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Dana White says Uriah Hall 'doesn't have what it mentally takes' to fight in UFC

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

BOSTON -- If you believed the hype that built around Uriah Hall coming out of the last season of The Ultimate Fighter, you would have believed the New York City resident was on a fast track to the UFC middleweight title.

But after dropping a split decision to John Howard at UFC Fight Night on Saturday for his second consecutive loss, Hall's boss doesn't think he has what it takes to compete at the sport's highest level.

"I love Uriah Hall," UFC president Dana White told reporters at TD Garden. "I have a great relationship with this kid. He's one of the nicest human beings you can ever meet. He's not a fighter, man."

The way White sees it, Hall has all the building blocks necessary to become an elite fighter, but an inability to put it all together has stifled his potential.

"If I could take Brad Pickett's brain and heart and put it inside Uriah Hall's body, holy s--- there would be some damage done," White said. "Because Uriah Hall has all the physical attributes to be amazing. He's got speed, he's got power, he's unbelievable. He doesn't have what it mentally takes to fight here. You know what I mean?"

White was especially dismayed to see Hall high-fiving Howard, who came on strong over the final two rounds, while the fight hung in the balance.

"You've seen that before, you've seen when guys get into that whole high-fiving thing and they get, you're in a fight. You're here to use your martial arts to win this competition and move forward. You're not here to high five and hug.

"One of the things I love about this sport is the sportsmanship that is displayed sometimes before, during, and after a fight, but it gets to a point where it gets ridiculous," White continued. "That's not what people are sitting home to watch, that's not what people paid to come into this building to watch, hug and high five and all that."

White is all the more perplexed because of the way Hall performed in the TUF gym during the show. His spinning-kick knockout of Adam Cella was among the most memorable moments in the show's history.

But Hall looked lackluster in losing the TUF Finale to Kelvin Gastelum, then followed up with Saturday night's showing against Howard.

"Its a mental thing," White said. "He was this killer on TUF, and then he comes into the big show where it really matters and this is going to make your livelihood and everything else, and he turns into this different person. This super nice guy. He was telling me after the Kelvin fight ‘I really like him, he's a really nice guy. OK, well that really nice guy just took everything you wanted. Do you get what I'm saying, does that make sense to you? I guess it doesn't make sense to him."