Dana White hits back at Islam Makhachev over UFC 284 ‘promotion’ claim
UFC president Dana White has dismissed Islam Makhachev’s claim that UFC 284 has suffered from insufficient promotion.
Makhachev will defend the UFC lightweight title against featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski in the main event on Saturday, with the card taking place in Perth, Australia.
Ahead of the event, which could see home fighter Volkanovski become the UFC’s fifth ever dual-weight champion, Makhachev suggested that the company has not done justice to the headline bout.
The 31-year-old told RSports Russia: “I see that it is not such big promotion. Dana White himself has some problems [after footage emerged of him slapping his wife]. He does not pay much attention to this fight.
“Here in Perth, everyone knows about the fight and is looking forward to it, [but] in terms of pay-per-view, yes, more could have been done.
“I only saw Volkanovski once, in Sydney. A tour could be organised around the world, a [news] conference could be held in America.”
White, however, played down the Russian’s suggestion that UFC 284, which also features an interim featherweight title fight, has not been sufficiently promoted.
The American, 53, said on The Jim Rome Show: “Yeah, that’s not true. First of all, I’ve talked to Islam. First of all, who interviewed him? Who translated for him? I mean, the guy speaks Russian. [It’s been] taken out of context.
“First of all, he lives in Dagestan. What does he know about what’s going on for the promotion of the fight? He doesn’t know anything. It’s going to be one of the top five biggest fights of all time.
“First of all, the event sold out, right? You couldn’t get a ticket if you wanted to get a ticket in Perth. And this thing is trending right now to be the biggest pay-per-view event in Australia, which, it’s like six per cent behind the Conor McGregor [vs Dustin] Poirier 3 fight. It’s probably going to break the record.
“So, to say that the fight hasn’t been [promoted], that’s just ridiculous. That’s what you call some internet BS.”
The exchange followed a UFC news conference this week at which White briefly forgot Makhachev’s name.
Makhachev (23-1) followed in the footsteps of his coach and childhood friend Khabib Nurmagomedov by winning the UFC lightweight title in November, submitting Charles Oliveira to claim the vacant belt.
Saturday’s main event marks his first defence of the gold, which Volkanovski (25-1) is pursuing after a dominant run of featherweight title defences.
Each man has lost just once professionally, with Makhachev having responded to his 2015 defeat by winning 11 bouts in a row, while Volkanovski is on a stunning 22-fight win streak.
Australian Volkanovski is ranked No 1 in the UFC’s pound-for-pound list, with his opponent this weekend sitting at No 2.