Updated June 1, 2020 - 7:08 pm
Dana White was watching “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver” on Sunday night when a familiar face appeared on the show: His own.
But the name under the grinning picture wasn’t White’s. It was: “Dumps McFightman.” Then: “Lug Steakface.” And: “Spamiel Musclemilk.” Oliver continued, “Skull Brisket,” “Tummybuns Bin Laden,” “Rufus T. Namethief,” and finally, just “Doug.”
“My personal favorite, just Doug,” Oliver said. “No last name, like Cher and Madonna.”
Oliver was suggesting new names for White two weeks after tossing out a series of names to replace White’s Fight Island. That’s the mysterious location White has chosen to stage international fights cards to avoid travel restrictions.
“Fight Island. Is that a clever name? No,” Oliver asked in his May 17 episode. “Is that a perfect name? Yes, because it’s the first thought an idiot would have to name an island where fights happen.”
The host then suggested renaming Fight Island as UF-SEA.
“Look at me, Dana,” Oliver said, leaning into the camera. “Why didn’t you just call it UF-SEA? It’s perfect.”
Returning to Sunday’s show, Oliver said he wasn’t the only one to think UF-SEA was a better name than Fight Island. The host told his audience that, two days after the show aired, the UFC filed trademark applications for “UFSEA.”
White (or, Doug) was then shown during an appearance on the “ESPN MMA” YouTube series.
“I told my lawyers after that to go out and see if the trademarks were out there for UFC,” White said while feigning to recall Oliver’s name. White also called to an unseen figure, supposedly a lawyer, “Did we get ’em? We got ’em! Thanks, John Oliver!”
Oliver then exhumed a 2013 GQ list of The 100 Most Powerful Bald Men In the World. White was No. 73, just behind Jason Alexander.
“You got Costanza’d!” Oliver said. He went on: “Much more importantly, I’m not remotely mad here. In fact, I want us to rename all of your events, because frankly, you’re not very good at it.”
Oliver recited such proposed UFC fight-card names as UFC Knuckle Opera, UFC Dustup At The Beef Factory and UFC Large Hamboy Collider.
A subtext to the UFC renaming campaign is Oliver’s report that fighter Jacare Souza and two trainers had tested positive for COVID-19. Souza was pulled from UFC 249 as a result. After Oliver mentioned that issue on his May 17 broadcast, White accused Oliver of using “selective facts,” and said the UFC had conducted 1,100 tests with only three positive results.
Oliver countered that those 1,100 tests were administered to 300 people, saying White had quoted a larger number, making the positive results seem less significant. “That seems like, I don’t know, a selective fact.”
White texted that he got a (cartwheel) kick out of the segment, responding in real time just after the show aired Sunday night. “So good! He did a (expletive)-load of work to do that piece.”
Monday, White added. “I like Oliver. I’m a fan of his show, and I thought his piece was funny.”
This does open the possibility of White (or Doug) enlisting Oliver in an upcoming promotion. Maybe the organization’s new marketing consultant can host the inagural UFC Knuckle Opera at UF-SEA.
Station Casinos has launched its reopening advertising blitz, in the tried-and-true billboard campaign. Among the messages: “Clean Hands,” showing a royal flush of hearts; “Stay Reel Healthy,” showing a slot machine; and “Touch Buttons Not Faces.”
You’ll see the new signs while driving across the Las Vegas Valley, on the 215 Beltway at Durango Drive, the 215 near Warm Springs Road; Interstate 15 near Palace Station; Highway 95 near Santa Fe Station; Rancho Drive by Texas Station and Fiesta Rancho; and on Tropicana Avenue and Dean Martin Drive. These are Station overtures, but they are universal.
Return to Bellagio
The snags in the supply chain caused by the COVID-19 shutdown reached one of Las Vegas’s famous attractions, the Bellagio Conservatory. The attraction uses a vendor out of Los Angeles, which has been shut down during the pandemic.
The hotel made a rush order for flowers over the weekend to fill out its tribute to Japanese culture. That display, which was to tie into the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, was just being assembled when the COVID-19 shutdown took hold.
“We actually had to send somebody over on the weekend to pick up more plants and flowers, and they did have an issue with everything going on in Los Angeles,” Bellagio Executive Director of Horticulture Jerry Bowlen said. “Overall, most of our vendors knew our show was coming online and we gave them a two or three weeks’ heads up and they started production from there.”
The casino floor @Bellagio. Plexiglas, spacing and hand sanitizer. Chips routinely disinfected behind the scenes at the casino cage. Gaming returns when the hotel reopens 10 a.m. Thursday… #Vegas#tourism #covid19 #gaming @reviewjournal pic.twitter.com/JiZjRlwoV0
— John Katsilometes (@johnnykats) June 1, 2020
The house kat
The conservatory loves Hello Kitty to pieces. The oversized, occasionally unsettling feline was hauled into the Conservatory in three segments. She is made of 25,000 preserved carnations and roses. Her outfit is a burgundy kimono and gold belt displaying the familiar Bellagio “B” brand. No smile, though. Kitty has no mouth, which adds to her mystique, and also saves a few dozen roses.
MGM Resorts Internatioanla Vice President of Administration and Head of Health John Flynn outlined the Bellagio’s system of swapping out cards routinely and sanitizing gaming chips during a walk-through Monday morning. Flynn explained that chips will be sprayed with disinfectant and wiped down in a room behind the casino cage before being returned to the tables.
I asked Flynn if the protocol could be extended, to disinfect a particularly bad blackjack hand. He laughed. But no, really …
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His PodKats! podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at email@example.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.