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Dana White: 'I blew it' by letting Sage Northcutt fight with strep throat

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Dana White knew that Sage Northcutt was sick with strep throat last week. And the UFC president let him fight anyway. Now, he regrets it.

"The kid was super sick and he still wanted to fight," White said on the Big Boy show this week. "His father said, listen we still want to take the fight, we still want to take the fight. I should have pulled the kid from the fight. He's 19 years old, he fought three times in [four] months. I should have pulled the kid from the fight."

Northcutt, a top prospect, ended up losing to Bryan Barberena via second-round arm triangle last Saturday night at UFC on FOX 18 in Newark. On The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, Northcutt detailed his illness, saying he went to an emergency clinic two days before the fight.

"I've never felt like that ever before," Northcutt said. "Not just the breathing. It felt like I couldn't concentrate. I wasn't my normal self. I was having a real hard time hearing. Like, you can imagine if you fly on an airplane and your ears get stuffed up where they have to pop? It felt like that but times two or three, where I couldn't even hear my coaches, what they were saying. Even face-to-face, I couldn't hear anything.

"Coming up in the week for the UFC, I always try to keep a smile on my face and act like there's nothing going on, so that way no one would know that I was even sick or anything like that. The UFC knew I was sick because I had to go to the emergency clinic. But really, I was just laying down in bed and sleeping the whole time coming into the event, besides going out and doing the media that I got do to and had to do for the UFC."

The UFC signed Northcutt after White, former champ Matt Serra and Nick "The Tooth" Gullo discovered him at a Legacy FC show in August for the reality show "Lookin' For a Fight." Northcutt had two UFC victories via finish since October heading into the bout with Barberena, a tough veteran from the MMA Lab.

Afterward, White said Serra, who joined White on the Big Boy show, imparted some wise words on Northcutt.

"What was great was when Sage lost, Sage came back to my room and Matt was in there and Matt gave him a talk, too," White said. "Matt said, 'Kid listen, I was 26 years old, Shonie Carter caught me with a spinning back fist. You're 19. You have the world by the balls.'"

Serra added: "He's got a bright, bright future."

During the interview, White showed a picture from his phone of Northcutt's throat from last week. It did not look pretty.

"The kid really wanted to fight and I let him fight," White said. "He was sick as hell. I blew it."