Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White has never been one to shy away from a battle. He currently finds himself in the midst of a tussle dirtier than any he has promoted in a cage.
White has made campaign appearances in Las Vegas and Reno for longtime Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., who is locked in a bitter campaign with Sharron Angle.
White said his involvement is more about the people involved in the race than it is about any particular issue.
“I’m not a political guy at all,” he said. “One thing I am is a loyal, and Harry Reid is a guy who has fought for us and fought for the state of Nevada. Guys that have been there for me, I’m there for them.”
The support of the incumbent has extended to some of White’s local fighters.
Former heavyweight champion Frank Mir voices a radio spot in support of Reid. UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture, a Republican who owns a gym in Las Vegas and still competes, also endorsed Reid.
“Nevada’s problems don’t affect just Republicans or Democrats or even Independents. They affect all Nevadans,” Couture said in a statement. “In these uncertain times, we need nothing less than level-headed proven leadership, who can deliver results. That’s why we don’t have time to gamble on our future with Sharron Angle.”
White said new heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez, who is not a Nevada resident, is also a Reid supporter. He added that the fighters are working on their own and not at his direction.
White said he is optimistic about today’s election results, though he compared it to a fight that goes to a decision.
“You get in there and do everything you can do, and then you sit back and wait to see if you won,” he said.
■ FABER ON MERGER — Urijah Faber has always dreamed of fighting in the UFC and will get his chance when World Extreme Cagefighting is absorbed into the bigger mixed martial arts organization in January.
That doesn’t mean the longtime face of WEC and former featherweight champion isn’t proud of the time he spent helping build the brand.
“This organization has meant a lot to me. It’s been a great experience all the way through,” he said on a conference call Monday to promote his fight against Takeya Mizugaki at WEC 52 at the Palms on Nov. 11, the second-to-last WEC event.
Faber feels blessed to have been among the most popular fighters in WEC as it increased in visibility with a television deal on Versus.
“I was kind of at the forefront of all that, and I continued to win and continued to connect with fans and grow my brand,” he said. “I was very lucky in addition to having a lot of hard work pay off.”
A win against Mizugaki would put Faber in position to possibly fight for the UFC bantamweight title, which he said was one of his goals when he first started in MMA.
He insisted the opportunity doesn’t add any pressure.
“The pressure for me is all about the fact I’m fighting another person,” Faber said. “I try to keep it as simple and primal as possible.”
Also on the conference call, WEC vice president Peter Dropick announced Versus will televise 30-minute pre- and post-fight shows for WEC 52, probably from a set constructed at the venue.
Contact reporter Adam Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-224-5509.