5 UFC main events that Dana White absolutely hated
UFC president Dana White can often be a hard man to please. In the cutthroat world of the UFC, once you reach the top, it’s not enough to win your fights – you’ve got to win in style to really impress. Over the years, we’ve seen a number of big-time UFC main events that, for some reason or another, White simply hated.
This isn’t always the case – there have been occasions when White has actually defended a main event and its participants against the scorn of the media. However, when White’s ire is aimed at one of his own main event fights, it’s always shocking – and pretty entertaining – to see.
With this in mind, here are five UFC main events that Dana White absolutely hated.
#5 Israel Adesanya vs. Yoel Romero (UFC 248)
Israel Adesanya’s UFC middleweight title defense against Yoel Romero at UFC 248 was expected to be an explosive, exciting encounter pitting two of the best 185lbers in the world against one another. Sadly, the fight failed to live up to expectations.
Adesanya and Romero largely put on a staring contest, with only glancing blows landing throughout. ‘The Last Stylebender’ would win a unanimous decision mostly based his leg kicks, and nobody in attendance at the T-Mobile Arena was happy.
Unsurprisingly, that included UFC president Dana White, who seemed disgusted with the fight’s lack of action.
In the direct aftermath of the event, White went on a frank tirade, largely laying the blame for the lacklustre fight at Romero’s doorstep.
White suggested that Romero should’ve come out “like a bat out of hell” and attacked Adesanya, and instead he was simply “acting like he was trying to fight”.
Fascinatingly, the UFC President also admitted that the promotion’s matchmakers weren’t keen on making the clash in the first place given Romero was on a two-fight losing streak – but the “goofy fan” in him meant that he pushed it through.
In hindsight, White admitted, they probably should’ve waited to book Adesanya against Paulo Costa, who was the top contender and injured at the time.
In the end, the UFC president was simply angry with the fight overall, although he also stated that “you can literally put in one hand sh*tty fights that we’ve done”. Unsurprisingly, after this disappointing fight, Romero departed the UFC for Bellator MMA.
#4 Quinton Jackson vs. Rashad Evans (UFC 114)
The fight between Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson and Rashad Evans at UFC 114 was undoubtedly one of the most highly anticipated UFC fights of all time. The feud between the two light heavyweights was filled with bad blood, and it seemed like the clash was guaranteed to produce some fireworks.
However, while it didn’t turn out to be the worst UFC main event of all time, the fight – which was won by Evans via unanimous decision – wasn’t anywhere near as explosive as fans might’ve hoped.
Essentially, Evans recognised he had a big advantage over Jackson in the grappling department, and used it to win – largely avoiding the slugfest that people expected.
At the time – probably due to the star power of both men – Dana White was largely quiet on the events of the fight.
That changed around a year later, when the possibility of a Rashad vs. Rampage rematch began to circulate around the internet. Surprisingly enough, UFC fans seemed excited by the idea, clearly forgetting how dull the first meeting had been.
Dana White, however, had other ideas entirely. When asked by USA Today about the possibility of a rematch, the UFC president was quick to shut the idea down.
White stated that “talking is fun before the fight, but if you do all this talking and then go in there and don’t fight, who wants to see that cr*p again?” He went onto label the fight a “f*cking snoozefest” that nobody would want to see for a second time.
UFC 114 did over a million buys on pay-per-view – perhaps explaining why White stayed quiet at the time – but it was clear by this reaction that this was one UFC main event he hated.
#3 Gray Maynard vs. Clay Guida (UFC on FX 4)
Widely recognised as one of the worst UFC main events in the history of the promotion, the 2012 clash between Gray Maynard and Clay Guida – which headlined the UFC’s fourth show on FX – was a genuinely atrocious fight.
Essentially, despite Maynard’s best attempts to turn the fight into something watchable, Guida seemed content to simply circle around the octagon, almost avoiding any kind of contact with his opponent.
It was a performance that was totally out of character for ‘The Carpenter’, and unsurprisingly, Dana White had plenty to say about the fight in the aftermath.
After stating that he’d have bet anything that the fight would’ve been exciting, White then seemed to let Maynard off the hook entirely. He stated that ‘The Bully’ tried to force Guida into the kind of fight the fans wanted, only for ‘The Carpenter’ to simply refuse to engage. But interestingly, White’s scorn wasn’t fully reserved for Guida.
In a jab seemingly aimed at coach Greg Jackson – who had cornered Guida for the fight after a lengthy training camp – White stated that “some goof put it in his head that running around in circles might win him the fight, and they were dead wrong”.
It wouldn’t be the first time in 2012 that Jackson would find himself on White’s bad side. In the end, though, this was a fight that everybody, not just Dana White, hated. It was hardly a surprise that he stated that it wasn’t the way he wanted to return to Atlantic City.
#2 Curtis Blaydes vs. Alexander Volkov (UFC Vegas 3)
Few things in a UFC main event anger Dana White more than a fighter who talks plenty of trash about what they’re going to do to their opponent, only to not deliver on that talk inside the octagon.
That’s probably why the UFC president disliked the 2020 clash between Curtis Blaydes and Alexander Volkov – which headlined UFC Vegas 3 – so much.
Prior to the fight, Blaydes had promised that fans wouldn’t see a stand-up war between himself and ‘Drago’. Instead, he suggested he’d simply “ragdoll” the Russian fighter around the cage in a one-sided beating.
Blaydes did win the fight in pretty lopsided fashion, but it wasn’t the beating he promised to deliver. ‘Razor’ instead largely outwrestled Volkov for a decision, and to make matters worse, he appeared to run out of steam late in the fight.
It wasn’t the worst headliner of all time, but Dana White was clearly irked in the aftermath. He stated that Blaydes had the “wrong attitude”, and then claimed that “when you talk the sh*t that he talked and perform like he performed tonight, you look stupid”.
Whether White’s angry attitude towards Blaydes was really down to the performance in the Volkov fight – or whether it was down to comments he made about low fighter pay – is a question mark, but it’s clear that the UFC president was no fan of this main event.
#1 Anderson Silva vs. Demian Maia (UFC 112)
Perhaps no other headline fight in the history of the UFC has earned the ire of UFC president Dana White quite so much as the UFC middleweight title bout between Anderson Silva and Demian Maia at UFC 112.
Silva was already on shaky footing with the UFC at the time. The reigning UFC middleweight champion had regularly been labelled the world’s best pound-for-pound fighter by White, but dull victories over Patrick Cote and Thales Leites had dented his reputation as a walking highlight reel somewhat.
Still, after his win over Leites, ‘The Spider’ had unleashed one of the most memorable UFC knockouts of all time, destroying Forrest Griffin inside a round. It seemed written in stone that he’d do the same to Maia in the main event of the UFC’s first show in Abu Dhabi.
However, that wasn’t the case, and in a truly bizarre fight, Silva preened, posed, danced, and did just about enough to edge a dull decision over Maia. And unsurprisingly, the performance sent White over the edge.
Not only did the UFC president refuse to present Silva with his title belt after the fight – leaving it to Silva’s manager Ed Soares – but he went on an angry rant after the event, too.
White stated that the fight was embarrassing, and even threatened to strip Silva of his title and cut him from the UFC altogether if he produced a similar performance in his next fight.
Days later, cooler heads prevailed, with Soares stating that he and Silva had met with White to clear the air and that they’d apologised to the UFC’s head honcho. Still, this remains the most angry we’ve ever seen White following a UFC main event.