Tyron Woodley isn’t looking to get into a war of words with UFC president Dana White after he made comments about the welterweight champion in a recent interview.
White was asked about Woodley’s comments on racism when speaking about the sport and he responded by saying that he was “a smart guy, he’s a good-looking kid, he’s explosive, he’s got knockout power but he’s a bit of a drama queen.”
According to Woodley, he actually spoke to White after that interview aired so they could discuss his comments before anything was misconstrued in a back-and-forth battle publicly or through social media.
Woodley told the Fight Society podcast this week that he holds no ill will towards White for the comments and says that he believes the UFC president was speaking more about his marketability as a fighter than anything else.
“I think Dana’s more speaking from a marketing standpoint. And Dana called me after his interview and I listened to the interview and it didn’t really come off all that bad to me,” Woodley said. “He was actually extremely complimentary in certain parts of the interview and he said ‘he’s a bit of a drama queen.’ I can say he’s a bit of a drama queen.
“It’s just him saying his opinion but he’s thinking more from a marketing standpoint being in this sport 25-plus years and seeing what guys did and how they exploded into stardom and if those were my goals, he would have the perfect route for me. But he also has to understand why I’m in this sport, what I’m doing it for, what I’m fighting for and I might not have the same goals as some other people.”
Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images
When it comes to promoting the current welterweight champion, Woodley believes the UFC has missed a few opportunities in regards to how he could be used to expand the promotion’s reach while simultaneously building his own brand at the same time.
Still, Woodley understands it’s not a one size fits all when it comes to promoting a fighter or a UFC champion. So he makes it clear that his goals are different than other competitors such as Conor McGregor.
Woodley would love to become a star for the UFC and one of the biggest names to help sell pay-per-views, but he has no desire to do what McGregor has done to make himself the most profitable fighter in the history of the sport.
“I won’t be Conor. I don’t want to be the dude that you just think about with a crazy suit, talking crap, fighting in these super fights and driving a Rolls-Royce,” Woodley said. “What else can you tell me about Conor? What can you tell me about what he’s doing in the community? What can you tell me about what he’s doing in family? What can you tell me he’s doing in business besides blowing money? We don’t know a lot about him besides those two or three categories.
“That’s not my legacy. That’s his legacy. His goals are very clear and simple and I respect him for it to be honest.”
Of course, Woodley still wants to get paid like a champion so he’ll never stay quiet when it comes to the compensation he receives or what he feels like he deserves.
“I want to be compensated. If I’m working at the post office and I’m sorting the same mail as the person to the right and they’re making $25 an hour and I’m making $21, I need to know what is this person doing so much better that he’s getting $4 more than me,” Woodley explained. “That’s just knowing the market and being a smart businessman.
“Of course, I’m going to push what I feel is fair and what I feel is deserving. My end goal is not to break the record for cashing in the most. I want to be treated fair and what I feel is fair, but that’s not my sole purpose, that’s not my purpose. I don’t get too frustrated.”
As far as speaking out on hot-button issues now or in the future, Woodley says he’s only speaking from the heart and his greater goal is to affect change on a large scale basis. Similar to the work he does in his own community, Woodley would rather serve as an inspiration to others more than touting how much money he makes or bragging about the cars he’s driving.
If it takes a little extra effort for Woodley to get the attention he desires, he’s happy to put in the hard work because that’s what got him to the top of the sport in the first place.
“I didn’t really get into the sport for fame,” Woodley said. “I didn’t get into it to be this infamous guy that everybody worships. I got into this sport to make a difference. Some of the things I’m speaking out on, I knew I would have a platform at some point.
“This is not the first time in this sport where I feel like I have to work a little bit harder. That I have to do a little bit more. That I have to leave no doubt and this has been since my collegiate wrestling career, since high school, football, I’ve always had to do this.”