Former undisputed UFC middleweight champion, Luke Rockhold has hit out at promotional leader, Dana White — claiming the long-time head-honcho is a “tyrant” and “thinks he’s a fighter“, as he calls for a governing body to be introduced to the sport.
Rockhold, a former Strikeforce 185-pound titleholder to boot, has flirted with an Octagon return later this year, possibly in late summer — as he attempts to rebound from a damaging knockout defeat to current light heavyweight champion, Jan Blachowicz in July of 2019 in his divisional bow.
“I think realistically, I think this summertime, a late-summer return,” Rockhold said during a recent interview with TMZ Sports. “I just gotta get my body right. My shoulder’s been an ongoing issue but it’s finally coming around. I’m getting to the point where I have confidence in it to let it go. I’m pressing. I’m pressing to get into shape. It feels good. It feels good to get back in the gym. I’m finally getting a little fight back.“
“I believe 185-pounds is my calling,” Rockhold explained. “I’m about 205-pounds right now, I’m just naturally there. It wasn’t really me to bulk up. I was lifting weights and doing my thing to get up to 205-pounds, and I could barely hold 215-pounds or 220-pounds max at best. So I feel good. This is my championship weight, this is where I’ve done all my damage, and I like the route to victory and what’s ahead of me. So, I’m ready to go.“
Rockhold’s below comments come in the midst of a rather public fallout between former two-time light heavyweight champion, Jon Jones and the above-mentioned, White earlier this week — where the former claimed that it was obvious that White “hated” him, as he calls for a sufficient payday to make his heavyweight division debut in a title challenge opposite recently minted kingpin, Francis Ngannou.
Appearing as a guest on the Rippin’ It podcast recently, Rockhold detailed how the promotion utilize “mafioso-type tactics” during negotiations, before describing White as a “tyrant” who “thinks he’s a fighter“.
“Fighting is like a mafia,” Rockhold said. “They have these very mafioso-type tactics in negotiations, they try to f*ck with you. I’m not having any of it. If you don’t know your worth, someone will tell you your worth and it’ll be less than your worth, so know your worth. Once I lost the world title, Dana White came up to me and tried to beat me down mentally and I was like ‘f*ck you,’ straight up. I was like I’m going to go do my own thing, if you’re going to try and offer me this and that bullsh*t, you know who I am and what I did, that’s the only reason I went out and got a modeling contract so I could leverage myself.“
“We don’t have the governing body,” Rockhold continued. “We’ve got an egotistical guy that’s a bit of a tyrant. No one is going to try and fight you, you’ve got to put your ass on the line, stand your ground, take (the) risk, otherwise, you get treated like a b*tch. It’s unfortunate, a guy like that, he thinks he can fight, he thinks he’s a fighter. I don’t understand why he’s trying to belittle all the fighters when you’ve never fought a day in your life. You’re a promoter. We need a governing body to give people what they deserve, he doesn’t play the game right.” (H/T BJPENN.com)
A ten-fight UFC veteran, Rockhold has managed to score notable wins over the likes of Costas Philippou, Michael Bisping, Lyoto Machida, David Branch, and in his crowning effort, stopped the then-undefeated Chris Weidman at UFC 194 back in December of 2015 with fourth round ground strikes to become the undisputed UFC middleweight champion.