LAS VEGAS – Tuesday night, UFC president Dana White handed out his first developmental deal of the season.
He awarded one to William Knight (5-0), who had a big comeback finish over Herdem Alecabek at Dana White’s Contender Series 24 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
White said the reason he awarded Knight a developmental deal, not a full UFC contract, is because he believes he’s still too green.
“You take a guy who’s fought for 15 months and throw him into the light heavyweight division in the UFC, that’s just (expletive) mean,” White told MMA Junkie and other reporters. “That’s just (expletive) mean, and we’ll move him the way we’ve done a lot of guys, including (Greg) Hardy.”
Knight notched his fifth pro win and his fifth finish. While White was impressed, he said he’d rather see Knight go out and get more experience before handing him a UFC deal.
“I wouldn’t want to bring a guy like that in just to get slaughtered,” White said. “I’d rather let him go back out and fight in the smaller shows some more – get 10, 11 wins and see how he looks from there and try again. But we all agree that we felt that we should give him the shot.”
And that experience could very well end up taking place in the UFC, on the multiple shows that are out there to develop talent, and give guys the opportunity to compete on the big stage.
“Definitely, we could put guys in (‘The Ultimate Fighter’), we could have guys fighting on ‘(Dana White): Lookin’ for a Fight’ whenever we do a show,” White said. “The Contender Series, ‘The Ultimate Fighter,’ ‘Lookin’ for a Fight’ – it’s all about getting these guys exposure.”
White raved about the likes of Sean O’Malley and Sodiq Yusuff, who he claims pulled 3.5 million viewers when they competed on the Contender Series. He says Greg Hardy pulled 1.6 million viewers, which is why he sees the Contender Series, as well as the other shows, as a great way to build fighters and give them exposure.
“We take these guys that nobody knows and nobody’s ever seen or heard of before, tell their story, you watch them fight, and these things pull big numbers,” White said. “Before they ever set foot in the UFC, (3.5) million people or whatever have seen them fight. That’s what these shows are designed to do: find and build talent.”
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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: Dana White hands out developmental deals to avoid fighters getting 'slaughtered' in UFC