UFC Dana White attacks credibility of Rampage Jackson's interview on TRT, claims Rampage never made certain comments [UPDATE]
Mar 6, 2012 - 11:15:20 PM
By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
Quinton "Rampage" Jackson's interview with Fighter's Only last week quoted him - at least initially - as saying that a UFC doctor had him see an age doctor in order to get a testosterone check after suffering his knee injury, at which time he was diagnosed with low testosterone. He then received testosterone treatment ahead of his UFC 144 bout with Ryan Bader in order to make it through his training camp, and still fought injured in Japan.
The comments caused much conversation in the last week, but especially painted the UFC in a very poor light as being not only complicit in the continued sketchy use of TRT in the sport, but indeed submitting the idea of seeing an age doctor to Rampage. The original Fighter's Only report mysteriously removed the "UFC doctor" line hours after it was initially posted, and now UFC President Dana White claims that Rampage has said to him and Lorenzo Fertitta that the comment was not made in the first place.
"When I talked to Rampage yesterday - and Lorenzo had talked to him right after we heard that - and he said 'none of that is true.' He didn't say any of that," White claimed in a video interview with Ariel Helwani at MMAFighting.com.
Furthermore, White tried to discredit the entire interview - and the integrity of the interviewer - by relaying his experience in Australia with a Fighter's Only reporter, which was then turned into an article last week.
"Where I heard about it the first time was at the first press conference in Australia, where I kind of got into it a little bit with the reporter," White said. "To be honest, and to shed some light on the Rampage side of it, this guy was a prick. He was a prick, he came up to me, he was trying to put words in my mouth. I said to him, 'I see what you're doing here, and you're not going to play that f***ing bulls*** with me.'"
"As he was talking to me, we were talking about testosterone replacement therapy and all these other things, then he'd come back at me with 'Well you just said…' and I said, 'I didn't f***ing say that," White continued. "That is not what I said, and I see what you're doing; don't play this f***ing game with me.' In the middle of the interview."
"So for us to sit back and say, 'Oh, Rampage probably said all this stuff and the reporter [just wrote it],' I dealt with this guy that day, this guy's a prick. This guy was acting like he was doing some investigative work for 60 minutes in the way that he was interviewing, and he started saying s*** back to me that I didn't just f***ing say. So I think you've got to look at both sides of this story. I've dealt with tons of media and I'm always honest with the way that it goes down and what happens, you've dealt with me for years, and many other guys have. This guy was a f***ing weasel."
Penick's Analysis: There are a few issues with White's response here. First - and most damning to his argument - he and Rampage were interviewed by two different people for Fighter's Only. The Rampage interview was conducted by Gary Alexander for FO, according to the report itself, while the story containing White's quotes says he was interviewed by Daniel Herbertson. Herbertson is the former Japanese MMA reporter for MMAFighting.com who put together the Spike TV story regarding the downfall of Pride and the Yakuza involvement two weeks ago for MMA Uncensored Live. So White trying to discredit one interview by talking about his experience with a completely different interviewer doesn't have any weight. Secondly, if Rampage didn't make those comments, or if he was misquoted in what is a clearly damaging way, then there should be a libel suit put together against Fighter's Only because of those damages. However, all Fighter's Only has to do in this situation in response is provide the audio. If the interview was recorded for transcription purposes, they should have a copy of said recording which would then clearly provide what Jackson stated in that particular interview. White is trying to challenge the credibility of the report, the interview, and the site because Rampage's statement made the UFC look really bad, but his arguments don't hold weight against scrutiny in this instance.
UPDATE: Daniel Herbertson, the interviewer in question that White went after in this interview, has responded on Twitter. Screenshot of his feed below:
UPDATE #2: Video has surfaced of this particular incident that White was detailing to Helwani and that Herbertson responded to. It's not the entirety of the conversation, but a two minute portion of said "confrontation":