UFC president Dana White remembered longtime UFC friend and former commentator Jeff Blatnick Wednesday afternoon when he stopped by ESPN 1100 Radio in Las Vegas to address a few topics for Zuffa's hometown audience.
"He was a good guy. When we first bought the company back at UFC 30, he was one of the commentators. He was one of the guys who help Bob Meyrowitz (the old owner) really start putting some rules and regulations (into the sport)," White told hosts Steve Cofield and Dave Cokin about the gold medal-winning wrestler, who died at 55 from complications from heart surgery on Wednesday.
"A very good guy."
White related a story about how UFC matchmaker Joe Silva also underwent surgery on Wednesday for a hernia and a conversation the two shared.
"He calls me yesterday and goes 'Hey man just wanted to call you cause I'm going into surgery. I respect you, I love you man as a friend.' I'm like what the hell are you talking about. Dude you're going in for a hernia surgery, you're gonna be fine," White said. "But he's like when you go under the knife you never know what is going to happen I'd rather just say things beforehand.
"Sure enough Blatnik goes in for surgery today and didn't come out of it. Pretty crazy."
White briefly addressed his own medical issue of Ménière's disease, a disorder of the inner ear that causes spontaneous episodes of vertigo.
"I'm awesome, couldn't be better," said White, who has said he will delay a surgical procedure that has a "70-percent chance" of solving the situation until 2013. "All the things you're not supposed to do, which aggravate this thing, I do. It's basically my lifestyle.
"Nope (haven't dialed it down). I don't care. I'm gonna go head-to-head with this Ménière's thing. I'm not stopping anything, I'm doing things the way that I've (always) done it."
While White said he's pumped for the upcoming UFC 154 and 155 shows, talk quickly turned to the upcoming The Ultimate Fighter feature light heavyweight champ Jon Jones and outspoken Chael Sonnen as well as a possible superfight between Georges St. Pierre and Anderson Silva.
First off White addressed fans responses to Sonnen getting the shot for TUF despite his back-to-back losses to middleweight king Silva.
"I had tons of fans begging me to make that fight. Just to make it clear from the last press conference when they talk about all the top contenders and all the top contenders whining who didn't get that fight. I called every single one of them and they turned it down," White said. "Chael Sonnen accepted that fight on eight days notice, that's my kind of guy.
"There's tons of people who want to see Chael Sonnen, if you're not one of them, don't buy it. I'll guarantee you'll like the next fight, and if you don't like that one, we put on plenty of fights — there will be one that you do like."
White, as has been the case recently, downplayed specifics for a superfight involving Silva and GSP.
"I don't know how this whole thing plays out. We'll see how GSP does," White said. "Anderson has said publically now that he wants to fight GSP, GSP has a very close fight with Carlos Condit, anybody who is looking past Carlos Condit is nuts. We'll see what happens after that fight."
While White didn't completely rule out a Silva-Jones superfight, he said that GSP-Silva obviously had the best chance of happening.
No matter whom Silva fights, White said they would have their hands full.
"I've never seen anything like Anderson Silva. I say it all the time I'll say it again, he's the greatest fighter of all-time," said White, who shared a story of his return flight from UFC 153 with Stephan Bonnar.
"Bonnar flew home with me because his wife was having a baby and he was like: 'This guy lives in the matrix. I've never felt that way in a fight before and no one has ever stopped me period and let alone a body shot. He caught me right when I was breathing.
"And then at the press conference Anderson said (Bonnar) was breathing wrong. … He's a freak of nature and insanely talented."