Dana White holds grudges? Who’d have thunk it.
The UFC president was coming off a big and highly successful night at UFC 239. Both his champions emerged from their fights winners, with double champ Amanda Nunes scoring a huge higlight reel head kick knockout against Holly Holm. It was just the latest violent finish for Nunes, who has now destroyed a who’s who of WMMA from Ronda Rousey to Cris Cyborg and everyone in between.
But for such a destroyer, she hasn’t always been given the credit or attention she deserved. You could argue this is because the UFC spent a large amount of the last couple of years under-promoting her, first ignoring her during the build-up to her fight with Ronda Rousey and then actively burying her after she pulled out of a bout on fight weekend due to a flare up of sinusitis.
But as willing as Dana White has been to throw any of his stars or would be stars under the bus should they cross him, he’s also strangely protective of them as well. When Nunes knocked out Cris Cyborg in December of 2018, former ESPN business analyst Darren Rovell drew his ire for suggesting it was bad business for Nunes to win.
Between Rousey and Cyborg, Amanda Nunes has singlehandedly killed the most valuable women in the sport.
Brutally damaging to UFC.
Nunes isn’t in the same marketing ballpark as either of those two.
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) December 30, 2018
White responded to that strongly, calling Rovell’s opinion some seriously dumb s**t and questioning what the f**k he knows about mixed martial arts. And seven months later he doesn’t sound quite over the accusation that Nunes is bad for business.
”This guy likes f**king attention, okay?” White said at the post fight press conference. “This guy likes attention, and I’m going to give him more attention. You know, he says the worst thing that could have ever happened tonight was Amanda Nunes won. Not a star for the UFC. So, this is the kind of stupid s**t that we hear.”
Never said Amanda Nunes wasn’t a star for the sport. She is. She just isn’t marketable and like Ronda, to some extent Holly and even Paige Van Zant, she isn’t relevant outside the Octagon. There’s no evidence proving otherwise pic.twitter.com/GFvXdNaizN
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) July 7, 2019
And while White admits that Nunes is still in that period where she hasn’t quite gained her footing as a bona fide superstar, he points to Chuck Liddell who was in the same spot until he iced Tito Ortiz.
“The numbers tonight were off the charts and she was part of that,” White added. “It was a great card and a card that a lot of people were excited about. She’s the co-main event. I tell you guys this all the time. I don’t listen to this stupidness about anyone who says she isn’t a star. They don’t have any idea what they’re talking about. I don’t listen to that stuff.”
For his part, Rovell responded to White’s latest comments with a tweet that read “Never said Amanda Nunes wasn’t a star for the sport. She is. She just isn’t marketable and like Ronda, to some extent Holly and even Paige VanZant, she isn’t relevant outside the Octagon. There’s no evidence proving otherwise.”