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Dana White unhappy with MMA media, leak of Adesanya vs Costa fight

"They were told not to say anything..."

The relationship between the UFC and MMA media can be a delicate one. Ariel Helwani was infamously dejected from a UFC event for breaking the story of Brock Lesnar’s return to the UFC, for example. Now UFC president Dana White is displeased with the MMA media for breaking the news of the middleweight title bout between Israel Adesanya and Paulo Costa. The bout is tentatively targeted for UFC 253, September 18th, presumably at Fight Island in Abu Dhabi.

The news, which originally was reported from Brazilian outlet Combate, was apparently somewhat premature. However, several other media outlets later confirmed the report with sources close to the situation. When White was asked about the fight at the UFC on ESPN+ 30 post-fight press conference, he was clearly unhappy that the news had broken, since he was unsure if the fight was even completely done.

“I don’t think that’s true,” Dana White told MMA media about Adesanya vs Costa. “I don’t think both have signed. It’s not done… F***ing guys. They were told not to say anything. Combate breaks it immediately, tweeting, you know? The fight is not done.”

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White’s apprehension spurred questions over the legitimacy of the reports, and questions as to if there were issues finalising the fight. However the UFC boss shot down those rumours, stating that the UFC’s focus simply wasn’t laid that far ahead just yet.

“There’s no hold up,” White said. “We just haven’t done it yet. There’s no hold up. We’re focused on Fight Island, I’m not thinking about anything other than this right now. We have fights laid out until October, our schedule’s already made, we’re way ahead of this thing. When it’s time, we’ll announce it.”

While the plans for Adesanya vs Costa seem to still be in place, it’s clear that the UFC would have preferred more control over the reporting of the fight.

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