Late night comedian John Oliver had some pointed remarks about the UFC’s return to action and their Fight Island concept a couple of weeks ago. It’s criticism that did not go unnoticed by UFC President Dana White, leading to one of the most bizarre feuds in the UFC President’s colorful history — albeit rather tame by his standards.
That said, Oliver’s criticism of the promotion has actually prompted Dana White and co. to file a handful of trademarks, in essence stealing the comic’s (or his writers, anyway) ideas.
On Last Week Tonight’s May 17 episode, Oliver fired off a few lines in the direction of the MMA powerhouse. On a serious note, he stated that “if you want to come back completely without risk, that is just not possible right now.”
Then, on the Fight Island subject, Oliver suggested that a lack of creativity went into the name. “[Dana White] could have called it ‘Brawlhamas,’ or ‘Puerto Ruckus,’ or ‘Owie Maui,’ or ‘Slam Miguel,’ but he didn’t do that,” the comedian quipped. “He didn’t do that, and he didn’t even go with the obvious name for an island where you stage UFC fights which is simply, ‘UF-SEA.’ Look at me Dana. Why didn’t you just call it ‘UF-SEA? It’s perfect.”
Apparently, Dana White agreed. While he criticized Oliver for using “selective facts,” Zuffa has gone ahead and filed four trademarks for UFSEA.
“John Oliver came out and did that piece with some selective facts about what we had done in Florida and all that stuff at the UFC,” White said in a new interview with ESPN. “I told my lawyers after that, I said, ‘See if the trademarks are there for UFSEA.’ So obviously they did and obviously you guys know about them. Did we get them? Yeah, I think we got them.”
“Thanks, John Oliver. I’m not giving you a cut,” White added.
Maybe at least a “thank you” is in order.
The UFC’s Fight Island events — to take place on a private island in parts unknown — are expected to launch in July. The promotion has gone to extreme measures to ensure it can continue hosting events during the coronavirus pandemic, which has seen numerous international fighters stranded at home due to travel bans. The Fight Island concept is a potential workaround. Though clearly not a cheap one.
In the meantime, the UFC will resume its schedule this weekend in Las Vegas, following a three-event stint in Jacksonville, Florida. Tyron Woodley vs. Gilbert Burns tops the UFC on ESPN 9 card this Saturday.