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04th Feb 2016

Dana White: “I should have pulled Sage Northcutt from the fight”

"I blew it"

Darragh Murphy

Hindsight is 20/20.

If Sage Northcutt had run right through Bryan Barberena in the main card opener of UFC on Fox 18 this past weekend then there would be no regrets from anyone.

One of the UFC’s most well-fuelled hype trains would have carried on to its next destination.

But, alas, anything can happen in MMA and sickness meant that a less-than-100% Northcutt took to the Octagon against Barberena and was submitted in the second round.

And it’s eating UFC president Dana White up.

“This was my bad, this was his throat on Thursday,” White said, as he showed the Big Boy show a picture of Northcutt’s throat. “That was his throat on Thursday and the kid really wanted to fight and I let him fight, sick as hell.

“I blew it!”


Northcutt recently revealed on TheMMAHour that he was suffering from strep throat in the run-up to his fight but had insisted that he still wanted to make his UFC welterweight debut.

“The kid was super sick and he still wanted to fight,” White continued. “His father said, ‘listen we still want to take the fight, we still want to take the fight.’

“I should have pulled the kid from the fight. He’s 19 years old, he fought three times in three months. I should have pulled him.”


In fairness, mixed martial arts is not like boxing and a loss doesn’t derail all of a fighter’s momentum. White was quick to claim that Northcutt’s future was bright.

“The kid is 19,” White repeated. “One of the things that you’ll see in the show (Dana White’s Lookin’ for a Fight) too is, in having somebody like Matt (Serra), Matt’s so knowledgeble about the sport and everything. He’s done it all, he’s been a world champion, he went through The Ultimate Fighter himself. He’s done everything you could do.

“He literally goes back and shows kids what they did wrong, how they lost and what they need to do.

“And what was great was that when Sage lost, Sage came back to my room and Matt was in there. Matt gave him a talking to and Matt said ‘Kid, listen. I was 26-years-old, Shonie Carter caught me with a spinning back fist and you’re 19. You’ve got the world by the balls.”