UFC 287: Just Why Did Dana White Shut Down the Budding Feud Between Jorge Masvidal and Kevin Holland?

Jorge Masvidal UFC
Jorge Masvidal, UFC 272 Pre-Fight Press Conference Credit: Gabriel Gonzalez/Cageside Press

On the surface, it seems UFC President Dana White is not a fan of a potential match-up between Jorge Masvidal and Kevin Holland.

“Gamebred” and the ever-chatty Holland, who was once infamously labelled “Big Mouth” by the UFC’s head honcho, got into a slight altercation at the host hotel ahead of UFC 287 this weekend. Such skirmishes are far from rare between professional fighters, especially old school soldiers like Masvidal.

So it came as no surprise to hear the pair asked about it during the UFC 287 pre-fight press conference on Thursday. It was, in essence, a fairly routine question, asked by The Mac Life’s Oscar Willis, a regular at UFC events.

“Absolutely nothing,” Masvidal said when asked about what led to the altercation. “There’s nothing to talk about there. Just some d*ck riding, clout chasing b*tch. Ain’t nothing to talk about.”

“That’s not what you were saying yesterday,” Holland retorted. “Watch your f*cking mouth.”

When Holland was afforded the opportunity to give his side of the story, however, his own mouth was quickly shut by the boss.

“Guys, come on, these two aren’t even fighting,” stated White, putting the kibosh on further questions. “Knock it off. Do you have a question about the fight, who these guys are fighting or do you just want to start sh*t in here? What’s your question?”

To be fair to Willis, and any other journalist in a similar situation, the proverbial poop was started earlier in the week, during the altercation itself. A journalist asking about that incident is simply doing his job; White knows this. Pre-fight press conferences may be seen as simple promotion by the organization, but they’re not blind to the fact that journalists will ask about the stories currently in the news, whether the subjects are fighting one another or not.

And usually, White would let such things slide — but let’s not forget that Masvidal currently sits on bail, waiting for the legal process to play out regarding his felony assault charge, which stems from some extra-curricular activity (allegedly) with Colby Covington last March. Again, allegedly, just weeks after losing to Covington in the octagon, “Gamebred” jumped him outside a Miami restaurant, sucker-punching his welterweight rival and chipping a tooth.

While it’s easy to side against Covington, a.k.a. public enemy #1, the logistics of Masvidal being in violation of his bail agreement — which presumably forbids him from additional illegal activity — are obvious. Most of all to Dana White, who would probably like to keep Saturday’s co-main event, which will see Masvidal fighting Gilbert Burns, intact. And one of his biggest stars out of jail for a relatively minor molehill that a crusading prosecutor might choose to make a mountain out of.

In other words, Masvidal vs. Holland may just have to wait for another day, if it ever happens at all — a rather iffy gamble at best.