Dana White is a master at spitting out powerful sound bytes and making viral news announcements. The guy is a one man headline factory, which may explain why he gets so angry when he sees MMA news sites twisting his perfectly crafted narratives into basic clickbait.
The latest fake news story White is trying to correct? That he was still looking to have Conor McGregor fight Michael Chandler when “The Notorious” returns to the UFC sometime in 2023. Funny enough, this story got legs after ESPN producer Charlie Moynihan tweeted out “And @TheNotoriousMMA next fight is likely against @MikeChandlerMMA.” ESPN is usually pretty solid when it comes to this kind of thing, so everyone ran the story.
That peeves Dana White off.
“I never said that, ever f—in’ once,” White told MMA Mania’s Alex Behunin at the UFC 282 post-fight press conference. “This is what happens when you do interviews, and people listen to your interviews.”
“They said, ‘So, if Conor McGregor came back right now, who would you be looking at as an opponent?’ I said, ‘Well, if he did, if that happened, and that scenario played out right now, Chandler would be a fun fight.’ Never f—ing once did I say Conor McGregor vs. Chandler. I don’t even know when Conor McGregor’s coming back. And this is why I don’t like to answer these kinds of questions. Because some f—king idiot somewhere on the internet puts out that that’s what I said, and it’s not even remotely close to what I said.”
While at first glance it does kinda look like White did indeed put Chandler forward as a fun fight for McGregor’s return, it’s important to note White’s use of deflection tactics in his answers. When he says ‘That would be a fun fight,’ it doesn’t mean the bout is being planned or on the books. Just like when he says ‘it makes sense’ that a certain fighter would get a title shot with a win, it doesn’t mean they actually will. It would just make sense. Note the complete lack of commitment from White in this statement.
In the end it’s up to MMA journalists and content creators to be hip to White’s lingo so false promises aren’t ginned up and propagated. In general, we say unless it’s a full sentence quote from White, don’t believe it.