One of the things that AXS TV does with MMA programming is let Michael Schiavello, better known as “The Voice,” bring in various guests for an hour long sit down interview. He’s had Hulk Hogan, Michael Jai White, Badr Hari and others throughout the years on the show. It began as the result of an extended interview with Joe Rogan and has transformed into a really interesting series. This week’s guest was Dana White, President of the UFC, and it was a fascinating 60 minutes between the two. Here’s my 10 thoughts on the episode.
10. Schiavello really does his homework.
It’d be one thing if Schiavello just did minimal work and got the standard fare but I have to give him credit; he came in with his full arsenal ready and was insanely prepped. You have to give him his propers for it: many people in this scenario wouldn’t and he did.
9. Dana’s office is fairly remarkable … and profane
I find an odd humor in that Dana White has profanities made into art all over his office. It’s just somehow appropriate.
8. Schiavello may not throw a lot of hard questions out but he gets interesting ones in
The one thing you have to accept with Schiavello is that he isn’t going full bore after someone. If you’re looking for contention or very tough questions in this format from Schiavello you’re not going to get it; but he’s not going to throw out nothing but softballs either. He lives in that valley of interesting questions; he throws out a lot of ones that get unique insights into people.
7. Dana’s insights into the Pride sale were interesting … but not enough
It was the seminal moment in the UFC/Pride war and I wish they could’ve done a whole hour on it. There’s so much that hasn’t been reported in as much depth as it should be and Schiavello brought out a lot about it from Dana.
6. True/False gave us a real insight into Dana’s lifestyle
Schiavello did his homework and got some great stories about Dana and his life in the MMA promotion business. There’s been an awful lot of rumors about Dana in the past and he was head on in tackling them all down. His stories about gambling in Vegas, for example, were absolutely fascinating.
5. Dana White’s position on Fedor still feels personal when he discusses it
If you want to use a “Moby Dick” reference, or “Moby White” more comically, Dana’s Ahab and Fedor’s the giant white whale he was obsessed about killing it. He may not have any regrets but I think if there’s one thing he could change about the history of the UFC it would be that Fedor would’ve fought inside the cage at some point in his career.
4. Dana’s family life is intensely private
For someone who lives his life in public as much as he does it’s interesting to see that Dana keeps his family out of the spotlight. His reasoning is solid, of course, but it’s such a contrast to how profoundly public his life is.
3. Sixty minutes flew by
It was either very well edited or a strong conversation with no dead spots. I’ll guess the latter, of course, but I’d love to see the full unedited interview. There had to have been some really great stuff that didn’t quite make the cut I’d love to have heard.
2. Schiavello would be a natural for the UFC’s PBP roster
It’s kind of a shame that the UFC only can have two primary PBP guys for their broadcasts. Schiavello and Mauro Ranallo are two guys who would be perfect for the UFC, if only for one night.
1. The early days of the UFC weren’t covered … and we’re better off for it
The one thing every in depth interview with Dana White always has at least half of it dealing with the early Zuffa days, where the Zuffa mythology is often inserted instead of the actual events, and Schiavello sidestepped most of it entirely. It’s a real smart move because we’ve heard all about the dark days of Zuffa for so many times that there’s no new ground to cover. The fact that it was basically ignored was kind of nice; we got new information, not just new takes on old stories.