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Monday, April 30, 2007
Mixed Martial Arts--- UFC News Round-Up: Tito Ortiz, Brandon Vera, Mirko Cro Cop, Drug Test Failures, Knee Strikes, and More
Originally Published on MMAWeekly
In addition to discussing the UFC's deal with HBO and his plans for Pride, UFC president Dana White also discussed numerous other issues during a media teleconference last week.
A reporter asked White about Tito Ortiz' recent statement that he would still be willing to fight White in an exhibition boxing match if the right contractual terms were reached. White said, "Why would I pay him to fight me? He wanted the fight."
When the reporter continued, asking White whether or not Ortiz is aware that the Nevada State Athletic Commission said that they don't want to hear about the fight again, White responded, "Tito's not aware of anything. He's living in a f---ing bubble. He's out there making himself look like a jackass right now. He ought to shut his face and focus on Rashad Evans."
A reporter mentioned that the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board might be interested in legalizing knees to the head on the ground in MMA, and asked if White thinks the Nevada State Athletic Commission would follow suit if that were to happen. White said, "Probably, because it was New Jersey that didn't want knees to the head before." White has previously stated on multiple occasions that he would personally like to see knees to the head on the ground legalized in MMA.
White also said that Brandon Vera will be fighting on a UFC card in the near future, that the Spike TV program Inside the UFC (which was previously placed on indefinite hiatus) will be returning at some point, and that ESPN will not only be covering UFC events from now on, but may also broadcast live UFC events in the future.
Regarding the UFC's show in the United Kingdom, White said that because there is no athletic commission in the U.K. that regulates MMA events, UFC vice president Marc Ratner would be regulating and overseeing UFC 70. Ratner is the former Executive Director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
A reporter asked about all of the recent drug test failures in the UFC, specifically mentioning Diego Sanchez' positive test for marijuana and Melvin Guillard's positive test for cocaine, and White said that it always sucks whenever any UFC fighter tests positive for anything. When the reporter asked if the UFC would consider instituting random drug testing of its own, in addition to the athletic commission drug testing that always takes place on the day of the events, White did not directly address the question.
Instead, he said that all of the fighters on The Ultimate Fighter have to pass a drug test before they can be on the show, and some of the other fighters are drug-tested by the athletic commissions, but he concluded, "I don't know what else I can do."
Prior to Mirko Cro Cop's loss to Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC 70, Cro Cop also spoke to the media. When asked which fighters he would like to fight other than Gonzaga and Randy Couture, he said that he would like to fight Fedor Emelianenko and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in the very near future.
Cro Cop said that his term in the Croatian Parliament ends in six or seven months, and he will not be seeking a second term.
He will instead return to the Special Forces police unit in Croatia, which he says will not affect his MMA career. Cro Cop said that it has been an honor to serve in Parliament, but that he enjoys fighting more than he enjoys politics.
When asked about the possibility of fighting Chuck Liddell at some point in the future, Cro Cop said that he is not able to make the 205-pound weight limit, but he would welcome a fight with Chuck Liddell or anyone else if the fight was contested in the heavyweight division.