A fight-week altercation between Jorge Masvidal and Kevin Holland figured to lead questions when both athletes appeared at the UFC 287 pre-fight press conference, but Dana White didn’t want to hear any of it.
An incident at the host hotel in Miami led to UFC security separating Masvidal and Holland. Videos surfaced that showed the welterweights in a shouting match, though there was apparently no physical interaction between the fighters. Just a few minutes into the press conference, Masvidal was asked what happened during the incident, and the two-time UFC title challenger answered with an expletive-filled response.
“Absolutely nothing,” he said. “There’s nothing to talk about there. Just some d*** riding, clout chasing b****. Ain’t nothing to talk about.”
That led to Holland grabbing the microphone and shouting right back at him.
“That’s not what you were saying yesterday,” Holland fired back. “Watch your f****** mouth.”
Another question about the incident followed, which apparently got under White’s skin as he shut down the inquiry.
“Guys, come on, these two aren’t even fighting,” White said. “Knock it off. Do you have a question about the fight who these guys are fighting or do you just want to start s*** in here? What’s your question?”
Masvidal battles Gilbert Burns in Saturday’s co-main event, while Holland is set to scrap with Santiago Ponzinibbio.
White batted down another question aimed at Ponzinibbio when a reporter asked if he thought Holland might be distracted by the incident with Masvidal rather than focusing on him.
“Don’t even answer that question!” White interrupted.
Of course, it can’t be forgotten that Holland was also involved in a separate altercation with Khamzat Chimaev that led to White cancelling the entire UFC 279 pre-fight press conference this past September over safety concerns. White called the entire ordeal “an absolute s*** show.”
Perhaps that was on White’s mind again when tensions started ratcheting up between Masvidal and Holland on Thursday.
When the focus did turn back to UFC 287 fights, White addressed his declaration that Colby Covington will receive the next title shot at welterweight champion Leon Edwards after serving as the main event backup at UFC 286 in London.
Both Masvidal and Burns have said that an impressive win on Saturday could upset those plans, but White doubled down on Covington as next in line for the title shot — much to the dismay of a vocal crowd in Miami.
“Listen, Colby Covington, like him or not, the guy showed up in London, he cut weight, he did what he was supposed to do,” White said. “He deserves the fight against Leon.
“There’s no doubt, we’ll see how this fight turns out on Saturday night, and the best case scenario is one of these guys is next.”
Masvidal, who’s been ordered to stay away from Covington after he allegedly assaulted the former interim UFC welterweight champion back in March, didn’t bite his tongue on the subject. He audibly booed when White named Covington the No. 1 contender and then took another shot at his former teammate, the most recent fighter to hand him a loss.
“Boo!” Masvidal shouted. “When’s the last time [Colby] finished somebody? I know Dana likes action.”
White was also disinterested in talking much about the recent UFC-WWE merger that will see the MMA promotion join forces with the professional wrestling organization run by Vince McMahon with the new company falling under the Endeavor ownership umbrella.
The new company, valued at over $21 billion, will go public later this year.
“I’d rather not talk about that right now,” White said about the merger. “We can talk about that another time but obviously it’s exciting for the company and everything else but this is about these guys right now, not that.”
When another reporter asked Holland about the WWE, he responded “no comment, I’m not trying to get in trouble.” That earned another testy response from White.
“Any other stupid questions?” White quipped.