Dana White is as forthcoming a head honcho as you'll get. As a media member, you have to enjoy the fact that he doesn't traffic in cover-your-butt BS, and will part with as much truth as is feasible so that he doesn't shoot himself in the foot.
An example: White told TSS that when he looks back in the rear view mirror, he thinks season two (when the cast lacked an ounce of charisma between the lot of 'em) and season four (which featured underachieving veterans) of his Spike The Ultimate Fighter Reality show were lacking. This season, season six of the program, White says, is to his liking. The program gets out of the gate at 11 PM (Eastern) tonight on Spike.
While only the most hardcore MMA fans know the cast of aspiring welters, everyone is familiar with the coaches.
Matt Hughes, the most decorated welterweight in UFC history, responsible for a nice chunk of appreciation when we discuss the organization's growth story, will oversee one squad.
The other team will be helmed by Long Island's own Matt Serra, all 5-6 of him, a man now best known for pulling off a mega, mega, mega upset when he snatched the welterweight title from Georges St-Pierre in April.
And in a most beneficial situation for the viewer who craves drama and clashes when they wallow in the reality TV muck, Hughes and Serra hate each other.
The backstory: these two used to be acquaintances, not best pals, but by no means bitter foes. Then Hughes guest-starred on the fourth season, and tossed his attitude around. He insulted St-Pierre, who was helping out as a guest coach, and sent GSP fleeing. He insulted Din Thomas with a strange, crude comment during a sushi dinner, and those moments left a bad taste in Serra's mouth. And being a New Yorker, he didn't hold in his feelings. In fact, he let them spew, and announced what a lot of people have felt about Hughes, but were too timid to enumerate.
"The hatred between the coaches is powerful and real this season," White told TSS. "And the fights are great too."
Serra is a BJJ expert with a 9-4 mark. He's been disrespected continually as he's taken fights with some of the best in the biz, but that hasn't dampened his personality.
The fighter has stuck with MMA since he became the first American to earn a black belt from Renzo Gracie, and will reap the benefits with his two MMA schools, and the videos he sells on his website.
Come December 29, when he meets middle America Matt on PPV, he'll be the underdog once again. Deserved or undeserved, it is so, and the fighter hasn't let it get him down. He's built up his standup so at this point White says that his standup game is better than Hughes.'
The feud will play out for the next few months--the series finishes up Dec. 8--and whet our appetites for the Dec. 29 clash. Hey, this coach vs. coach angle is something The Contender might want to "borrow" for their season four.
OCTAGONAL ODDS AND ENDS White thought Matt Hamill got rooked on the Sept. 8 London show against Michael Bisping, as we all did, all of us with working peepers. He said he'll watch the match on TV to get a better sense of what went down, and try to schedule a rematch by the end of the year or early next year. Also, he's trying to work with commissions to get their judges up to speed. "This isn't baseball, it's a big deal if you lose a couple of fights, these guys work so hard," White said.
--Houston Alexander has impressed the hell out of Dana White, with back to back wins against Keith Jardine and Alessio Sakara. White hasn't figured out out who the super aggressive Nebraskan will fight next but promises it will be a stern test.
Who will win the Sergey Kovalev vs Andre Ward fight?