Dana White said in a recent newspaper interview that he has heard that Robert Whittaker is not a big fan of doing media. Whittaker does not agree with that characterization, he told Submission Radio this week.
“I think that media comment was miscommunication,” Whittaker, the UFC middleweight champion, said. “Someone told Dana White that I don’t do PR or I’m not easy to work with and that’s bullshit. I’ve done every PR and every media event they’ve put up to me. The big thing is, though, they get the shits when I say, ‘Sorry, I can’t make it, I have training at this time.’ What do you want me to do? Do you want me to fight or do you want me to do this? Work around me a little bit. It was just a miscommunication and that’s all.”
In an interview with the Daily Telegraph in Australia earlier this month, White, the UFC president, made a comment about Whittaker’s Q rating in the country in which he lives. White implied that Whittaker should be more famous in Australia.
“Which seems ridiculous, that we’re still talking about Rob becoming mainstream in his own country,” White said. “But from what I hear from my people here, Rob doesn’t love doing PR. But while you may not always remember what he says, you never forget the way he fights.
“And personally, I love his style. He says, you’re not going to take me down … and I’m going to knock you out. If you look at fighters from the past, they’re the most popular guys. Obviously you have those fighters with the incredible talent — like an Anderson Silva — guys that just have a style of beautiful violence, but people also love those guys who stuff the takedowns and knock people out, like Chuck Liddell.”
While White was paying Whittaker a compliment, Whittaker wanted to set the record straight on the initial point while in Adelaide for the UFC card this weekend.
“I do all sorts of media stuff,” Whittaker said. “I’ve never said no or turned down a media event unless it clashes hard with a session I cannot miss. So, it’s part of the job. I think it’s just gotta be a healthy balance.”
Whittaker, 27, will defend his UFC title against Kelvin Gastelum in the main event of UFC 234 on Feb. 10 in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. The two men are coming off coaching opposite one another on The Ultimate Fighter 28. This is an important fight for Whittaker, because he had to withdraw from his title defense back in February 2018, which would have been in Western Australia, due to injury.
“I think he’s a very tough guy, very strong opponent,” Whittaker said of Gastelum. “He’s got a lot skill sets. But I think I’m gonna starch him. I’m bringing a lot of weapons and a lot of heat to this fight. I’ve had a lot of time to prepare and yeah, I’m on home soil. I have the home ground advantage. I look forward to just putting that heat on him.”
Whittaker (20-4), coming off two straight wins over Yoel Romero, will likely be asked to do many interviews ahead of the bout in Melbourne. That’s fine, he said, as long as the UFC’s PR team will work around his training schedule.
“There’s a fine line,” Whittaker said. “I don’t know anything about running the company of UFC. That’s not my specialty. All I do know is that I need to train in order to win fights. UFC want me to win fights. So if you want me to do PR, let’s work together, let’s work around it. Try to fit in around my times, please.”