While Dana White talks about Elon Musk vs Mark Zuckerberg, he’s ignoring some great UFC bouts

What happens when UFC President Dana White cares more about fights he can't promise vs. ones he can? Well, we're finding out...

By: Evan Zivin | 1 month ago

When the UFC’s Dana White is in carnival barker mode, nobody does it better. Or louder.

And he’s really going all out for this Mark Zuckerberg vs. Elon Musk “Battle of the Billionaires,” isn’t he? He claims everyone to be “dead serious” about staging a caged encounter between the two social media rivals. He thinks it would work great as a charity event, even though the only charities I could see being utilized would be ones supporting the poor accountants having to calculate all the ways these men would plan to profit from such a farce.

Not that it couldn’t be entertaining. I mean, I watched Celebrity Deathmatch back in the day, although I am in no way advocating for that here. That show was too well thought-out and the characters were too well-animated to work here.

I also hope, if it does happen, it goes better than when WWE did the same thing at Wrestlemania 23, which resulted in Vince McMahon getting his head shaved (at least he has that wonderful mustache now) and Donald Trump taking the worst Stone Cold Stunner ever. He no-sold that worse than he did Covid.

Seriously, how competitive does anyone expect a legit fight to be between two of the most public figures in the world? Does anyone honestly think they’d even make it to the fight? These are two of the smallest egos out there. Zuck had reps claim he didn’t pass out from a choke at a grappling tournament he competed in when we all know he totally did. And Elon gets in fights on Twitter every week, mostly with his employees.

If these two do actually go through with it, the outcome, win or lose, would probably make the aftermath of Floyd Mayweather vs. John Gotti III look like a toddler’s birthday party.

Gimmick fight? What gimmick fight?

All I know is, if the “fight” does happen, it won’t be a gimmick fight. Why, you ask? Because Dana White doesn’t do gimmick fights. Never has he done a gimmick fight. Never. Not ever.

It’d be like if Tyson Fury agrees to fight Jon Jones in the UFC. Nope. Wouldn’t be a gimmick.

If you don’t understand how that works, follow this handy guide:

Fury vs. Ngannou Jones, in a boxing ring = GIMMICK FIGHT


Make sense? No? Well, welcome to the big leagues. This ain’t no PFL where they make teammates fight each other and then get upset when the resulting fight sucks. UFC would never try to force something like that. Nope.

And, despite all this nonsense about gimmick fights that aren’t gimmick fights but are totally gimmick fights, you know what’s the most infuriating part of it all? There are actual, relevant fights happening in the UFC right now that are getting virtually no attention while all this absurdity gets the headlines.

The best in the world (that no one is paying attention to)

Last weekend saw the #3 ranked middleweight Jared Cannonier earn a dominant decision over #4 ranked Marvin Vettori. Both men have faced Israel Adesanya for the UFC Middleweight Championship and, while you can argue the futility of the fight when it’s unlikely either man is getting a rematch any time soon, it should be seen as a big deal when top ranked fighters compete. That should always be the case but, in the UFC, it’s not.

This past weekend, #9 ranked Ilia Topuria completely drubbed out #5 ranked Josh Emmett, a man who previously competed for the Interim UFC Featherweight Championship. The win should vault Ilia into the Top 5 and could be the signature win he needs to stake a claim at the winner of the UFC 290 headliner between Alexander Volkanovski and Yair Rodriguez.

Ilia is a fighter Dana White should be going all over singing the praises of right now. Instead, he’s showing off the t-shirt he made for his new Anti-Fight Club.

It’s crazy too because the Emmett-Topuria Fight Night card was on ABC but it didn’t get the kind of treatment you would think a card airing on network television should receive.

There was no Embedded or pre-fight presser (apparently those are only good enough for pay-per-views). There was no special social media campaign for the event outside of the bare minimum they do for other Fight Night events.

Hell, it wasn’t even a Fight “Night,” since the main event aired at 4 in the afternoon. It’s okay, though. I’m sure there must have been something very important ABC was airing instead on Saturday night.

…what’s that? They were airing reruns of a Disney Plus show in prime time instead of a live fight card featuring top title contenders? Nice. Great job, UFC. Guess you don’t care how Disney treats you as long as the checks keep clearing.

What’s the endgame (besides complete and total collapse)?

I don’t want to think that UFC is intentionally sabotaging events to ensure no fighters get popular enough to challenge their business practices *COUGH* but it seemed like they were working harder on their social media to promote the next Power Slap event than anything that happened in the UFC that same day.

Oh and fun fact about the next Power Slap event for those who care, which is hopefully none of you: the main event is a Light Heavyweight Championship fight. The challenger, Wolverine, competed at Power Slap 1, winning the Heavyweight Championship. He then lost that championship at Power Slap 2. His punishment for losing? An immediate shot at the light heavyweight belt.

So, if you think UFC’s matchmaking is horrendous, just know it isn’t any better in the pro slaps world.

The longer these types of shenanigans go on for, the harder it is to tell what Dana’s MO truly is. Spending so many years legitimizing MMA just so he can while his time making pity plays to ruin Francis Ngannou’s chance at a boxing payday, or trying to cash in on another crossover fight while claiming you’re the reason the last big crossover fight happened.

It’s madness trying to make sense of it so I’m just going to stop trying and assume Dana White is lashing out because he wants Ari Emmanuel to pay attention to him again and not just focus on the new shiny toy in the box.

C’mon Andy, I mean Ari. UFC needs love too. Also, do you even care how much Dana White uses the UFC to promote Power Slap? You know you don’t own that one, right?

At least we can try and be hopeful this won’t be the norm going forward as UFC melts away into TKO Group. We’re still going to get great matchups promoted the way they should be, right?

Oh, UFC just announced we’re going to get a rematch between the top 2 women in UFC’s pound-for-pound rankings…headlining a Fight Night instead of a Payperview. Brilliant. Pizza Planet for everybody.

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About the author
Evan Zivin
Evan Zivin

Evan Zivin is a writer, having joined Bloody Elbow in 2023. He's been providing his unique takes on the sport of MMA since 2013, previously working as a featured columnist for 411Mania. Evan has followed MMA and professional wrestling for most of his life. His joy is in finding the stories and characters within all combat sports and presenting them in a serious yet light-hearted way.

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