrendous. It went to a 12-round boring decision.”
Whether or not all fight fans echo White’s sentiments or not should be made clear early this week when pay-per-view ratings are released for both UFC 103 and the prize fight at the MGM Grand.
Patching things up with Rampage
White and Quinton Jackson are talking once again, but don’t expect to see them hugging it out anytime soon.
"We kind of made up," said White, who earlier this week said he refused talk to the former light heavyweight champ who chose to film a theatrical version of “The A-Team” instead of fulfill his commitment of fighting Rashad Evans at UFC 107 in Jackson’s hometown of Memphis.
"We're going to figure it out. (Jackson) wants the Rashad fight. He's in Vancouver doing this movie. It is what it is. Now we just have to figure out when. We'll see what happens."
White went on to say that hiccups on the filming of the movie might push the fight back until early spring.
"(Filming) was supposed to be done right around December. Now (Rampage) is saying that they have makeup dates and stuff like that, so he couldn't even fight in February."
White didn’t cuss Jackson out like he has in a previous press session, but he seemed pretty upset by Rampage’s career choice.
"Rampage is an active fighter that took that spot on The Ultimate Fighter, and he can say he did it for me or whatever, but there was a commitment there to fight at the end of the show," White said. "He could have fought in that fight and went and did seven movies for all I care. He could have taken four years off and did whatever he wanted to do. He was obligated to take that fight.
"We put him on the show. Rashad went on the show, and Rashad is sitting on the sidelines. It affected a lot of different things."
White impressed by TUF ratings
While the main fight of the show may be in jeopardy, the popular reality show on Spike TV seems to be doing just fine, as Wednesday night's record numbers attest.
“No doubt about it, it was very successful. We had our expectations on what we thought it might do, and that wasn’t it,” White said of the highest-rated debut show in Spike TV history.
“It did 5.1 million viewers. It did 4.1 at 10 O’clock, and the replay did another million viewers at midnight. Those numbers are crazy. The Ultimate Fight Night that night did 2.6 million viewers. It was a big night for us, but tonight was, too.”
Still dancing on the Liddell question
Unlike his position on Jackson’s Hollywood dreams, White said he’s actually looking forward to good friend Chuck Liddell try to make it in Tinseltown.
The difference obviously is that the legendary Liddell is not actively fighting and doing his project on his own time.
While White remains firm on his stance that he doesn’t want Liddell to fight again he said he’s going to touch base with “The Iceman” this week.
“I’m not his dad. We’re gonna talk about it. I’m gonna fly out to L.A. and watch him dance on Monday, we’ll see how he does and then we’ll talk after that,” White said.
“Chuck doing Dancing with the Stars is great. He weighs like 212, he doesn’t weight 212 the week of a fight. So he’s taking this more seriously than he was taking the fighting. I’m happy he found something to focus on. I think everyone knows how I feel about Chuck Liddell — he has nothing left to prove, other than he can dance.”
Brazilian big boy makes big statement
Junior Dos Santos proved his stunning uppercut knockout of Fabricio Werdum at UFC 90 was no fluke as he dominated Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic for three rounds Saturday before finally finishing the well-known Croatian striker in the third stanza.
“Dos Santos came bursting on the scene and he’s done some big things,” White said. “He trains with Nogueira, he could have gone in there and shot and tried to take that to the ground. He didn’t. He stood toe-to-toe with Mirko Cro Cop and tried to knock him out, and eventually he did.
“He’s an exciting fighter. I’m really excited about our heavyweight division right now. It just keeps getting better and better.”
Englishmen Paul Daley reminded fight fans that on any given day in MMA, anything is possible.
The 26-year-old ruined Martin Kampmann’s bid to become the top welterweight contender when he scored a standing TKO.
While Kampmann was angry about the stoppage, it was clear to White that the Xtreme Couture fighter didn’t know where he was at the time.
But Daley sure did in his debut, and he promised similar results in whatever match-up he’s presented next.
“I’m a figther’s fighter. I’ll fight whoever, I proved that by stepping up and fighting Kampmann,” he said. “I’ll do it again. I don’t care who is standing in front of me. I’m just gonna be the same fighter and go out there and finish people.”
Koscheck wants the best
Moments after his TKO of Frank Trigg, Josh Koscheck told announcer Joe Rogan that he wanted to fight Matt Hughes.
A little later in the postfight press conference, the former All-American wrestler upped the ante for his next challenge.
“I think he should fight me next,” Koscheck joked when a question of who should be welterweight champ Georges St. Pierre next challenger came up. “That’s up to these (gesturing to White.
“I’ve always said that I will fight anybody, anytime, any place. There’s a lot of young fighters out there, I’ll fight any of those guys. I want marquee fights. I think Matt Hughes would be a great fight, I think Georges St. Pierre would be an even better fight.”
Andy Samuelson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-948-7837 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 702-948-7837 end_of_the_skype_highlighting.