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UFC Banned Questions - Catching up edition
When I was with Bloody Elbow, we came up with the idea of the "Banned Questions" column. The concept behind the column was twofold. The first idea was to present questions that I, or Bloody Elbow, would ask if we were among the media allowed to attend UFC events. The second idea behind "Banned Questions" is to give the media members who are tapped to attend UFC events some ideas on providing their readers, fight fans, and, in some cases, the UFC fighters, with more information.
I'm still on the shitlist, so I figured I might as well continue the column here.
This edition of "Banned Questions" covers the UFC 292 post-fight press conference and White's two sitdowns with the access media after the most recent Dana White Contender Series Cards.
In the aftermath of Chris Weidman's loss at UFC 291, White said that he thought Weidman should retire. He then refused to answer a question on what he would do if Weidman asked for another fight with the UFC other than to say that he would tell him to please retire.
There was no follow-up question. There should have been, and that question should have been to press White on what the UFC will do with Weidman.
If the UFC doesn't think Weidman should fight under its banner, it should release him so he can ply his trade elsewhere if he so desires. Wanting someone to retire is fine, but it's unacceptable to tie a fighter up and prevent them from earning a living if that's what they want to do.
No one should have an issue with the UFC wanting to be out of business with a fighter it thinks should retire. Everyone should have a problem with the UFC keeping a fighter under contract but not giving them fights for any reason.
Also, save me the protecting the fighter arguments. We're talking about the UFC here.
Dricus Du Plessis
When asked if Dricus Du Plessis would be the next fighter to contend for the UFC middleweight title, White smiled and said, "You know how much I love when guys turn down fights. We'll see what happens on Saturday (UFC 293), and then we'll go from there."
Reports are that Du Plessis opted out of facing UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya at UFC 293 because of a foot injury he suffered in his July win over Robert Whittaker.
White should have been asked about the injury and severity of that injury and a timeline for Du Plessis' return. To let White control the narrative on this topic and paint Du Plessis as a "problem" was not the right decision by the media.
Further, asking a fighter to turn around in such a short time after a big win and put together a full camp for a title fight seems as if the UFC once again put the schedule in front of the fighters. That's another angle the access media could have explored. What does White consider an acceptable turnaround time for a fighter who just went through a camp and competed? What happened to fighter health and safety, both physical and mental, being the UFC's biggest concern?
White took the time to praise and hype the Dana White Contender Series events, which opened the door to potential questions on the DWCS. The one big question the UFC has not answered about the DWCS is, what's changed?
In Season 1 of the DWCS, a total of 16 contracts were awarded over eight weeks. By Season 6 that number had jumped to 43 contracts. In the current season, Season 7, 21 contracts have been awarded in five weeks, which puts the number of signings on pace with last season. So, what's changed? Why has the number of DWCS signings increased so much? Also, why were on the subject, why is the starting purse for a DWCS contract less than the "normal" starting purse of $12,000?
Most of us know the answer to the question regarding the number of signings, but that doesn't mean it's not something to ask. Getting the person in charge to admit to what we know is sometimes worth the ask because it can lead to other questions or changes in the structure of contracts.
Questions that remain unanswered
What happened to Stephen Thompson's UFC 291 pay situation?
The Conor McGregor question about the possibility of a USADA waiver from the UFC is the biggest unanswered question facing the UFC, Dana White, and his fellow UFC executives. That question needs to be thrown to White every time he sits in front of a microphone. Especially since the history of the UFC giving out USADA waivers has not been positive for the promotion.
What's changed with UFC Fight Night Bonuses?
For years, the UFC refused to allow a fighter who missed weight to be eligible for a fight-night bonus. In fact, there have been times when, after a UFC fighter missed weight and put on a "Fight of the Night" bonus-worthy performance, the fighter who made weight received both shares of the bonus. One example was UFC 225 when Robert Whittaker and Yoel Romero won "Fight of the Night" after Romero came in heavy, and Whittaker pocketed $100,000.
However, the promotion's stance on that subject has seemed to soften. At UFC 285, White awarded Geoff Neal his $50,000 share of the "Fight of the Night" bonus despite Neal coming in at 175 pounds for his welterweight scrap against Shavkat Rakhmonov.
Some things you might dig
An interesting profile
In the ’80s, an unlikely man went to Russia and enraged America. No one knew what he was really up to—until now - “The Man From Fifth Avenue” via Slate
Dust to Digital is a record label you should check out because they do some of the best work in the industry. They’re Instagram page is also a treasure trove of the best type of musical inventiveness from around the world.
Terry Funk Brought Texas Everywhere He Wrestled via Texas Monthly
C’mon now… this is so off the mark
A short story
Chester Himes writes about a man in prison having a visit, it does not go well.
The Visiting Hour via Esquire.
A classic ad
A sports story
Reggie Jackson had a lot of reasons to be happy after the MLB season in 1977. He also had a lot of reasons to not be happy. Also, Thurman Munson… maybe not a good guy.
Reggie Looks Back in Anger via Esquire
A short documentary
Full Circle: The Grandmother of Juneteenth
“The Cannon Street All-Stars dreamed of playing in the 1955 Little League World Series. Their biggest obstacle didn’t come on the field. In the year that Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a public bus, these Black 12-year-olds became unlikely civil rights pioneers—and faced the wrath of a white society that wasn’t ready to change.”
Let America Be America Again by Langston Hughes
Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.
(America never was America to me.)
Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed—
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.
(It never was America to me.)
O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.
(There’s never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)
Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?
I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek—
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.
I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one’s own greed!
I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean—
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today—O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.
Yet I’m the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That’s made America the land it has become.
O, I’m the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home—
For I’m the one who left dark Ireland’s shore,
And Poland’s plain, and England’s grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa’s strand I came
To build a “homeland of the free.”
Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we’ve dreamed
And all the songs we’ve sung
And all the hopes we’ve held
And all the flags we’ve hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay—
Except the dream that’s almost dead today.
O, let America be America again—
The land that never has been yet—
And yet must be—the land where every man is free.
The land that’s mine—the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME—
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.
Sure, call me any ugly name you choose—
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives,
We must take back our land again,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath—
America will be!
Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain—
All, all the stretch of these great green states—
And make America again!