UFC at odds with Dan Hardy over stomach tattoo

The Canadian Press

3/23/2010 6:47:29 PM

TORONTO -- English welterweight Dan (The Outlaw) Hardy's stomach tattoo was airbrushed out of the UFC 111 fight poster because it is "anti-Chinese government stuff," according to UFC president Dana White.

"I'm trying to get into China," he told fans at a question-and-answer session Tuesday. "I don't need anti-Chinese government stuff on my fighters."

Hardy, however, says the tattoo -- the fighter's favourite -- is a Tibetan Buddhist prayer written in Sanskrit.

"It's basically just like a prayer for focus," Hardy said. "It keeps me walking the path that I should be walking without veering off and distracting myself."

Apprised of that explanation, White said: "That's not what I heard."

"This thing popped up and I heard that it was anti-Chinese government, so I ripped that thing off it. I'm not going to put him on a poster with anti-Chinese government writing on it when we're trying to get into China. . . . I don't what this stuff means, so I've got to be safe."

Hardy challenges Canadian Georges St-Pierre for his UFC welterweight title Saturday at UFC 111 in Newark, N.J.


MOVING ON UP -- Asked about a GSP-Anderson Silva super-fight, White says he sees Silva moving up to 205 pounds "more than those two meeting in the middle."

St-Pierre is champion at 170 pounds while Silva, who has already beaten a former light-heavyweight champion in Forrest Griffin at 205, rules at 185.

"I know you guys love your GSP but I don't know if that fight's fair for GSP. I just think he's too big," he said of Silva.

White said St-Pierre "is pretty close to cleaning out that division.""But after this Abu Dhabi fight (UFC 112), something interesting might happen, so we'll see what happens there and we'll figure out what's next for GSP."


WEST COAST -- White says a Vancouver card is still on for June, but he did not seem so sure about whether it will feature a fight between Chuck (The Iceman) Liddell and Tito (The Huntington Beach Bad Boy) Ortiz.

"The Vancouver thing, we don't know. We'll see. But (Vancouver) that's where we planning on going."


BONES BONANZA -- Light-heavyweight Jon (Bones) Jones is the buzz fighter in MMA after stopping Brandon (The Truth) Vera on Sunday, according to White.

The UFC boss says the 22-year-old Jones is very talented and very young.

"Brandon Vera was a big test. He obviously passed with flying colours. I want to give him some other fights like that over the next year . . . then I say next year, after his next three fights, we start getting him Rashad (Evans), Rampage (Quinton Jackon), Lyota Machida and Shogun (Mauricio Rua), whoever the champion is, and maybe he gets a title fight next year."

White also confirmed that Vera broke an orbital bone courtesy of Jones, who finished the fight with an elbow to Vera's head.


NOTES -- White was perturbed at seeing a gaunt James (The Sandman) Irvin at last Friday's weigh-in for a televised show in Broomfield, Colo. Irvin, returning to the cage after a 20-month absence, was fighting for the first time at 185 pounds after dropping from light-heavyweight to middleweight. He was stopped in the first round by Alessio Sakara after taking a punch to the eye. "He looked terrible at the weigh-ins and he jumped off the scale and hugged me when he made weight. That's a bad sign. . . . I'm an Irvin fan and don't ever want to see him at 185 pounds again." ... On the lightweight front, White says champion B.J. Penn is one fight away from cleaning out the division. Penn meets Frankie (The Answer) Edgar at UFC 112 next month in Abu Dhabi. White says Penn, should he win, could make a return to welterweight but would have to take on some top contenders before getting another shot at the 170-pound champion ... White says the UFC is looking to keep Montreal middleweight Patrick (The Predator) Cote busy, both fighting and broadcasting. Cote, who is returning from a knee injury, has done French-language commentary for the UFC. ... White says the UFC has probably has "12 to 15 guys that make millions of dollars. This sport is only nine years old (Zuffa bought the UFC in 2001)."