**UFC president Dana White spoke with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto on a variety of subjects with the following highlights:
*White said they have never pushed the envelope when it comes to the health and safety of its athletes when asked about being aggressive to run a show somewhere in the world with fans. White doesn’t believe it’s the right time and isn’t looking at any options with fans now.
*He had high praise for Khamzat Chimaev, who had a ten-day turnaround beating John Phillips with a D’Arce choke in 1:12 of the first round on July 15th and came back this past weekend to dominate Rhys McKee in 3:09 of the first round absorbing zero strikes in that fight. White said Chimaev wants to fight in August and he’s going to try and make that happen. Chimaev has a ton of potential as a star and could not have looked better but you always have to temper expectations when a star comes out of the gate like this, similar to Johnny Walker who was tested once the competition got tougher.
*White ranted about the media second-guessing their decision to run events stating the media has a right to their opinions on fights but know nothing about the business end of the sport.
*They will be going back to Abu Dhabi, but he wouldn’t disclose when.
*White said “anything is possible” when asked about Cody Garbrandt challenging Deiveson Figueiredo for the flyweight title. It’s a hard division to book where there are no stars and Garbrandt is a star but has never fought at the division. Of the available options at 125 pounds, it is the biggest fight you can make for Figueiredo.
*White also didn’t dismiss the idea of Alexander Volkanovski and Max Holloway having a third fight, although noted that Volkanovski is probably not interested after winning both fights. That fight was so close and there is an argument for it, but I would be frustrated being Volkanovski, who has every right to want a new challenger. The issue is all the top featherweights are booked, according to White, but the other side of that is you will have several contenders once those fights take place.
*He hopes that UFC 252 isn’t Daniel Cormier’s last fight because he feels he has more left but it’s up to Cormier if he wants to retire
*The last subject was a change of opinion regarding a theoretical fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Georges St-Pierre, which was the fight both men wanted. White said if Nurmagomedov only had two fights left in his career with one being Justin Gaethje, he would be open to the final fight of his career being against St-Pierre. If Nurmamgomedov was to retire, it would change the optics of the fight where it wouldn’t be a case of St-Pierre coming back, winning a belt, and leaving because in this case, it would likely be the final fight for both men’s careers. I have no doubt that fight would do enormous business given the two men’s brands worldwide and as close to a dream fight as the UFC has at their disposal.
**The UFC has been awarded damages in a case filed against a dining establishment in Florida for the unauthorized airing of UFC 239 in July 2019. The company sued the Miss Saigon Restaurant and its owner Mylinh Nguyen were seeking $40,000 in damages for the unauthorized interception of the broadcast, $40,000 in damages for copyright infringement, $612 in attorney’s fees, and $800 in other costs.
The suit alleged that the defendant aired the pay-per-view without paying the licensing fee establishments are required to pay, which was listed as a figure of $1,095. They also claimed that the airing of the event captured on video through Facebook Live that showed patrons watching the card in the establishment.
The court found the damages to be an excessive figure. Based on the amount the restaurant would have had to pay to broadcast the card, and multiplying by two based on the infringements the court arrived at a figure of $2,190 along with $1,000 in enhanced damages along with the attorney’s fees and costs leaving the plaintiff with a total amount owed of $4,602. The court added:
It is impossible to ignore the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in applying this standard. Restaurants remain in significant economic distress,4 with restrictions on indoor dining capacity still in effect. 5 An award that might otherwise amount to a strong deterrent could be catastrophic. Accordingly, the Court will award $1,000 in enhanced damages, for total damages of $3,190 (plus attorney’s fees and costs).
**The UFC Fight Night card from Saturday night in Abu Dhabi was #1 on cable that night with the main card pulling in a 0.35 rating (458,000 viewers) in the 18-49 demographic and 908,000 viewers. The card was headlined by Robert Whittaker’s decision victory over Darren Till and featured a third fight between Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. They did have sports competition with Fox’s Major League Baseball coverage with the 7:30 pm ET game averaging 2,790,000 viewers and a 0.7 rating in the demo.
**The UFC prelims did 483,000 viewers and a 0.15 (199,000 viewers) in the 18-49 demo, which was eighth for the night on cable. The featured bout of the prelims was the controversial fight involving Francisco Trinaldo and Jai Herbert where announcer Dan Hardy voiced his displeasure that Herb Dean didn’t stop the fight early enough. In total, ESPN’s coverage of the card lasted from 5 pm until 11:14 pm Eastern.
**As a comparison, last weekend’s UFC prelims did 509,000 viewers while the main card aired on ESPN+ for the card headlined by Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Joseph Benavidez. The last Fight Night card to air completely on ESPN was the Wednesday night card on July 15th with Calvin Kattar vs. Dan Ige that 536,000 for the main card and 434,000 for the prelims, which can be blamed on the night of the week. The last Saturday Fight Night to air fully on ESPN was on June 27th with the main card headlined by Dustin Poirier vs. Dan Hooker averaging 1,070,000 (0.43 in the 18-49 demo) and the prelims doing 635,000 viewers (0.24 in the demo).
**Tony Ferguson told ESPN’s Ariel Helwani that he is open to fighting again this year after the loss to Justin Gaethje in May. He would be willing to fight Conor McGregor or Dustin Poirier and after that, facing the winner of Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Gaethje that has been announced for October 24th.
**UFC fighter Alan Jouban announced that he has tested positive for COVID-19. He said he began feeling symptoms on Sunday and was tested the following day before receiving a positive diagnosis. Jouban (16-7) last fought in April 2019 where he dropped a split decision to Dwight Grant.
**VaynerSports, which is owned by Gary Vaynerchuk has expanded its sports agency with an addition of several MMA clients to its roster. ESPN’s Marc Raimondi has a story on the expansion of the agency with the announcements that Tony Ferguson, Colby Covington, Urijah Faber, Chris Weidman, Eddie Alvarez, Curtis Blaydes, and Vitor Belfort are among those joining its new combat and action sports division of the agency. MMA agent Lloyd Pierson and Sarah Zemonek are leaving the Ballengee Group to join the agency with Zemonek handling the day-to-day management of the fighters.
**The musical chairs fight of the year between Frankie Edgar and Pedro Munhoz appears to be moving to yet another date. The two were scheduled to fight on July 15th on Yas Island but was delayed after Munhoz contracted COVID-19 and it was moved to the UFC 252 card on August 15th. Now, Combate is reporting that it will be delayed another week with the UFC in need of the main event for their Fight Night card on August 22nd. The fight will mark Edgar’s long-awaited debut in the bantamweight division following losses at featherweight to then-champion Max Holloway and Chan Sung Jung in his previous two fights. Munhoz has not competed since June 2019 where he had a three-fight win streak ended by a decision loss to Aljamain Sterling.
**Invicta FC returns with a show Thursday night on UFC Fight Pass at 8 pm Eastern with the following card in Kansas City, Kansas:
*Janaisa Morandin (10-3) vs. Montserrat Ruiz (8-1)
*Erin Blanchfield (5-1) vs. Brogan Sanchez (6-1)
*Kaitlin Young (10-10-1) vs. Latoya Walker (5-1)
*Kelly D’Angelo (4-3) vs. Itzel Esquivel (4-3)
*Claire Guthrie (1-0) vs. Caitlin Sammons (2-0)
*Natalya Speece (0-0) vs. Alexa Culp (0-0)
**LFA will hold an event this Friday from Sioux Falls, South Dakota headlined by Bryce Logan taking on Jacob Rosales for the promotion’s vacant lightweight title.
ON THIS DATE
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