The UFC held the press conference on Thursday for this weekend’s UFC 232 event in Inglewood, California, and it was one of the uglier pressers in recent memory. Both UFC president Dana White and headliner Jon Jones refused to delve too deep about Jones’ recent drug test failure, and the result was a press conference that saw numerous reporters bullied by the UFC president and the former UFC light heavyweight champion.
Here are some of the highlights of the presser:
– White was asked by a reporter if the fighters on UFC 232 would receive additional compensation due to a higher tax bracket in the state of California for athletes (the so-called ‘jock tax’) and also asked if additional medicals would be paid for by the UFC. White said the fighters would not be receiving any sort of financial help from the UFC beyond what their original purses for the fight in Nevada paid. It seems incredibly unfair that the UFC would not help its fighters out more considering how the decision to move the card on short notice to another state, but it’s not surprising considering how greedy the UFC as a company has always been.
– Another reporter asked Jones why he’s had banned substances in his body numerous times now, and Jones refused to answer the question. When the reporter asked White why Jones keeps testing positive, White told them to talk to Jeff Novitzky. Jones then told the reporter to sit down and made several more rude comments to someone who was simply doing their job and asking a good question. Cris Cyborg was also asked about her past positive tests, but she just smiled and laughed it off. It was pretty embarassing to see a reporter treated so badly, and knowing the UFC this reporter likely won’t be asked to cover any more events.
– The fighters will be given one more additional hour for the Friday weigh-ins due to the extra travel, so the fighters will have three hours in total to make weight Friday morning. That’s the least California could do, but with the change of plans it would not shock me at all to see at least one and maybe more fighters miss weight. Hopefully it’s no one involved in a title fight, though.
– According to White, the decision to move UFC 232 to Los Angeles cost the promotion $6 million. But given how many fans and fighters were hurt by the decision to move the card on short notice, White’s tone-deaf comment fell on deaf ears.
– White said the UFC is seeing the card trend towards a sell-out despite tickets going on sale just a few days before the event. That’s impressive, but the gate is no doubt going to be lower than what it would have been in Las Vegas. The PPV is still trending strong.
It’s great that UFC 232 is still going on, but this whole week has been a PR disaster for the UFC. Fans and media are skeptical about the promotion’s relationship with USADA now, and it remains to be seen if the UFC can fix its rapidly sinking reputation. This latest press conference, where White did his best to act like Donald Trump, did little to help things.