Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
TORONTO -- After a rough week in which his Meniere's Disease returned with a vengeance and had Dana White feeling far from his best, the UFC president's spirits were lifted by a series of performances that he was proud of at UFC 152. In fact, he asked his public relations team to fill the post-fight press conference podium with any fighters that wanted a spot, saying they all deserved a moment of spotlight after a card which saw underdogs win in eight out of 12 bouts.
The 16,800 fans that nearly filled the Air Canada Centre seemed to mostly enjoy themselves, but there were a few smatterings of boos throughout the evening. White is generally a tell-it-like-he-sees-it kind of guy, and he pulled no punches about the criticism received by the co-main event flyweight championship match.
The bout, which saw Demetrious Johnson squeak past Joseph Benavidez in a split-decision, heard jeers at several points, and apparently feedback through social media had a similar reaction, leading White to unload on the critics.
"Let me tell you what: If you didn't like that flyweight fight, please, I'm begging you, don't ever buy another UFC pay-per-view again," he said. "Don't ever buy another one. I don't want your money. You’re a moron, you don't like fighting and you don't appreciate great talent or heart if you didn't like that flyweight fight."
White went on to point out Benavidez's losing effort, noting that a quick glance at his bruised and swollen face showed both the damage Johnson inflicted and the spirit with which Benavidez fought.
While Benavidez said that he personally didn't hear the boos while concentrating on the in-ring action, Johnson seemed a bit disheartened that his historic win was not better received.
"With the booing, you can never expect anything," Johnson said. "I've seen two great warriors before go out there and fight, and the crowd was just booing. You can never please everybody in the world. You got the No. 1 guy in the world vs. the No. 2 guy in the world, there's no room for error. Tonight, I made history and went out there and executed my game plan. You can't please everybody. There's always going to be a hater out there."
Johnson scraped by in a split-decision, although White said he saw the fight as far more lopsided, personally scoring it 49-46 for Johnson.
Others were not so kind, and didn't care so much about the score as about the perceived lack of action, leading White on a tirade.
"I wasn't surprised; I was horrified by the booing," he said. "But you know what? I tell these guys after weigh-ins, the way this relationship works, these guys are our partners. We go out and do this, that and everything else, and these guys go out and deliver. And guess what? In every fight you see in the UFC, two guys aren't going to run at each other and just start swinging like mad men. These two guys have worked their entire lives to get to this point, and it's a five-round title fight. If they can get the knockout and submission real quick, sure they're going to go for it, but if the guys are so talented? You have now the world champion and the second-best guy in the world. It's just insane. It drives me crazy."
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