It’s no secret that UFC president Dana White can be quick tempered and is prone to making harsh decisions when heated, only to soften his stance once heads have cooled. Specifically speaking, White has, on occasion, dropped fighters from the UFC after a screw up or disagreement, before eventually welcoming them back into the fold once things are settled or wounds are healed.
Recently, White cut Anthony “Rumble” Johnson when he missed weight drastically for his middleweight debut at UFC 143 earlier this month. Put in context, the 27-year-old moved up in weight from his usual 170-pounds to 185-pounds after missing weight on two prior occasions in his original division. Weighing in at 197lbs. at the new weight and threatening the co-main event of a major pay-per-view in the process, Johnson justifiably ruffled feathers.
So then, what are Johnson’s prospects of joining the likes of Karo Parisyan, Jon Fitch and Randy Couture – fighters who were shunned and taken in again. With a gaffe of that magnitude still so fresh in his mind, White told MMAFighting today that Rumble’s foreseeable future will be spent competing outside of the Zuffa umbrella, but that his return could be possible pending consistent professionalism on Johnson’s part while doing so.
“He needs to go fight somewhere else, get some wins, come in on weight,” said White. “He needs to prove to me that he can be a professional, show up on weight and do the things he needs to do. If he does, we can talk.”
Nate “The Great” Marquardt, on the other hand, is a fighter who may have come close to serving out his time in exile. Marquardt was cut after forcing the cancellation of a planned main event bout against Rick Story last June by registering elevated levels of testosterone on his pre-fight medicals, but MMAFighting also reports that White is softening his stance on the banning of The Great.
“I don’t dislike Nate. I like Nate very much,” he said. “We’ll see what happens.”
Somewhere, Paul Daley is smiling.