Dear Dana White: Hello big fella, how are you?
I hope you don’t mind me calling you big fella, Dana, (let’s keep it informal).
Jokes aside, you are big, at 5ft 9ins plus, that’s what I call big, considering I’m on the short side.
But this letter is not about me, it’s about you and the UFC.
I must confess that I have been hooked on the UFC ever since the start of the millennium, which was when you seized control and restructured it into an ultra-entertaining and successful combat sport franchise.
You even had boxing buffs, like me, jumping ship to your sport. That was the power you wielded. You launched UFC Fight Pass so that the whole world can watch. You ensured that the highest standard of fights were organised, the highest levels of safety and the highest quality of organisation and production for every event.
You set the standard for mixed martial arts and broke new ground with the many initiatives, bonuses and belts that you made available to your fighters, including health insurance.
You came down on hard on the cheats with the help of your partnership with USADA and random competition testing, like they do in athletics.
You have made the sport look good, damn good, with the outfits UFC creates with Reebok. In short you did everything you could to fine tune the UFC’s brand.
As Freddy Mercury sang, you, ‘did it all.’
But all of a sudden, things have started to go wrong, partly because of the coronavirus pandemic and the way it has thwarted your well-oiled schedule of fights.
You couldn’t take it. You wanted to continue. After all, what was a silly virus compared to the mighty UFC.
UFC 249 was shaping into one of the biggest cards ever with Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson headlining a mouth-watering line-up of fights. And you and your team were working 24-7 to finalise things.
You had a secret venue for the fight because of the nosy ‘creeps’, an exotic island location a la Enter The Dragon. With all the suspense and twists and turns of a Bourne Identity thriller, UFC 249 had the attention of the world.
But there were people who did not like what you were doing, while lives were being lost in thousands, in America and around the world.
They called you irresponsible, senseless, disrespectful, selfish, greedy … they hurled the kitchen sink at you; You took it all, drawing inspiration from your friend Vince McMahon and his ongoing WWE model.
But people higher up were not buying it. They wanted out. Disney, ESPN, the State Commissions. You had no option but to back off and call off the fight.
But you didn’t totally. Did you?
You kept insisting that UFC 249 would still happen, if not on April 18 but soon. Like very soon.
Big fella, you have had my admiration for over 20 years.
I even love the look you created for yourself with your endless collection of classic cotton short-sleeve black T-shirts. A big fave or mine.
But enough is enough.
Something has snapped and I am starting to feel bored with your daily tweets, Instagram posts and promises. You don’t have to do that.
And now you say you have another new location for UFC 249, the third, fourth?
Please, please, understand that we love the UFC and miss it terribly.
But, to paraphrase the late, great Marvin Gaye, I ask, in all sincerity ‘What’s going on?’