Dana White has some opinions on champ Jose Aldo’s training practices. | Photo: Mike Sloan/Sherdog.com
Jose Aldo has struggled with injuries throughout his UFC tenure, but Dana White believes the reigning featherweight champion’s most recent ailment could have been prevented.
The Nova Uniao representative fractured his rib while sparring less than three weeks away from his title defense against Conor McGregor at UFC 189. After some debate over the severity of the injury, Aldo was forced to withdraw from what would likely have been the biggest payday of his career.
“In this case, Aldo was going to make millions of dollars in this fight. This was the biggest fight of his career, financially and every other way. So the guy is hurt, not to mention the fact Andre Pederneiras, his trainer, sent me the video of him getting kicked,” White told the “The Jim Rome Show” on Tuesday. “It’s a spinning heel kick to the ribs. The sparring partner shouldn’t have been throwing at him two weeks before the biggest fight of his life anyway.”
While McGregor publicly expressed his doubts that Aldo was actually unable to fight, White was more diplomatic about the entire situation. However, the UFC boss did reiterate a previous point that fighters should look to scale back their training methods.
“It just goes back to what I’ve been saying about this sport. The Stone Ages and the training has to change,” he said. “If you’re gonna be throwing those type of kicks at the world champion two weeks before the biggest fight of his life, he should at least have rib protectors on or body pads or something so that this doesn’t happen. It’s no good for Andre Pederneiras, it’s definitely not good for Aldo and it’s not good for us or the fans. Nobody wins in this scenario.”
That, of course, is not entirely true. Chad Mendes was willing to step in on short notice once Aldo pulled out and will face McGregor for the vacant 145-pound strap. And contrary to popular belief, the matchup change has not resulted in diminished interest -- at least according to White.
“It was a huge blow, obviously. What’s crazy is, that fight gets canceled, we bring in Chad Mendes. The gate in Vegas was at the MGM was $6.8 million, we put in Mendes the gate went to $7.1 million,” White said. “We actually had to add bleachers in there. It’s the biggest gate we’ve ever done in the United States.”
At the end of the day, dealing with the injury bug has become commonplace for the UFC. All told, the Las Vegas-based promotion has been forced to make 29 changes to main or co-main event bouts thus far in 2015.
“This is a contact sport. Jose Aldo is a guy who hasn’t lost in 10 years, has defended his title seven times. Believe when I tell you, he wanted to be here on Saturday night,” White said. “When I was saying everybody loses, everybody loses except for Chad Mendes. Chad Mendes is gonna do just fine. One man’s loss is another man’s gain. It’s like having Tom Brady as your quarterback and being upset because the guy gets hurt. It’s a little frustrating and it bums you out, but it’s gonna happen.”