Dana White will kick your ass!

Ryan Thomas

You may be asking yourself ‘how do you know a bad ass when you see one?’ Well, for starters, if in an interview, they drop multiple F-bombs and other four letter words that would make the FCC squirm in their corporate chairs, that’s a start. If you became a millionaire by kicking ass and taking names, both in the ring and at the office, that’s another way . And I guess the easiest way to determine if someone is a bad ass is if they are the president of the UFC, the biggest and best mixed martial arts organization in the world.

Earlier this month, I had a chance to talk with Dana White about the state of the UFC and where he plans on taking it. He also talked about his love for mixed marital arts, how he got started, and what this all means to him. And we also found a little bit of time to talk about his life at home and why he only spent one semester at UMass Boston. You won’t believe what he has to say. Well, maybe you will; and afterwards, you’ll just think to your self ‘wow, this guy really is a bad ass…’

Q. Now that UFC and PRIDE are officially together and you’ve had a fight that pinned a top performer from each into a match together, how do you feel the partnership has worked and progressed so far?

A. It’s been great but it’s just the beginning. This Saturday Shogun is fighting Forrest Griffin and a lot of people believe Shogun is the number one light heavyweight in the world. Forrest Griffin, obviously the season one winner of The Ultimate Fighter. Its gunna be interesting. The guy who everyone believes is the best fighter in the world against one of the guys who won the reality show three years ago. Since then, Forrest has done ok. He just got knocked out by Jardine then won his last fight, getting back on track. A win over Shogun, I mean God knows where that puts Forrest Griffin. Quick Facts

Mauricio “Shogun” Rua:Former PRIDE fighter. Hometown: Curitiba, Brazil. Ranked number one light heavyweight in the world by Sherdog.com. Lost to Forrest Griffin via submission at UFC 76 in third round.

Q. Spike TV’s “Ultimate Fighter” is going into its sixth season starting September 19. With reality TV what it is right now, how do you feel the “Ultimate Fighter” embodies that genre of TV, but at the same time makes its self unique?

A. I gotta be honest with you and this is no promoter bullshit that that The Ultimate Fighter and American Idol are probably two of the best reality shows on TV. Reason being is all the other shows, you invest in these guys, whoever they are for thirteen weeks or whatever and then they just disappear. There’s no reason to watch a show unless you want to see a train wreck or a bunch of idiots on television.

With The Ultimate Fighter or American idol, you can watch these guy’s careers as they progress. Let’s say Forrest Griffin for instance. He’s in season one of The Ultimate Fighter, he wins it, moves onto pay per view and you can continue to watch him fight and watch his career. And there usually four or five other guys that come off the show and you can watch them on Ultimate Fight Night live and then watch them as they progress on the pay per view too. And same thing with American Idol. You know, the guy leaves American Idol and then has a career and you can actually follow them for more than 13 weeks. So I think they’re the two best reality shows on TV.

Q. The ratings for your show “Ultimate Fighter” have been very good since the start. Do you expect ratings for the sixth season to improve or to decline, and where do you think this season will rank compared to the previous ones?

A. This is a good season. I’ve always been brutally honest about each season. Season one was great, season two wasn’t that good, season three was great, season four wasn’t that good, I loved season five. So I thought season five was actually better than season one. This next season Serra vs. Hughes is a really, really good show.Quick Facts

Keith Jardine:Nicknamed “The Dean of Mean,” the 31-year-old out of Butte, Montana beat Chuck Liddell in a split decision at UFC 76.

As far as the ratings go, the ratings have been great for us. If you think about this, Ultimate Fighter season one was the only mixed martial arts ever on television. It was the first MMA show ever on free TV, and it pulled killer ratings, like a 2.1 on one of the episodes; and the finale always kicks ass.

Now, since season one was so popular, just this month on Spike TV, we have like 56 hours of UFC programming just this month. Plus there’s lots of other MMA on television to watch now. When we first started we had five pay per view’s a year, ya know we have ten now. We have 33 fights a year and the ratings last season were still pulling 1.4s and 1.5s so it’s very strong and I think this season is a really good season too so it’ll pull good numbers.

Q. In your most recent event, UFC 75, there were many firsts, such as your debut in the U.K. and the first time a fight between UFC and PRIDE Title holders took place. How do you feel UFC 75 turned out?

A. It was good. That wasn’t our debut in the U.K. that was our fourth fight in the U.K. But it was the first time PRIDE versus UFC. It was successful. I don’t know if you saw the ratings we did but we were the highest rated thing on television that night, including network. We crushed everyone that night with ratings. We beat NASCAR, college football; we beat everything that night so it was a huge success for us.

The U.K. has been great for us. Its grown so much since the first time we went there. We sold out the O2 arena, which is huge. We sold out Manchester; we almost sold out the Odyssey in Northern Ireland and our ticket prices aren’t cheap so it’s been very successful for us. Obviously, it costs money to move into other countries and to go put on an event in the U.K. isn’t cheap, but we’re moving into the future of the sport.

Quick Facts

PRIDE: A rival MMA organization based out of Japan. Purchased by Zuffa LLC, which also owns the UFC. Can you say bankroll?Q. With UFC 76 KNOCK OUT right around the corner, there are some major story lines brewing. Between the Lidell/Jardine fight, the return of Diego Sanchez and the withdrawal of Wilson Gouveia there is a lot going on. What’s the most important aspect of UFC 76 for you? What do you think excites the fans the most?

A. I think that people for this fight are excited about seeing whether or not Chuck Liddell returns to form. Keith Jardine just got knocked out but he’s a very tough guy. Him and Liddell are both coming off first round knockouts. I think Jardine is gunna fight the same type of fight he fought against Stephan Bonner. A lot of leg kicks, using his hands, moving around, I think he’s gunna be trickier for Chuck than people realize.

Then obviously Forrest Griffin and Shogun is a big fight, everyone is pumped up for that. Shogun, the guy who many claim is the number one 205 lb fighter in the world; and the crazy thing is that Forrest Griffin picked this fight, this is who Forrest wanted to fight. The other great fight on this card is Diego Sanchez and Jon Fitch. Diego coming off that loss to Koscheck is as hungry as can be and Jon Fitch, this kid, a lot of people don’t really know who he is but he’s won 13 straight fights and like 6 straight fights in the UFC. This kid is awesome and many believe he is the future of the 170 lb division.

Check back next week for the rest of Dana’s interview where he talks about life at UMass Boston, where the future of the UFC lies and how he balances presidential duties and life at home…

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