UFC president Dana White said Tyron Woodley was “full of shit” last week. Woodley, the UFC’s welterweight champion, didn’t take that too kindly.
Woodley told Ariel Helwani on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour that he phoned White the day after White made those comments on FS1’s UFC Tonight. He said they spoke on the phone and have a sit-down meeting planned for next week in Las Vegas.
White said Woodley was “full of shit” in an interview with ESPN about a potential fight with Nate Diaz. Woodley said that a bout with Diaz was more likely than most people thought and he would bet the house on that being his first fight back from injury.
“I was really pissed off,” Woodley said. … “I could see if it was a situation that I literally just made up.”
To Woodley, all he was saying was that he thinks the fight could happen. He never said that there was a bout agreement or specific negotiations going on. Woodley said he thinks White too far in essentially calling him a liar.
“That’s a little bit harsh, a little bit hardcore for somebody who is wearing the belt of your organization, that people and young fighters aspire to enter the UFC, they aspire to be UFC champion,” Woodley said. “I don’t think many people are going to aspire to be the champion when they see how champions are treated. And they see that the non-champions and the people that are unprofessional — middle-finger flicking, shit talking — they’re actually making the money.
“So what kind of picture are we trying to put out? I thought we were going in the direction to be parallel with the NFL, NHL, MLB and the other professional sports. It’s a circus until it comes to Tyron and now we want to go back to the old-school rubric. I got issues with that.”
Woodley said that White told him on the call that the fight the UFC wants is Woodley defending the title against Rafael dos Anjos. Woodley said that fight has never been formally offered to him and if it was, he would accept it. All Woodley is trying to get across, he said, is that he wants a fight with a big-name opponent.
One day after Woodley said a fight with Diaz was a possibility, Diaz essentially backed him up. Diaz told ESPN that Woodley was “my best option” for a comeback bout. Woodley noted that White never said anything about those quotes from Diaz.
“I just didn’t think that was right,” Woodley said. “I think even if he thought that way, it could have been said a different way. I think a lot of people spun what I was saying. Never said this fight was in negotiations. Never said any of those things. Then when Nate came out, I never heard anybody say how full of shit Nate was. It’s so funny it was a one-sided bashing.”
Woodley cites examples like Nick Diaz fighting Georges St-Pierre for the welterweight title coming off a loss and Georges St-Pierre challenging for the middleweight title after four years away as situations where the UFC bent the structure for big fights. He doesn’t get why people find it so offensive when he says he wanted to fight one of the Diaz brothers or GSP.
“There’s no sport anymore, so quit playing with me when you guys want to act like this is a sport,” Woodley said. “And people want to [say], ‘Oh, Tyron is such a complainer.’ It’s so much negativity. Use that energy to talk about something positive.”
White said Diaz has never been offered to Woodley. Woodley fired back that his statement is “a lie.” Woodley said it was offered before his surgery to repair a torn labrum last year for UFC 219.
There was a time when the UFC reached out to him and committed to doing things differently in terms of marketing him, Woodley said. But the Missouri native feels like that has stopped and “shit ain’t working.” White’s “full of shit” comments are just the latest demonstration of that, he said.
“It can’t go down like that,” Woodley said. “It’s very damaging for me, for a fighter that’s trying to generate his brand and his name.”