Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White isn’t one to blush, but he turned a little red when the subject of insurance payments to the City of Vancouver came up at Thursday’s UFC 115 press conference.
Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson was asked about the so-called “astronomical” costs required by the city to allow the event and White made sure the dollar figure wasn’t divulged at the podium.
“Don’t tell her,” White, sporting a retro Canucks hoodie, told Robertson to a chorus of laughs in the GM Place media room.
But negotiations were no laughing matter.
The entire event was cancelled at one point before a last-minute deal was struck between the two parties.
“It was a little challenging to get up in Vancouver … we’ll call it challenging,” said White, who admitted UFC 115 is probably the most insured event the company has promoted.
For his part, Robertson would not divulge the numbers (believed to be in the tens of millions of dollars).
“It was a complex deal because we don’t have the province and federal support,” said Robertson. “Vancouver is the first UFC host city not to have a provincial or federal, state sanctioning body that is responsible for mixed martial arts. Be assured that the taxpayers were looked after in the process.”
The mayor said the city will look at “smoothing out the wrinkles” for future events, but White was more bullish on the subject.
“After we leave, we won’t have the insurance issues and the stigma issues here in Vancouver anymore. That I guarantee you,” White said. “We’re pumped to be here in Vancouver and we will be back.”