UFC President Dana White and rising lightweight prospect Paddy Pimblett have shut down the idea that the promotion shows favoritism towards certain fighters.
From the continued debate surrounding perceived fighter pay issues to the presence of a dictator’s son at a pay-per-view event, the MMA leader hasn’t been short on controversial topics in recent times.
And like the discourse surrounding contracts and remuneration, which has seen the likes of Francis Ngannou criticize the UFC, the promotion has also consistently come under fire for the idea that it wrongly pushes some fighters, in many cases over others who are more deserving.
An example of the topic coming to light was prior to UFC 281, when Israel Adesanya’s coach accused the organization of giving Alex Pereira an undeserved push towards a title shot.
Even more recently, UFC Orlando headliner Kevin Holland seemingly called his bosses out for showing favoritism towards Khamzat Chimaev, claiming that the promotion often ‘f*cks’ some fighters over.
One of the fighters who’s received heat for a perceived ‘underserved push’ is Pimblett, who’s grown into one of the UFC’s biggest stars in just over a year in the promotion.
Among others, lightweight Arman Tsarukyan and featherweight contender Arnold Allen have appeared to share that sentiment. While the former claimed that Pimblett has been given the privilege of choosing his opponents, the latter suggested that only fighters from the UK with a “funny accent” get pushed.
But during a recent episode of the Chattin Pony podcast, which featured the UFC president as a guest, Pimblett hit back at claims he’s been shown favoritism since arriving in the Octagon.
According to “The Baddy,” his prominence is solely down to his appeal and content.
“It also annoys me when other fighters say about me, ‘Oh, he’s getting pushed more than anyone else.’ I’m not,” Pimblett insisted. “I just create better content than all of you. Just ’cause yous couldn’t sell a bible to an orthodox Christian. It’s mad… my numbers are just better than yours! Simple as that.”
White: ‘Guys Like Pimblett Have The IT Factor, Others Don’t’
According to Dana White, who was present to listen to Paddy Pimblett’s defense against accusations of favoritism, the Liverpool native was spot on with his assessment.
After “The Baddy” concluded his remarks, the UFC president gave his two cents, pointing out that fighters like Pimblett, former two-division champion Conor McGregor, and top-ranked bantamweight Sean O’Malley are simply different when it comes to drawing attention, buys, and eyeballs.
“You’re a smart kid. It’s exactly right,” White said. “Listen, some people, I say it all the time, have that thing, have that IT factor. There’s some guys out there that are incredibly talented, and people don’t care until they get to a certain level and then they start to notice. Then there’s guys like you, Conor McGregor, ‘Sugar’ Sean O’Malley.
“Some people have it and some people don’t. It’s not that one guy’s being pushed more than the other. What happens is when a guy like you comes in, and people love you and people are attracted to you, you just seem like you’re being pushed more because you’re the guy everyone wants to talk to,” White added. “In life, other people get jealous of guys who do well.”
Pimblett’s latest opportunity on the sport’s biggest stage will come this weekend at UFC 282, where he’ll share the Octagon with Jared Gordon in the pay-per-view co-main event.
Do you believe the UFC shows favoritism to some fighters? Or do you agree with Paddy Pimblett and Dana White’s explanations?
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