“He Doesn’t Know Anything.” UFC’s Dana White Responds to Islam Makhachev’s Promotion Concerns

Islam Makhachev, UFC 259
Islam Makhachev, UFC 259 media day Credit: Gabriel Gonzalez/Cageside Press

UFC President Dana White has dismissed Islam Makhachev’s concerns about the lack of promotion surrounding this weekend’s UFC 284.

In the weeks leading up to the event, the promotion seemingly ignored their return to Australia, and it’s champ versus champ main event. That headliner sees Makhachev defending his lightweight title against featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski — a fight that got less play on social media than the ill-conceived Dana White’s Power Slap, a slap fighting show that has routinely lost half it’s AEW lead-in on TBS.

To add insult to injury, White momentarily forgot Makhachev’s name during the UFC Vegas 68 post-fight press conference in the wee hours of Sunday morning.

That lack of promotion hasn’t been lost on Makhachev, who had this to say about the situation:

“I see that it is not such a big promotion,’ he told R-Sport Russia (via MMA Mania). “Dana White himself has some problems. He does not pay much attention to this fight. In terms of pay-per-view, yes, more could have been done. I only saw Volkanovski once, in Sydney. A tour could be organized around the world, a conference could be held in America.”

Speaking on The Jim Rome Show, White went on the offensive to counter the narrative that his lightweight champ was unhappy with the apparent lack of promotion for what many consider a super-fight.

“First of all, he lives in Dagestan. What does he know about what’s going on for the promotion of the fight? He doesn’t know anything,” White said on the show. “It’s going to be one of the top-five biggest fights of all-time. First of all, the event sold out. Right? You couldn’t get a ticket if you wanted to get a ticket in Perth. And this thing is trending right now to be the biggest pay-per-view event in Australia, which, it’s like six percent behind the Conor McGregor—[Dustin] Poirier 3 fight. It’s probably going to break the record. So to say that the fight hasn’t been [promoted], that’s just ridiculous. That’s what you call some internet BS.”

The UFC does not generally release PPV figures, making it unlikely that White’s claims will be able to be verified. The UFC President also appeared to suggest a language barrier was to blame, questioning who had been translating for Makhachev.

“I’ve talked to Islam. First of all, who interviewed him? Who translated for him? I mean, the guy speaks Russian,” insisted White. “Taken out of context.”

Despite White’s claims, a brief look at the UFC’s official Twitter account shows two of their four most recent tweets pertain to Power Slap, including one pinned tweet. One focuses on the pre-sale for UFC San Antonio, while one features an artist series poster for UFC 284. The promotion’s Instagram does a little better: while their latest post is again related to Dana White’s Power Slap, the content in general is far more UFC 284-heavy.