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Exclusive Interview With UFC President Dana White On His Addition To The EA Sports UFC 3 Roster

by Brian Shea on Mar 15, 2018 at 12:12 PM

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EA Sports' announcement that UFC President Dana White was coming to the roster of UFC 3 is the latest in a line of special playable characters in the series. White joins other non-UFC fighters like boxer Mike Tyson, martial arts legend Bruce Lee, and UFC color commentator Joe Rogan, who appeared in UFC 2 as special fighters.

The outspoken UFC President set some time aside to chat with us about how EA Sports is doing with the UFC license to this point, as well as his thoughts on being included in the game's roster. For a video message from White about his inclusion in the roster, check out the announcement of the downloadable character here. For our review of UFC 3, head here.

The deal with EA Sports to handle the UFC license was a long time coming. Now that we're three games in, how satisfied are you with the work the team has done? 
EA has done a great job of bringing everything it takes to become a mixed martial artist and UFC athlete to life, virtually through their video games. These guys are really passionate about the sport and they've done an amazing job of recreating some of the iconic events, like weigh-ins and press conferences in UFC 3.

You're obviously a very busy man, particularly with the stretch of events UFC has put on this year, but how much have you seen or played of this game? 
I'm not really a big gamer, but I have played the game many times with my kids. My kids love it and I've learned a lot by playing with them.

This year, you were even more present in the game, with things like your social media presence, Lookin' for a Fight, and even live-action scenes of you talking about the fighters. How did those recording sessions go? 
The recording sessions are actually fun. We sit down and go over a lot of things that I really do say, whether it's with up-and-coming fighters, at the fights, press conferences, or wherever it might be. It's fun, we have a good time doing it.

Including you as a playable fighter in EA Sports UFC 3 is a fun nod to the fans along the lines of adding Bruce Lee, Joe Rogan, and Mike Tyson to past games. How did this idea to have you in the game come across your desk? 
From what EA tells me, the fans have been asking for this for a long time. They asked me if I would be willing to do it and I said, "Yes, I think it's great." It's fun. And for all the people out there that have wanted to punch me in the face over the last 20 years, this is your chance.

You've always been in the UFC games as a non-playable character for things like awarding belt to fighters, but what was your first reaction to the idea of your in-game representation stepping into the Octagon? 
When I saw the video of me in the Octagon fighting for the first time it was hilarious because I was fighting [UFC light heavyweight] Gian Villante. I called him on FaceTime and showed him the video of me whooping his ass. [laughs] It was fun. I sent it to [former UFC middleweight champion] Chris Weidman and [former UFC welterweight champion] Matt Serra and we had a blast with it.

Do you know what weight class your fighter is going to be in? 
When we decided on weight classes, we kept it real. I'm a 205-lber, so we put me in the light heavyweight division. But, if the fans like it and are into it, you could see me going into other weight classes, heavyweight and down, in the future.

So it's not possible that Dana White is the challenger that welcomes back [UFC lightweight champion] Conor [McGregor] or [former UFC welterweight and middleweight champion] Georges St-Pierre? 
Not right now, but if the fans love it and are into it, then EA will put me in other weight classes.

Then is he going to get the winner of [heavyweight champion] Stipe [Miocic] and [light heavyweight champion] Daniel Cormier? 
I can face DC now because I'm a light heavyweight, but not Stipe. DC is moving up to heavyweight I don't know why I can't.

I don't know how much you know about your in-game fighter, but it would make sense for you to use boxing techniques in stand-up, since you were an amateur boxer, right? 
As far as the technique goes in the game, they modeled me after a boxer because I have boxing experience. But don't be fooled, I have jiu-jitsu too, so don't think that you're going to take me to the ground and beat me up down there. My jiu-jitsu is actually pretty good, so you better be ready on your feet and on the ground.

I have a feeling that for executives from other organizations, there would be some hesitation in allowing the players to beat them up in a video game. Was there any hesitation from you or UFC about allowing people like that to lock themselves in a virtual cage with your character? 
No, I didn't have any hesitation. If that's what the fans want, that's what we do. We give the fans what they want. I'm sure there are plenty of people out there that want to punch me in the face, so here's your chance! I love it.