LAS VEGAS — One of the reasons that Dana White is by far the best combat sports promoter in the world is the many new and unique ways he uses his own celebrity to draw interest in UFC fight cards. He’s recently begun livestreaming with celebrities on his Instagram page, which has in excess of 4.3 million followers.
He planned to do a livestream with actor Mark Wahlberg on Tuesday at 9:15 p.m. ET, and will do one with Raiders running back Josh Jacobs on Friday at 4 p.m. ET.
The one that may draw the most interest, though, is the one on Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET with NFL quarterback Tom Brady. During a scrum with reporters at the UFC Apex facility on Tuesday to discuss Saturday’s card at T-Mobile Arena, White was asked if he would lobby Brady to leave the New England Patriots and sign as a free agent with the Las Vegas Raiders.
The Raiders will begin play in Las Vegas in a $2 billion stadium on the south end of Las Vegas Blvd., and an idea that has been gaining traction in the city has been for the team to sign Brady and make him its starting quarterback.
Bryan Salmond, the sports anchor at KSNV Channel 3 in Las Vegas, asked White if he’d ask Brady if he’d sign with the Raiders during the livestream. White is a Patriots fan, so his dream scenario would be for Brady to return to New England and quarterback the Patriots.
But he’s bought a suite next to ex-partner Lorenzo Fertitta at the new Allegiant Stadium and is now a Raiders season ticket holder, so it wouldn’t be all bad if Brady donned the Silver & Black.
“Sure, I’ll ask him,” White said. “Trust me, I’ve been terrorizing Brady. If you ever want to rob a bank, do it with Brady. This guy doesn’t say [anything] to anybody. I know I’ve been trying to get him. Wahlberg. Matt Damon and Ben Affleck have been terrorizing him. Everybody from Boston has been terrorizing this guy and he hasn’t been saying anything. Obviously, if he doesn’t sign with Boston, which is where I would like him to be, hopefully he comes to Vegas.”
White was in a light-hearted mood on Tuesday. He said he’s most excited about Saturday’s co-main event between flyweight champion Zhang Weili and former champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
But he quickly downplayed any notion that he might consider taking a fight himself. For some reason, a reporter noted White’s physical size and asked if there was any way he would get into the Octagon and take a fight himself. In 2006, he agreed to box Tito Ortiz, a former UFC champion he once managed whom he had been feuding with for years.
While White maintains he would have beaten Ortiz in a boxing match, he made it clear he’ll never agree to such a stunt again in the future.
“Oh, hell no,” White said when the reporter asked him if he’d ever get into the Octagon to fight. “I battle to get on a treadmill every day. Believe me, the days of me doing that are over, long gone. Wait till you hit 50. Come back and tell me what you think about fighting when you hit 50.”
The same reporter then asked White about a report that Yoel Romero, who challenges Israel Adesanya for the middleweight title in the main event, planned to slam him in the event if he won.
White hadn’t heard about it and said he hoped Romero wouldn’t do it.
“I don’t like that,” White said, laughing, when asked for his response. “I didn’t hear that until just now. He wants to slam me? Yeah. Um, no. I guess if he wanted to [expletive] slam me, I’m getting slammed. I don’t think I’d be able to defend that, but let’s hope that doesn’t happen.”
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