Dana White explains rebooting the BMF belt

Dana White is reviving the BMF gimmick belt for Dustin Poirier vs. Justin Gaethje and Jorge Masvidal has nothing to do with it.

By: Zane Simon | 1 week ago
Dana White explains rebooting the BMF belt
Jorge Masvidal weighs in to fight Gilbert Burns. IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

The UFC’s history with gimmick promotion has been spotty at best. Dana White & Co. are perfectly comfortable with labels like the Ultimate Fighter, or Dana White’s Contender Series, but when it’s come to trying things like tournaments, showy walkouts, or special events it’s always felt like the world’s largest MMA company has had one foot out the door. And what’s the point of trying something crazy if no-one’s invested in the follow-through.

It’s a little surprising then, that three years after slapping together the purely symbolic ‘BMF’ title belt, the UFC is coming back to it.

Awarded for the first time to Jorge Masvidal, after his win over Nate Diaz at UFC 244, ‘Gamebred’ went on to lose his next four-straight fights. Meanwhile his BMF belt sat on the shelf collecting dust, and his reputation as a certified ‘Bad Motherf-cker’ slowly waned. Recently, however, Masvidal announced his retirement from MMA competition. And the UFC decided that an upcoming rematch between Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje was the perfect time to give the gimmick another spin.

Dana White says fighters are hyped for BMF title

“You know, ‘War Room’ shit, every Tuesday,” White explained of the decision making process to bring back the BMF belt. “We’re in there and, as we’re putting that card together for Utah, we thought that Poirier and Gaethje is such an awesome fight. Masvidal retired, so we put the BMF up. You have no idea how many of these fighters want to fight for the BMF title. They all want to fight for that belt. It’s fun, it’s different. So, we’ll do it again.”

“I don’t know,” White said when asked if fans could expect to see the BMF title contested more often in the future. “When you think about coming up with it the first time, those were the two right guys. And so are these, these are the two right guys for that, too. Whether that thing’s in play or not in play, that fight is what it is.

“But everybody wants that belt. So, what the hell?”

As for whether the UFC got Masvidal’s blessing before going and putting his BMF title up for grabs again? Dana White could only chuckle at the idea.

“No, I haven’t talked to Masvidal about it.”

Islam Makhachev reacts to BMF news

With two of the UFC’s top ranked lightweights battling for a piece of official UFC hardware, it only makes sense that the division’s actual champion would have something to say about the whole idea. But, if Islam Makhachev is feeling at all like the UFC’s decision diminishes his own limelight, he’s not letting it slip. In a post to social media, the longtime AKA talent offered up a simple message of support for both Gaethje and Poirier ahead of their battle.

Although he doesn’t have near as much skin in the game as Makhachev, former UFC double-champion and current talking head for both the UFC and ESPN Daniel Cormier gave his thoughts on the revival of the UFC’s ‘just for funsies’ promo belt. As far as he’s concerned, if the UFC is going to revive it with a legit battle like Poirier vs. Gaethje, they should be prepared to put the belt into serious rotation with title defenses.

“I ask you this question, is this new champion going to defend the BMF title?,” Cormier asked on his 3 Rounds podcast (transcript via BJPenn.com). I believe that these two athletes would go up, they would fight at 155, and they would defend that belt. Because if we’re going to keep rolling it out, it has to become a thing that gets put on the line. Especially if these guys aren’t fighting for (divisional) championships.”

UFC 291: Gaethje vs. Poirier 2 fight card

Here’s a look at the UFC 291 fight card the UFC has planned for their July 29th PPV event in Salt Lake City, UT.

  • Dustin Poirier vs. Justin Gaethje
  • Jan Blachowicz vs. Alex Pereira
  • Paulo Costa vs. Ikram Aliskerov
  • Stephen Thompson vs. Michel Pereira
  • Derrick Lewis vs. Marcos Rogerio de Lima
  • CJ Vergara vs. Vinicius Salvador
  • Tony Ferguson vs. Bobby Green
  • Michael Chiesa vs. Kevin Holland
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About the author
Zane Simon
Zane Simon

Zane Simon is a senior editor, writer, and podcaster for Bloody Elbow. He has worked with the website since 2013, taking on a wide variety of roles. A lifelong combat sports fan, Zane has trained off & on in both boxing and Muay Thai. He currently hosts the long-running MMA Vivisection podcast, which he took over from Nate Wilcox & Dallas Winston in 2015, as well as the 6th Round podcast, started in 2014. Zane is also responsible for developing and maintaining the ‘List of current UFC fighters’ on Bloody Elbow, a resource he originally developed for Wikipedia in 2010.

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