Some of Dana White’s comments at the UFC 211 post-fight press conference have drawn the ire of former middleweight champion Luke Rockhold.
Earlier in the evening, Demian Maia, who earned a pivotal triumph over Jorge Masvidal this past Saturday in Dallas, claimed that he had been promised a welterweight title shot on more than one occasion in the past only to see someone else jump the line. When asked about Maia’s comments, White referenced Rockhold in his answer.
"When was he told that before? I was thinking about this when I talked to some of the media yesterday. Nobody deserves anything. You’ve got to earn it here,” the UFC president said. "These guys want to sit around…..You’ve got Rockhold screaming, ‘I deserve this’ — you just got knocked out in the first round. You don’t deserve anything. You’ve got to come back and earn it. Maia earned it tonight, yeah.”
On Tuesday, Rockhold responded to White on Twitter.
“I never said I deserved a title shot. I said we (middleweights) deserver clarity. We deserve something to fight for,” he wrote. “‘You have to earn your way in this company?’” Tell me how did GSP earn a middleweight title shot. Think before you run your mouth.”
@danawhite I never said I deserved a title shot. I said we (middleweights) deserve clarity. We deserve something to fight for.— Luke Rockhold (@LukeRockhold) May 16, 2017
@danawhite "You have to earn your way in this company"? Tell me how did GSP earn a middleweight title shot? Think before you run your mouth— Luke Rockhold (@LukeRockhold) May 16, 2017
Rockhold lost the middleweight crown in a surprising to Michael Bisping at UFC 199 last June. The American Kickboxing Academy product has not returned to the Octagon since, although he was scheduled to face Ronaldo Souza at UFC Fight Night 101 in November before a knee injury forced him to withdraw from the bout.
Like many in the MMA community, Rockhold was not pleased when it was announced that former welterweight king Georges St. Pierre would receive the next 185-pound title shot against Bisping in his first bout in nearly four years. Last week, however, White said that Yoel Romero would face Bisping next after St. Pierre revealed that he would not be ready to fight until November. That news at the time seemed to please Rockhold, who expressed interest in a contender’s bout against Gegard Mousasi this summer.
“It’s time to get back on the program. If they hold true to this fight with Yoel and Bisping, you can count me in for July,” Rockhold said in a video posted to his Instagram account. “Mousasi, I’m coming.”
A date for the proposed Bising vs. Romero bout has not been announced. Rockhold also does not currently have a fight booked.
Update: White responded to Rockhold via Twitter on Tuesday afternoon: