Step aside Gennady Golovkin. The UFC has the real Big Drama Show.
Earlier this month, UFC president Dana White said in a radio interview that UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley was a “drama queen” in attempting to explain why he felt fans have not connected with him as much as others.
Woodley told Ariel Helwani on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour that White called him about what he said on the show. Woodley said he didn’t take it personal and seemed to laugh it off, but not without poking back.
“How is Dana White gonna call me a drama queen?” Woodley said. “He’s the biggest drama queen. I learned from the best.”
When Helwani asked Woodley to clarify what he meant, he said he thought it was “funny” White said that about him.
“I just think that we've seen Dana, if you get Dana mad, he gets really mad,” Woodley said. “And then really quickly — I think he’s mad at so many people, I think he forgets he’s mad at you. And he almost just wipes it from his memory. I thought it was actually kind of funny when he called me a drama queen.”
Woodley and White took a photo together at the Super Bowl earlier this month and seem to be on good terms. Woodley defends his welterweight belt in a rematch against Stephen Thompson at UFC 209 on Saturday in Las Vegas.
The conversation White had with ESPN Radio’s Russillo and Kanell centered around Woodley’s comments about feeling that racism has contributed to how he is viewed and treated by MMA fans and the UFC. White disagreed with Woodley’s assessment. White said it was because Woodley speaks openly about picking big-name opponents as champ and not wanting to just fight the top contenders.
“He’s a smart guy, he’s a good-looking kid,” White said. “He’s explosive. He’s got knockout power. But he’s a bit of a drama queen.
“That’s not what people want to hear,” White said. “People don’t want to hear that. And then what he does is he’ll start fighting and arguing with people on social media. Then he wonders why when we show up to a press conference, the whole crowd is booing him. They’re not booing him because he’s black. There’s tons of black guys fighting in the UFC, you know what I mean?”
White said that Woodley should be more like lightweight champion Conor McGregor, who White said is willing to fight anybody at any time, if he wants to be more popular. Those comments received criticism because McGregor talks about money fights all the time and even left his former featherweight division to take them rather than defend the title. Woodley fought the top contender Thompson at UFC 205 in November and will fight him again Saturday since the first bout was a draw.
“I didn't take it personal,” Woodley said Monday. “I think what he was saying is that he feels as if some of the treatment that I was talking about and some of the buzz, he thinks that if I was more like Conor I would be a bigger star. Well, guess what? I will never be anything like Conor. So if that’s what it takes to be a star, then I will never be a star. You can’t tell a man to be like another man. That’s just not who I am. I just will never be it.”
Woodley said he has been more open about what he feels is racism in the sport lately, because he was hoping for a change in how things were. Woodley said the UFC did reach out to him about things he has said on ESPN and other places and has taken measures to improve his treatment. So, he’s pleased about how things are working out.
“That was the goal,” Woodley said.