One of my favourite things about the UFC has nothing to do with mixed martial arts or the fights themselves. After virtually every card, president Dana White sits down in front of the press corps for a post-fight question and answer session after reading out some statistics and giving out awards for key performances. White’s unabashed nature is nothing new to anyone who follows the sport, but his press conferences have become the stuff of legends. Aside from giving the media some brilliant one-liners – his latest, “give me a f****** break”, in which he dismantled boxing promoter Bob Arum as a pot calling the kettle black – White loves to strip everything down to the bare essentials and cut right to the chase. “People aren’t even watching it on TV. F****** fans are gonna show up now? So this a****** says that he’s gonna have fans at his fights when a few weeks ago, he was talking s*** about me for even going?” While some are quick to dismiss White’s expletive-laden tirades as the ramblings of a meathead loudmouth, they are anything but. White is not only a savvy businessman with a strong ethical guideline for mixed martial arts, but acts as a perfect representative for the UFC and what it stands for ideologically: no BS. Dissecting White’s post-fight press conference from UFC on ESPN: Blaydes vs Volkov in Las Vegas last weekend, gives us a number of markers as to how the UFC operates and how White sets the cultural tone for the organisation and subsequent fight game. UFC: White calls Blaydes ‘stupid’ after Volkov win The first topic White covered was the main event, in which Curtis Blaydes beat Aexander Volkov in a five-round decision in the heavyweight division. White made it clear Blaydes did not sufficiently back up all his talk about fighter pay in the lead-up. “He won, he talked a lot of s*** coming in this week. I don’t think you talk the s*** that he talked and come in and perform like that, talking about rag-dolling people and he’s not getting paid, yada yada, and he should be getting a title shot. You know he gassed out at the end of the third round and made it to the fifth and won the fight.” What differentiates the UFC from most professional sporting organisations is the person in charge will rarely, if ever, comment on a player’s performance. Think of Adam Silver dissecting a lacklustre performance from LeBron James – it would never happen in a million years. But White is totally fine with calling his fighters out when they don’t back up their talk with the walk. In calling out Blaydes, White is also setting the ideological tone for the organisation and his fighters in the process. He knows trash-talking and showmanship is an integral part of being an MMA fighter in the UFC, but being braggadocios without backing it up makes everyone look silly. White wants his fighters to talk smack, then bring that energy into the ring and match that intensity, or tone down your chest pumping in the lead-up. He also used the opportunity to address Blaydes desire for a title shot, noting there are a number of factors that come into play when it comes to matchmaking, one of them being a fighter’s personality, professionalism and demeanour. “I like Curtis Blaydes,” he said, “but Curtis Blaydes has the wrong attitude. When you talk s*** like he did this week, you better come in and whoop somebody’s ass.” UFC: White says Nunes retiring would spell end for 145 division White also commented on a contentious issue that periodically pops up in the UFC: when to call a fight and who can call a fight. UFC rookie Max Rohskopf, who agreed to the bout against Austin Hubbard on 10 days’ notice, told his cornerman Robert Drysdale to call the lopsided fight after the second round, with Drysdale trying to talk him out of it. The fight was eventually stopped by a Nevada State Athletic Commission inspector, but it brought up the question as to who should be allowed to make the call. White, obviously not pleased with rookie Rohskopf’s performance, did wholeheartedly back his decision. “In this sport, if you’re done, you’re done. You should absolutely be able to quit. I know that it is frowned upon, but guess what, anybody that would talk s*** about you quitting, isn’t in there fighting, you know. It’s real easy to be a critic – when you get (to the UFC) this is a whole different level” White said he found out early in his career that he didn’t have what it takes to be an elite level fighter, and he is always the first person to defend his fighters. “Anybody that would try to ridicule a kid like that, f*** you, come try it, come try and do what he did tonight.” Many have pegged White as right-wing or a hard-line Republican, but it’s far from the truth on many social issues. He made a great point in his straight-shooting style when asked why some of the fighters’ Reebok shorts and shirt names were rainbow-coloured in celebration of Pride month. White, who loves to quell a controversy as much as pour kerosene on another, gave one of his monosyllabic responses, which acts as code for “I’m not going to elaborate on this, so let it go”. “They asked, and I said yes.” Anyone who dismisses White as a buffoon or beefcake is missing this man entirely. He is a skilled tactician when it comes to running the UFC, a student of the fight game and knowledgeable on all things MMA and the business. He runs a tight ship and speaks in the tough, hard-nosed language of his fighters, setting the tone and shaping the culture of the UFC from the top down.