UFC president Dana White appeared on the Jim Rome Is Burning show on ESPN today and talked about a myriad of topics, including Kimbo Slice, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Fedor Emelianenko and Herschel Walker’s recent challenge for a fight (full story).
“Herschel Walker, I guess he’s out there now saying he wants to fight me and everything else,” White said of the 47-year-old NFL legend. “Listen, I’m 40 years old, OK, and I’m too old to fight. You’re 47. You’re way too old to fight.
“Would you say that Herschel Walker was a great football player?” White asked. “Absolutely, right. Now, why did he retire from football? He was too old. So now you think you’re young enough to fight and in good enough shape?”
When Rome pressed White on the challenge, White replied, “I’m 40 years old, I’m doing everything I can to motivate myself to go into the gym and run on the treadmill everyday. Do I want to fight Herschel Walker? No, I don’t want to fight Hershel Walker. Am I disrespecting Herschel Walker in any way? I’ve meant him many times. He’s a very nice guy. I like him. But he has no business fighting. For CBS to be putting on some type of freak show, that’s where I don’t want this sport to go.”
Rome went on to ask White about his failure to sign Fedor Emelianenko, and White’s claim that the Russian heavyweight was afraid to face his fighters.
“Fedor’s not afraid to come over and fight or do any of that stuff,” White quipped. “He’s got nutty managers. These guys are from Russia, coming to America trying to strong-arm us into some deal we won’t want to do. Go do that to the butcher down the street in Russia. It won’t work over here in the United States. If this guy wants to come and put himself up against the best fighters in the world, he’ll eventually make it to the UFC.”
White also talked about his recent tiff with former UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, who recently announced he was leaving the organization after comments that White made about Jackson’s movie commitments.
“We’re both mad, but the reality is he made a commitment,” White explained. “Now he’s saying ‘Dana talked me into being on The Ultimate Fighter.’ He’s right. I did talk him into coaching on The Ultimate Fighter. But he expected, and at the end of the show you’re supposed to fight. He’s supposed to fight now and he’s not keeping his end of the deal. I’m upset about it.”
While on The Ultimate Fighter, White talked about this season’s big draw on the show, Kimbo Slice.
“The one thing about Kimbo that I really respect is this guy could have done a million different freak show things,” he noted. “He probably could have made a lot more money up front, but this guy came on The Ultimate Fighter and took my challenge, and is legitimately trying to become a mixed martial artist.”
While Kimbo Slice is helping set viewership records on cable, White admitted that he still has his sights set on a network TV deal.
“I think a network deal would help us, it would take us to another level, but I’m in no hurry,” he stated. “When the right deal comes, I’ll take it. We will end up being on network television.”