Sports

Dana White’s Legacy Rests On Making Anderson Silva Vs. Jon Jones

The UFC is facing a slow year in 2013 when it comes to blockbuster fights. Previous years saw fans pumped for colossal matches going into the New Year, but this year is different. Maybe that is why the UFC president has started to put the pressure on for an Anderson Silva vs. Jon Jones Super Fight.

Jones vs. Silva is a big topic coming out of the Spider’s dominant light heavyweight performance at UFC 153. Silva is now 3-0 in the division, although to be fair he hasn’t exactly faced world beaters. Yet while Silva continues to press for GSP, the fight the fans and the UFC want to see is against Jon Jones. There are only two problems. Neither fighter wants the fight.

I wrote a highly critical blog following UFC 153 on Anderson Silva and his refusal to take this fight. To be fair, it isn’t just Silva. Jon Jones has said on numerous occasions that he would not fight Silva. Silva’s reasoning is that he is a middleweight fighter and done in the division while Jones has some convoluted excuse about brands. Yet according to UFC president Dana White at the end of the day this one comes to down to money and the UFC is ready to pay whatever it takes to get this fight done.

Dana White talked about this over the weekend following UFC 153 and is confident that he can make the fight happen in 2013.

“I know my man says ‘No, no, no,'” White said. “But the amount of money that would be offered for that fight, I guarantee you I will make Anderson Silva say, ‘Yes, yes, yes.'”

There are a couple of things at play here. If you watched the UFC pay per view you could easily get the idea that there was an edict that came down asking the announcers to push for the fight. Joe Rogan in particular, brought it up a couple of times during the broadcast. Listening to Dana’s post-show comments bring it full circle. The boss wants to make this fight happen.

Anderson Silva vs. Jon Jones is the biggest fight that the UFC could make. I know that there are fans and media that say the same about Georges St-Pierre vs. Silva but it’s different fight. I think it would be huge, but I don’t think it would be even close to as big as Silva vs. Jones could be. The auras of Silva and Jones are much different than GSP. Jones and Silva look like unbeatable fighters and while GSP is one of the greatest ever, I just don’t get that sense watching him. There is nothing now or on the horizon that could do for the UFC and MMA what Silva vs. Jones could do.

That is why it is imperative that Dana White makes this fight. There is no argument that White is the greatest MMA promoter of our lifetime. He and his partners have done for MMA more than anyone could have ever imagined. White has also been very critical of boxing over the last few years. In particular, boxing’s inability to deliver Pacquiao vs. Mayweather.

“(Pacquiao) and Floyd Mayweather need to cut the bulls*** and do the fight that everybody wants to see,” said White. “If there was ever a fight in history that should be fifty-fifty split, it’s this fight. Split the money, it’s a-f***in’-hundred million dollars or two hundred million — who knows what it’s gonna be? I think it’s gonna be the biggest pay-per-view ever, probably 2.6 million buys. Shut the f*** up and fight. Split the money. Just f***ing do it. People are tired of it.”

That is why his legacy rests on making Silva vs. Jones. White already failed to make the biggest MMA fighter of all-time when he couldn’t sign Fedor Emelianenko to fight Brock Lesnar. It’s a huge disappointment but I think most of the MMA media have given White a pass on it concluding he did everything he could do other than the one thing he wouldn’t do, give Fedor’s management any promotional rights. White won’t get the same pass if he can’t get his two biggest fighters to fight each other.

Make no mistake about it, Jones vs. Silva would be enormous. In addition to being a cash cow for the UFC, it will cross sports boundaries and give MMA more promotion to the masses than any other fight the UFC could make now or in the next few years. It would fill a stadium and land on the front page of sports websites and newspapers around the world. It would be a blockbuster.

How could the most arrogant, self-righteous MMA promoter let this one slip through his fingers? I believe that signing this fight will turn into an obsession. If after lengthy negotiations and an unhealthy obsession ends without a fight, what will that say about Dana White? How could he explain himself to the media for failing to pull off a fight between fighters he promotes? In my opinion, his legacy rests on this fight.

Please keep in mind that this title refers to Dana’s legacy as a fight promoter. The man is a brilliant marketer and one of the brightest businessmen in entertainment history. But what would it say about him as a fight promoter if he can’t get this fight signed? Sure you can argue that if they won’t fight, they won’t fight, but that argument wouldn’t hold any water if you tried defending boxing for not making Pac-Money to Dana. This is about the legacy of Dana White fight promoter, not Dana White businessman.

And the harder the fight becomes to make, the more he realize it. He’s bought some time with the whole Jon Jones vs. Chael Sonnen Ultimate Fighter and UFC fight. Anderson is not expected to fight until the spring at the earliest, possibly summer if he winds up fighting GSP. This gives the UFC more time to sign the fight before the end of the year because at this rate, it may take that long to make.

Does this make Dana White a less influential figure for not signing the fight? No, but he will never be able to live down letting the biggest fight in MMA history slip away. Nor should he.

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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