UFC 290: Dana White, thanks for the great fights, no thanks for everything else

UFC 290 was an incredible night of MMA action marred by Dana White, Donald Trump and Power Slap.

By: Nate Wilcox | 3 months ago

We just had an epic card that was not improved by the presence of Power Slap, Donald Trump and Dana’s attacks on the media

UFC 290: A great, great night of fights

I have to hand it to Endeavor. They can still put on an incredible night of fights. UFC 290 had everything even the most jaded MMA fan (me) could ask for.

We got to send-off of Robbie Lawler with a big win. Bo Nickal silenced the doubters with a 38-second TKO win. Dan Hooker and Jalin Turner sacrificed their health in a brutal back-and-forth war. Dricus du Plessis stepped way up in everyone’s estimation with a shocking finish of Robert Whittaker and then had an intense, and intensely awkward post-fight confrontation with middleweight champ Israel Adesanya in the cage.

And the two title fights.

My God, the two title fights. They made UFC 290 a card for the ages.

Alexandre Pantoja is bringing hard-earned UFC gold back to Brazil after beating Brandon Moreno via split decision in a bout I’d put up against any five-round title fight I’ve seen. The display of heart, skill, blood, sweat, and savagery certainly left me sated as a fan. The pathos of Pantoja’s post-fight speech dedicated to the father who abandoned him and his mother and siblings just added an emotional extra-dimension for those who sometimes forget these fighters are human beings with full life stories just like us.

And what can I say about Alexander Volkanovski’s destruction of one of my favorite fighters in Yair Rodriguez? Well, I can say, dammit, why do I always root for fighters with unorthodox styles and low percentage chances of ever winning a title?

Also it’s time for me to admit that Alexander really is great. He’s pretty much cleared out the featherweight division and his narrow loss to Islam Makhachev at UFC 284 has many, including me, saying he merits a second shot at lightweight gold.

So why did Dana White have to work so hard to stink up the joint?

Get your slap fighting out of my MMA

First he inserted a f*cking Power Slap bout into the UFC 290 weigh-ins. Yes, Nate “The Buffalo Soldier” Burnard and Stevie Ray Payne got their slap on DURING the UFC 290 weigh-ins.

Dana’s favorite journalist Amy Kaplan announced the travesty and fielded complaints from UFC fans.


Amy Kaplan: I think it’s smart TBH. Great way to hook people into it. Power Slap is actually really fun.”

Aych: “What are your thoughts on the UFC having a powerslap promo as their pinned tweet during International Fight week?”

Amy Kaplan: “my thoughts are fans pay way to much attention to social media and should just relax. No one is forcing you to watch or consume anything”

Talkin’ MMA: “that’s Not the problem people have. The problem is when you promote it on all of the UFC’s platforms as well, even though it’s a separate entity. So in that case it is certainly being forced down people’s throats.”

Amy Kaplan: “Just keep scrolling. It’s really not that big of a deal.”

The Moon’s Sun: “It’s literally DURING the weigh in of a huge UFC event. It’s a pretty big deal that the UFC is shamelessly pushing a barbaric pseudo sport in the middle of UFC content and all over their socials because it’s Dana’s pet project and it’s a disaster.”

Don’t quote me accurately, scumbags

Then Dana went back to the well for one of his favorite moves — being angry at reporters for quoting him accurately.

Last week Dana White was asked about Conor McGregor’s return to the cage.

“We’ll see how that plays out. They’re saying that now, but we don’t-who knows? I don’t talk about s*** until s*** happens. To sit here and think hypothetically how a million different things could happen, no idea. … The Conor thing, who the hell knows how that’s going to play out? Who cares what USADA says, we’ll see what happens when it happens. So I don’t know,” he said on camera.

Well, Saturday he was royally pissed off about the way Bloody Elbow covered the story.

“Listen, I’m glad you brought that up,” White said. “You know, there’s a lot of business that needs to be handled before we talk about this and I was doing an interview on Friday and a bunch of f****** scumbags wrote stories that I said, ‘F*** USADA, I don’t care what USADA says.’ It’s not even remotely close to what I said, so first of all I’d like to say, ‘F*** you’ to everybody that wrote that story, number one. And number two, there’s a lot of stuff that has to go on before he fights

“My point was no matter who’s talking about it, whether it’s USADA or whoever and this and that, it’s not even worth talking about right now. Everybody wants to keep bringing it up so that pieces of s*** can write stories like that. Never did I say, ‘I don’t give a s*** what USADA thinks’ or disrespecting USADA or anything like that. It doesn’t matter what anybody says, I don’t know how this whole thing’s going to play out. Let’s wait and see.”

Ben Fowlkes had the best response, tweeting: “One of my favorite genres of UFC stories is ‘Dana White gets mad at people for quoting him accurately.’ He literally said “who cares what USADA says.” He said it into a video camera. That was on Thursday. By Saturday? Nope never said that and you’re a scumbag if you say he did.”

And here comes Donald Trump

Do I even have to elaborate on why I’m grossed out by the UFC going out of its way to support Trump at this point in time?

NBC documented the atrocities:

“While at T-Mobile Arena for UFC 290, Trump chatted with notable political allies and celebrities, including actors Mel Gibson and Mark Wahlberg and celebrity chef Guy Fieri. Roger Stone, Trump’s longtime friend, former political adviser and weekend travel companion, tweeted a photo of himself, Trump and Hollywood star Gibson in conversation during the event.

“Stone, a longtime political provocateur, traveled with the campaign in Trump’s personal aircraft over the weekend and has a long history with the former president. Stone drew scrutiny from the now-defunct House Jan. 6 committee for his actions in the lead-up to the attack on the U.S. Capitol in 2021, and invoked the 5th amendment when subpoenaed by the committee later that year. Stone was also at the heart of probes into Russia’s efforts to influence the 2016 election, and was convicted on charges stemming from then-special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s election meddling, for which Trump later pardoned him.”

So yea, thanks but no thanks, Dana. Let’s just have the fights — the mixed martial arts fights — without the Power Slap, the paranoia and the politics.

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About the author
Nate Wilcox
Nate Wilcox

Nate Wilcox is the founding editor of BloodyElbow.com. As such he has hired every editor and writer to work for the site. Wilcox’s writing for BE is known for its emphasis on MMA history, the evolution of fighting techniques and strong opinions. Wilcox developed the SBN MMA consensus rankings which were featured in USA Today from 2009 to 2011. Before founding BE, Wilcox was a political operative working for such figures as Senators John Kerry and Mark Warner and an early political blogger. He is the co-author of Netroots Rising, a history of the political blogosphere from 2003 to 2007. Wilcox also hosts the Let It Roll podcast on music history for the Pantheon Podcast Network.

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