Dana White feels other promotions should be snatching up fighters not signed by the UFC following the Contender Series, and gives an update on Amanda Nunes fighting at 145lbs.
Las Vegas, NV — The next-to-last episode of the Contender Series this season flipped the script. Following weeks of Dana White doing his best Oprah Winfrey impression, handing out contracts left and right, only one fighter secured a UFC contract at week nine: Philip Rowe.
Around the second to last fight, White began wondering Tuesday whether they’d had an episode of the series where no one earned a UFC deal, he told reporters backstage including Cageside Press. “I don’t think it has. I don’t think we’ve ever had a show where we didn’t at least do one contract, but I thought we were on our way to it tonight.”
Mallory Martin was one fighter who impressed White, but he didn’t feel it was her time just yet. “She’s 25 years old, and obviously she got hit with a lot of punches tonight. I thought the other girl’s punches weren’t that— she wasn’t a technically sound striker.”
But Martin, he said, is “young, she’s only 25. She’s not even in her prime until she’s 28.”
“Let her get some more experience, let her get some more fights,” he suggested. “You don’t want to come into the UFC, 25 years old, 4-2. That’s not even giving her a chance. She can get so much better. She has the attitude, you can tell she really likes to fight.”
“I like this girl. I like her a lot. She just needs work. She needs time.”
White doesn’t worry about Martin, or Jamal Pogues, being picked up by other organizations. In fact, he’s almost counting on it. “That’s where she needs to be. She needs to be in other organizations. She’s not ready for this.”
“Every other organization, I don’t care if they think they’re at the UFC level, they’re not,” White exclaimed. “And that’s where she belongs. That’s where she should be right now. She should be in those organizations fighting those people.”
The way White sees it, “this is a lay-up for these other organizations. You just watch this show, and the ones we don’t sign you should snatch up in a minute. Because I’m telling you right now, I said it before and tell you again, this show’s killing it on ESPN+. These things pull big numbers. Then once its had its run, I’ve put them on Youtube, and these things are doing 4.5 million views on Youtube with these kids.”
So ultimately, “I don’t worry about other organizations picking them up, because that’s why I didn’t take her tonight. Because I think she should be in other organization until she’s ready for this.”
What’s left unsaid, clearly, is that White expects that many of those unsigned fighters may work their way back to the UFC some day.
Following the Contender Series talk, White also addressed a few UFC-related topics. There’s no news in the Masvidal-Diaz negotiations just yet. He’d still like to see Daniel Cormier continue fighting. And Amanda Nunes will defend her 145lb title again.
“She will. She will defend it. After this fight [with Germaine de Randamie]. 100%. She wants to, and she will,” promised White. “I mean imagine her not having to cut weight. After beating Cyborg, and the other people that she beat at 135, who does she have to worry about right now that she’d be like ‘aww I don’t want to defend my 145lb title?'”
As to why the GDR fight was made, “de Randamie was next, and de Randamie wanted the fight at 35,” said White — although he couldn’t confirm if the former UFC women’s featherweight champ had been offered the option for the fight to be at 145.
As for now former UFC star Cris Cyborg, White confirmed she’d been granted her release. “If I didn’t send her the paperwork, you’d have heard about it.”
Watch the full press scrum with Dana White from the Contender Series Season 3, Week 9 above!