Sunday, October 7, 2012

Dana White: Dennis Hallman was in no shape to fight at UFC on FX 5; paying him upon release "the right thing to do"

By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

Friday's UFC on FX 5 event was supposed to feature two other fights that ultimately did not take place. Jeremy Stephens' bout with Yves Edwards was scrapped with Stephens still in jail after being arrested Friday morning, but the other bout, Dennis Hallman vs. Thiago Tavares, was scrapped when Hallman missed weight on Thursday.

Hallman had issues with his cut on Thursday, but he was also battling some personal issues that were plaguing him during fight week. After seeing how he was struggling on Thursday, UFC President Dana White made the decision to send Hallman home, pay him his show and win bonus, and cut him from his contract after the fight was scrapped.

"You don't come here and not make weight," White said about the situation after Friday's post-fight press conference. "You don't accept fights and not make weight. It's the most unprofessional thing you can do. Not just for the show, the sport, but for your opponent. We all know how hard it is and the sacrifices and things that go into preparing for one of these fights. Not only do you screw the guy over for all the training and time he spent away from his family, he doesn't get paid. Thiago Tavares could have won the fight and got both his payments. He could have won one of the fight of the night bonuses, and even if he didn't he probably would have gotten a bonus anyway. You lose a lot of money."

Still, White and the UFC gave out more money in paying Hallman his show and win money, something White called a stupid business decision, but the right one for him personally. And there was a reason for his generosity in that moment.

"Because Hallman's not coming back," White responded when asked why the UFC opted to pay Hallman despite his missing weight. "He's been around a long time, he's been around for years. And it's like I said, it's not like me and Hallman have had the most fantastic relationship on earth. But I'm a human being, and I feel for the guy. He's got a lot of personal problems that he needs to handle. I hope that the show and win money that I gave him helps him and his family to fix whatever needs to be fixed and the guy doesn't lose everything."

"Personally, business-wise, it was the stupidest f***ing thing in the world to do. As a human being, it was what I wanted to do."

Hallman said on Thursday that he had cut to within three pounds over, which he claimed Tavares agreed to, then said that Tavares' camp asked him to cut more weight. White disputed that statement, and regardless said that it would have been irresponsible to put Hallman out there on Friday in the state he was in.

"I don't want to say anything about Dennis Hallman's life and personal problems right now; he was in no shape whatsoever, mentally or physically, to fight," White said. "I should be f***ing hung from a tree by my f***ing ears and beat with a stick if I tried to put this guy out there to fight. He was in no shape to fight whatsoever; any way you could possibly be in shape, mentally, physically, emotionally, period."

"In almost 13 years of being in this business, I've never been in a situation like I was at the weigh-ins here on Thursday," White continued. "I literally told him, 'Go downstairs, start drinking and eating.' I called my people, and I said, 'Fly him home right now, and we'll pay him his entire purse,' which wasn't f***ing cheap on a card like this. $60,000. That's a big number. I basically felt like that was the right thing to do."

"I've never, ever experienced anything like it. I wish him the best, and I hope everything works out for him and his family."


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