Dana White Admits He Was Wrong for Judging UFC Star

Dana White, UFC

Getty President of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Dana White attends UFC 274.

UFC president Dana White has admitted that he was wrong in his analysis of Anthony Smith.

This past Saturday, Smith marked his return to competition against the rising light heavyweight prospect Magomed Ankalaev on the main card of UFC 277 at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. After a competitive first round saw Ankalaev edge out Smith on the judges’ scorecards, the Dagestani fighter came back in the second round to dispatch Smith via TKO with a flurry of punches.

Smith claimed that he suffered a leg injury during the contest causing him to be unable to continue competing. However, White had alleged that he did not break his leg during the UFC 277 post-fight press conference causing widespread skepticism about whether the damage was as bad as claimed.

During Tuesday’s “Dana White Contender Series” 48 post-fight news conference, White conceded that he provided an inaccurate reading of Smith’s bout and that he was indeed injured.

“Anthony Smith, we’re doing the press conference on Saturday and somebody asked me how I was doing and (I said there wasn’t a fracture),” White said (ht MMA Junkie). “He did break his leg. His leg was broken. They ended up finding the fracture and I guess it was in a weird place.

“Hard to find. He was sitting there questioning himself like, ‘What the hell is wrong with me? I feel like my leg is broken. I know my body.’ And all this stuff. I just wanted to tell you guys that because sometimes it makes it look like, ‘Oh, he’s trying to get out of the fight. He’s claiming he broke his leg.’”

White had first assumed that Ankalaev’s striking caused the damage.

“The way I looked at it he got kicked so f*cking hard he thought his leg was broken, you know what I mean? Which you can imagine, too.

“But he legitimately has a bad break in his leg that is going to need surgery. For him, I wanted to put that out there because I was the one that said it wasn’t broken.”

Smith Complained About the Injury During the Fight

Two top-ranked 205-lbs contenders got things off to a fiery start at UFC 277, exchanging leg kicks right from the top. Smith and Ankalaev both found success early in the round before a slip caused “Lionheart” to fall on his back and take Ankalaev’s continued kicking.

After the first round was over, Smith limped back to his corner and complained about the possibility of a leg injury. He seemed to fade out around that point as the bout went on. Smith shot for a takedown but failed to land his attempt, setting up the barrage of punches that led to his finish.

Following the stoppage, Smith informed a member of the Texas Commission that he broke his leg. He was carried out of the octagon and will require surgery for the injury.

White Had Initially Dismissed Smith’s Claims

During the UFC 277 post-fight press conference, White was asked about Smith’s loss to Ankalaev and the company head argued against the fact that ‘Lionheart’ had broken his leg in the encounter.

Smith had his three-fight win streak broken by Ankalaev in a match he was expecting to be a top contender bout. He had talked about the UFC waiting to see the outcome of his fight to determine who would challenge the reigning light heavyweight champion, Jiri Prochazka, in his first title defense.

He had indicated the opportunity to be contingent on how the result was achieved. Considering how the fight went down, it’s unclear if the promotion will line up Ankalaev for a shot at the gold.

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