The new season of "The Ultimate Fighter" debuts on FOX Sports 1 on Sept. 10, and White is over the moon with excitement about the fights, the fighters and the overall atmosphere created by this new cast of competitors debuting with the UFC strawweight division.
White teased that the fights this season are off the charts and at least one woman stands out head and shoulders above the rest because she could be the new Ronda Rousey.
"Wait till you guys see this season of ‘The Ultimate Fighter.’ It’s so good," White said. "There’s a Ronda Rousey on this season of ‘The Ultimate Fighter,’ absolutely."
Renan Barao Goes Home Empty Handed
It’s been a rough few days for former UFC bantamweight champion Renan Barao. Not only did he miss weight and have to go to the hospital Friday, thus forgoing his title fight rematch against T.J. Dillashaw, but he will also go home to Brazil on Sunday without a dime earned from his week in Sacramento, Calif.
UFC president Dana White confirmed that Barao and Henry Cejudo, who also missed weight this week, won’t be paid anything from their purses after failing to live up to their contractual obligations to fight. Barao won’t face any other penalties from the UFC because what he’s already lost is more than enough.
"That kid didn’t make a paycheck. He’s going home with no money. He’s going home without a dime," White said about Barao. "He hasn’t fought, he just paid for a camp, and who knows when he’s going to fight again. The penalties in this sport are worse than any other sport."
White also said that Scott Jorgensen and Anthony Birchak — who were unable to fight because Barao and Cejudo didn’t make weight, causing several bouts to undergo changes — will both be paid their show and win money for the night.
As for Barao, he now has to go back home to Brazil while waiting on his next fight to get made in the UFC. He won’t receive a title shot, and he may have to fight twice or more to receive another shot at the belt after missing weight and causing such a catastrophic series of events for UFC 177.
White did say that Raphael Assuncao "makes sense" as the next contender to face Dillashaw with the belt on the line.
No New Women’s Weight Classes
While the UFC has already technically launched the 115-pound women’s division, the strawweight champion will be crowned later this year at "The Ultimate Fighter" finale. As excited as White is about the new division and a cast of female fighters who will certainly inject a new kind of excitement about women’s MMA, don’t expect more female fighters to be joining the promotion any time soon.
According to White, when the 115-pounders debut, it will give the UFC two women’s divisions, and that will be it for quite some time.
"We have two divisions, and that 125 is right in the middle. It would screw a lot of things up. We’re going to stay here for a long time," White revealed. "We’ll be at 115 and 135 for a long time."
Gina Carano Update
Speaking of women’s MMA, a popular name that always seems to come up now whenever White does an interview is former Elite XC and Strikeforce star Gina Carano. White has been pursuing her to join the UFC for the past few months, but no deal has been struck.
White remains confident that they will get her under contract before the close of the year, but then again he also thought she’d already be signed by now.
"Oh yeah (she’ll be signed by the end of the year). But I told you six months ago she’d be signed in six days, too," White said with a smile.
Because of the delay, it’s likely that when and if Carano signs, she won’t be next in line to face women’s champion Ronda Rousey because of the timing of her return and how long the popular fighter would need to train and prepare for a title fight showdown.
"I did at one point (think Carano would be next for Rousey); I don’t know now," White said.
Warming Up to Ben Askren
White addressed welterweight star and former Olympian Ben Askren, who recently won a fight overseas and remains undefeated in his pro career. Askren has stated on numerous occasions that he would like the chance to face the best fighters in the world at 170 pounds in the UFC, but the promotion didn’t pursue him when he was a free agent earlier this year.
Askren has won his last four fights in a row by either TKO or submission, and if he keeps it up, White seems to think he’ll get his shot in the UFC after all.
"Yeah," White answered when asked about bringing Askren to the UFC. "I think if he keeps winning, he’ll get a shot over here."