Dana White is pushing back at Islam Makhachev’s recent comments about the marketing for UFC 284.
Makhachev will face Alexander Volkanovski Saturday in a champion vs. champ collision between the top two ranked pound for pound fighters in MMA. This is the seventh encounter between the two UFC champions. It will be held in Volkanovski’s home country of Australia. The card is scheduled to take place at Perth’s RAC Arena.
But Makhachev isn’t exactly feeling the love. Ahead of the contest, the lightweight champ was critical of the UFC’s promotion of the card in an interview with RSports Russia, stating that more could’ve been done to market UFC 284. Inquiring about why Volkanovski had only been seen once before the fight, he wondered if he was not more familiar with the fighter. He was also puzzled by the lack of North American press conferences.
In addition, a clip went viral after UFC Vegas 69’s post-fight press conference in which White seemingly forgot the name of the UFC lightweight champion.
White addressed Makhachev’s comments about The Jim Rome Show . on Tuesday.
“Yeah, that’s not true,” the UFC exec said. “First of all, I’ve talked to Islam. First of all, who interviewed him? He was translated by who? I mean, the guy speaks Russian. This is taken out of context.
“He resides in Dagestan. What does he know about what’s going on for the promotion of the fight? He knows nothing. It’s going to be one of the top-five biggest fights of all-time. The event was sold out in the first place. Right? If you were looking to buy a Perth ticket, it was impossible to obtain one. And this thing is trending right now to be the biggest pay-per-view event in Australia, which, it’s like six percent behind the Conor McGregor [vs. Dustin] Poirier 3 fight. This fight is likely to set a new record. So to say that the fight hasn’t been [promoted], that’s just ridiculous. This is what you would call internet BS .”
White credited Makhachev for being willing to travel to enemy territory and put his belt on the line in Volkanovski’s home country, and he hailed Makhachev vs. Volkanovski as “one of the top-five biggest fights ever in UFC history, as far as gate, pay-per-view.”
Still, many pundits within MMA have echoed Makhachev’s remarks about a lack of promotion for UFC 284, with some comparing the UFC’s glut of Power Slap posts on social media in recent weeks alongside its relative dearth of content geared around UFC 284.
Ironically, nearly four minutes of White’s seven-minute interview with Rome focused on White’s Power Slap league and the criticism the UFC president has faced for promoting a competition in which athletes are disallowed from protecting themselves from head trauma. White said he has heard those critics, and he wholly rejects their concerns.
“First of all, there’s nobody bigger on health and safety than me,” White said.
“Even if you can defend yourself, in boxing guys take 400 to 600 punches per fight. These men take no more than three slaps during an event. [From] 2001 to 2023, you know how many people have died in the UFC or been seriously injured? Zero. [From] 2001 to 2023, you know how many people have died in boxing? Thirty-four. So you’re talking about the wrong sport here.”