Dana White Labels Scott Coker A ‘Very Bad Promoter’ In Leaked Texts Amid Antitrust Lawsuit

Dana White has responded to leaked text messages between him and Lorenzo Fertitta by calling Scott Coker a bad promoter during a deposition over the UFC’s antitrust lawsuit. 

According to BloodyElbow, Fertitta exchanged messages with White over Coker and Bellator, trying to make a bout between Tito Ortiz and Rampage Jackson. Fertitta’s message said, “I thought they don’t take UFC castoffs.” During his deposition, White was asked to comment on the nature of the text. The CEO of the UFC doubled down on his view that Coker was a terrible promoter for using ex-UFC stars, whom he felt were no longer relevant. 

White said: “Scott Coker doesn’t build anybody, right? He doesn’t turn anybody into stars. He just takes old names and recycles them. He’s a — he — he’s a very, very bad promoter.

Nevertheless, Coker did help Strikeforce build up its reputation. Coker was the CEO of the MMA promotion, which resulted in Ronda Rousey making her breakthrough and joining the UFC. White refused to credit Coker for Rousey’s success, saying she only became successful once she joined the UFC. Back in 2012, however, White described Rousey as like a ‘Diaz brother’ and marveled at her star power, praising Rousey for making him interested in women’s MMA.

“She’s a (expletive) unique individual. She’s like a Diaz brother. She really is. Inside like a (expletive) dude trapped in this beautiful body. The reason I got interested in women’s MMA is because of her,” White stated in 2012

White and Zuffa clearly did think there was value in Strikeforce, otherwise they wouldn’t have bought it. Zuffa, LLC, then the UFC’s parent company, purchased Strikeforce in March 2011. Strikeforce held its last event in January 2013, and the UFC absorbed the contracts of priority fighters. In addition to Rousey, Luke Rockhold, Tyron Woodley, and Daniel Cormier are former Strikeforce fighters who went on to become UFC champions even if White had a negative view on Coker.

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“When you have Ronda Rousey and you can’t turn her into a star, you should probably go open a restaurant or something. He recycles big names. That’s what he does. Rampage Jackson is a huge name.

“Tito Ortiz is a huge name. And — and basically, he re– you know, takes guys with big names and puts on fights with them instead of turning guys into stars, even when he has a roster packed with stars, and one of them include Ronda Rousey,” White added 

White’s relationship with RIZIN President Nobuyuki Sakakibara is far more pleasant. The pair teased a big announcement after their meeting. White has been spotted with numerous promoters from MMA and other combat sports. He was pictured with Eddie Hearn during Conor Benn’s fight with Peter Dobson. White has also met BKFC’s David Feldman, which now includes Sakakibara.

Sakakibara and White are well aware of each other. Sakakibara founded PRIDE, which was the UFC’s primary competitor. White would end up buying the promotion, as Sakakibara established RIZIN. RIZN has built itself from the ground up, making it a credible competitor in the MMA market. The following picture shows White and Sakakibara in each other’s company. 

 

It is unclear what was under discussion, but with the rise of MMA promotional outfits, White will look to stay ahead of the game. 

 

 

Dana WhiteDaniel CormierLorenzo FertittaLuke RockholdNobuyuki SakakibaraRampage JacksonRonda RouseyScott CokerTito OrtizTyron Woodley