Bellator color commentator and long-time MMA referee Big John McCarthy explained why he believes UFC president Dana White is against cross-promotion.
Bellator recently did a cross-promotion event with RIZIN for New Year’s Eve which McCarthy was a big part of as the event’s announcer. Bellator president Scott Coker is someone who is a big fan of cross-promotion, and has in the past said he would like to do an event pitting Bellator fighters against UFC fighters. However, White has had no interest at all in doing such a thing.
Speaking on the “Weighing In” podcast, host Josh Thomson asked McCarthy why he believes White is so hesitant to do cross-promotion. His answer was interesting.
“Dana got ripped, and I don’t blame him (for not doing cross-promotion). Dana got ripped when he was first president of the UFC by PRIDE in giving over Chuck Liddell to PRIDE and then didn’t get anything back. He said, ‘I’m never going to do that again.’ And unfortunately, he stuck to it,” McCarthy said.
“Now he’s stuck to it to the point where he looks at it like, ‘Why am I going to damage my product if I put a fighter out of my stable up against a fighter from another stable and he loses, it just damages my product there’s no reason to do that.’ I don’t blame him.”
Liddell was one of the UFC’s biggest superstars when he went to PRIDE with White’s blessing in 2003 to take part in the PRIDE Middleweight Grand Prix. Liddell defeated Alistair Overeem by knockout in the quarterfinals, but then suffered a TKO loss to Quinton “Rampage” Jackson in the semifinals, which in the mind of White damaged his ability to promote Liddell. Since then, White has resisted any sort of cross-promotion, and if we are to believe Big John McCarthy, now we know the reason why.
Do you think the UFC will ever do cross-promotion with Bellator a?