“Toronto, I Owe You Another One” — Dana White Admits UFC 297 Was a “Bad Card”

Anaheim, CA — They can’t all be winners, and UFC 297, in the eyes of many, was not. Apparently, that even includes UFC CEO Dana White.

During the UFC 298 post-fight press conference with White, the UFC exec was asked about the heavily criticized performance of Ian Garry, who won something of a listless decision against Geoff Neal on the main card in Anaheim.

Rather hilariously, Garry happened to be in the room when the reporter behind the question let it loose, leading White to pivot to the welterweight.

“Hey Ian, this guy thought your fight sucked tonight,” exclaimed White. “He wants to know my opinion on your fight sucking tonight.”

To be fair, far more than the media were critical of Garry’s performance; Garry himself took the question in stride. But Dana White, in defending the budding Irish star, also addressed the somewhat lackluster Toronto event last month.

Asked about the fan reaction to Ian Garry in Anaheim, White replied by saying that “Well, listen, the crowd came in and paid and broke the all-time California record, the gate record and things like that. But it was a great card, and to say that his fight wasn’t a good fight, it might not have been a great fight compared to the rest of the night, with the card.” But, White added, “when you talk about bad cards, Toronto was a bad card. Toronto, I owe you another one. We’ll try to do better next time.”

UFC 297 took place in Toronto on January 20, 2024 and was the promotion’s first visit to Canada’s most populous city since 2018. Two title fights topped the event, with Dricus Du Plessis dethroning Sean Strickland in the headliner, and Raquel Pennington winning the vacant women’s bantamweight title in the co-main event.

Pennington vs. Mayra Bueno Silva in particular received heavy criticism for its plodding pace, however, while the entire card was a bad night for Canada: while Canadian women Gillian Robertson and Jasmine Jasudavicius shined, the men went 0-6. Seven of twelve fights went the distance, and of the five finishes, three came on the early prelims — meaning they were seen by just a fraction of the fanbase.

The UFC has yet to announce another Canadian date; UFC 297 in Toronto marked the promotion’s second trip north of the border since the coronavirus pandemic waned. UFC 289 was held in Vancouver last June, though prior to COVID-19, the UFC was making three trips to Canada annually.

Watch the full UFC 298 post-fight press conference with Dana White above.