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ESPN Pundit Rips Dana White

Earlier today I criticized UFC President Dana White for lying about the upcoming UFC 115 main event, but now I want to take White's side after he was trashed by one of the many ESPN pundits who dislikes mixed martial arts.

Appearing on Jim Rome Is Burning, Drew Sharp ripped the UFC in general, and especially White, for the way the main event of UFC 112 played out, and White's subsequent criticism of Anderson Silva's conduct in his fight against Demian Maia.

"It's a sham," Sharp said of the UFC. "It's like WWF. It's becoming like that. White is becoming a Vince McMahon type or clone."

Jim Rome responded, correctly, that the comparison between the WWE and the UFC falls flat because the WWF is scripted and the UFC is a legitimate sport. If Vince McMahon says he's mad at a WWE wrestler, that's all part of an attempt to create drama. When White spoke said he was mad at Silva on Saturday, he was expressing real anger.

Sharp, however, said he thinks White is trying to make himself bigger than the UFC.

"In Dana White, though, you have a guy who's like Vince and figures that he's a bigger part of the show than the guys in the ring itself," Sharp said. "I don't think you can respect that as a sport."

I don't buy that either: White has made himself the public face of the UFC, but that doesn't mean he wants to make himself bigger than the fights. What he wants is to make himself a voice the fans trust, so that when he tells them they should buy the next big fight on pay-per-view, they believe him.

White told the fans they'd see a great fight in the UFC 112 main event, and he thought Silva's antics against Maia made him look bad. If anything, that makes him the polar opposite of Vince McMahon: In the WWE, McMahon can script every match to go the way he wants. No matter how much control White has over the UFC, he can't control what the fighters do once the Octagon door slams shut.