In his burning desire to trash an old adversary in the person of Lenny Fresquez, did UFC President Dana White not realize it really was Holly Holm he insulted?
Tuesday, on an ESPN Radio talk show, White went after Fresquez for having pushed for a fight in the interim instead of waiting for a Holm-Ronda Rousey rematch that might have smashed all UFC pay-per-view records. Miesha Tate defeated Albuquerque’s Holm by fifth-round submission (rear naked choke) Saturday in Las Vegas, Nev., upsetting the best-laid plans.
A rematch of Holm’s victory over Rousey in November, should it happen down the road, no longer has the allure or the financial rewards it could have had.
Tate, White has said, will fight Rousey next – leaving Holm, for now, in limbo.
White put the blame for the situation squarely on Fresquez, Holm’s long-time Albuquerque promoter who now negotiates on her behalf as her agent. The two have clashed before, principally during the negotiations that eventually led to Holm’s signing with the UFC in July 2014.
“The sad part about that whole thing is, and listen, he’s an old boxing guy who thinks he’s smart and he isn’t,” White said. “The thing I feel bad about is I feel bad for Holly because I don’t know if Holly really knows what she lost.
“I think she has so much faith in the people that surround her she feels like, ‘Well, they’ve got me here.’ We had this meeting and Holly wasn’t even in it. Holly, that’s your life! You should be in that meeting. Don’t leave it to these people, this guy. Oh, my God.”
The question then arises: has White ever met Holly Holm? If so, he should know this is an intelligent, mature, 34-year-old woman – not a naive little girl without a clue.
White should know that, even having lost millions by losing to Tate and forfeiting a huge payday inherent in a rematch with Rousey, Holm isn’t headed for the poorhouse anytime soon.
It was Fresquez who negotiated the contract extension that paid Holm $500,000 for the Tate fight. That’s merely the money due Holm as per the contract submitted to the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Though Fresquez wouldn’t comment, it’s likely Holm made far more than $500,000 off the fight.
Fresquez always has been guarded with information about Holm’s income. But in the flurry of interviews he’s given since White’s remarks on Tuesday, he told Fox Sports’ Damon Martin, “She’s a multi-millionaire already. She’s not fighting for money. She could retire, she could stop fighting today and not have to worry about money.”
Yes, poor Holly, so misled and poorly served by her management.
White should know that, as Holm has stated many times, she likes to stay busy as a fighter.
On Nov. 15 in Melbourne, Australia, after her monumental upset of Rousey, Holm said she was eager to give Rousey an immediate rematch – the kind she had pressed Fresquez for, and gotten, after her December 2011 loss to France’s Anne Sophie Mathis in a boxing ring.
By Dec. 6, the day Holm was greeted by thousands of cheering fans at Albuquerque’s Civic Plaza, the definition of “immediate” had begun to change. Rousey, it appeared, wasn’t going to be available anytime soon.
At a news conference that afternoon, Holm’s coach Mike Winkeljohn – not Fresquez – said in response to a question that a fight against someone else was a possibility.
But, he added, “That’s (a decision) that the team as a whole has to make.”
White has said nothing about Winkeljohn, with whom apparently he had no prior beef.
In January, with Rousey’s situation as nebulous as before, Team Holm – Fresquez, Winkeljohn, Greg Jackson and, yes, Holm herself – opted for a fight against Tate.
Yes, Holm lost. Yes, it’s a major career setback that could have been avoided.
Yet, that same night, UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor fought Nate Diaz at 170 pounds – 25 pounds above the featherweight limit – and lost by second-round submission (rear naked choke). McGregor still has a title, but his brand is diminished and, perhaps, his earning power as well.
Did White trash Audie Attar, McGregor’s manager, for allowing his fighter to make such a foolish decision? No. He simply praised McGregor for his anytime, anyplace, against anybody attitude.
He should be saying the same about Holm – and nothing at all about Fresquez.