Here’s how it goes down. Trust me.
Affliction puts on its debut show that by all accounts is a reasonable success from a fan’s perspective – if only for the fact that they were able to have Fedor stand in the ring and point to Randy as his next opponent.
Shortly thereafter EliteXC, showing signs of fatigue after a ratings high for their opening event, toss up a Hail Mary with Kimbo and Ken Shamrock. It turns some heads but for the most part it attracts those stopping to look at a car accident instead of generating real excitement for the event.
So with Affliction and EliteXC enjoying some of the spotlight previously dominated by the UFC, Dana and his team scheduled a quick strategy session. And by quick I mean the agenda was one line “Bring back Randy – stomp competition.”
At this point settling with Randy was just as much about bringing a legend back to the UFC and setting up another great UFC card, as it was a shot over the bow of anyone trying to make a serious run at the UFC.
Quick – what is the date for the Kimbo/Shamrock fight? Ok, how about even the month? As for Affliction, they have rescheduled their second event to sometime in January from the original date in October.
Dana White is a competitor. You have to give him credit for his “don’t mess with my business” approach. At the same time, we should shelve the talk about his ego getting in the way as when it came time to do what was best for the UFC and the industry; he set aside his personal battle with Randy and made the deal.
There will come a time when a book is written about what really happened in the weeks before the Randy and Dana settlement as well as the months leading up to UFC91 and you can bet that there will be a different take on the hugs, high fives and happy exchanges that we see between Dana White and Randy Couture now.
These guys are no dummies. UFC91 is about Randy’s return but it’s also about a guy named Dana White flexing his corporate muscles and keeping a unified front to mainstream MMA.
Whether Randy or Brock is victorious will be determined on November 15th, but for the UFC and Dana White, the sweet taste of victory is already on their lips.