Dana White on MacDonald vs. Ellenberger: 'That fight sucked so bad'

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

SEATTLE -- UFC president Dana White has made a point in recent weeks to go on about how fighters need to take advantage of their windows of opportunity if they're going to make real money in their mixed martial arts career.

It almost goes without saying, then, that White doesn't feel Rory MacDonald took advantage of one of his biggest opportunities. MacDonald's unanimous decision victory over Jake Ellenberger in the co-main event of Saturday's UFC on FOX 8 was jeered out of the building by the Key Arena crowd.

It was a lackluster conclusion to weeks of hype, which caused the bout to eclipse the main event of Demetrious Johnson and John Moraga in terms of fan interest.


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"That fight sucked so bad," White told reporters at the media scrum following the post-fight press conference. "It's a fight that, this had so much heat on it and it was a very important fight."

MacDonald (15-1), for his part, defended his tactical performance en route to his fifth straight victory, saying he did what he could given Ellenberger's lack of engagement.

"I just react to what's in front of me, you know," MacDonald said. "As far as what I was looking at, the opening was the jab."

But White wasn't buying it.

"Ellenberger did nothing and he told you that you don't belong in the top 10," White said. "He went out and bullied B.J., so you know he could. He didn't fight that way with Ellenberger. Don't come in and say my fight was great, it was tactical and this and that. ... I don't think he performed, I don't think he did anything. He broke B.J. with front kicks. That's all he did. I don't think [MacDonald] moves down the ladder, but do you think anyone is screaming to see him fight again?"

White contrasted MacDonald's performance with that of Trevor Smith, who took home a $50,000 fight of the night bonus for his split decision loss to veteran Ed Herman.

"You guys want to talk about fighter pay, let's talk about fighter pay," White said. "Everyone on this card, whether its your first time in the UFC or you're Georges St-Pierre or Anderson Silva, you have the opportunity to make those bonuses. You want more money? F--- right there, go get it. Go get the money. Go out there and let people know who you are and have people talking about you tomorrow, you know what I mean? People are going to be talking about Ed Herman again. Smith too. I told Smith, 'I didn't know your f--- name last night, now I know your name today.'"

When reporters played devil's advocate and asked if MacDonald fought a smart fight given the circumstances, disagreed.

"I understand you're fighting someone dangerous," White continued. "F--- Ellenberger just sat there two feet away from me and said ‘that wasn't me tonight. I wasn't myself.' So if you're Rory, and you're that good, and you're that talented, you impose your will on him, and you show the world, not only do I belong in the top five, I should fight Georges St-Pierre. He should have people screaming for him to fight Georges St-Pierre. That's how it all works. People say more money, more money, more money and all this shit. You want more money? Go and get it."

It's not like White is giving up on MacDonald after just one fight that was widely viewed as being subpar. But he ultimately hopes the perplexing Canadian will use the bout as a learning experience.

"Rory's one of the best in the world," White said. "He didn't look it tonight. But the fact of the matter is he's one of the best in the world, and this will be a learning experience for him, hopefully. Because you don't want to put on too many performances like that. It's not good for anybody."

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