Dana White weighs in on Merab Dvalishvili title shot following his reluctance to face Sterling

UFC President Dana White has addressed the recent decision by Merab Dvalishvili, the number two contender in the UFC bantamweight division, to refuse a title bout opportunity. White expressed strong disapproval of Dvalishvili’s stance, suggesting that such an approach doesn’t align with the competitive spirit of the UFC.

Dvalishvili’s position in the bantamweight division is formidable, backed by an impressive nine-win streak. Notably, he secured a dominant victory over former champion Petr Yan in his last bout at UFC Vegas. His exceptional wrestling skills led to a unanimous decision win, showcasing his prowess in the octagon.

Despite being in a prime position to challenge for the title, Dvalishvili opted out of a potential clash with then-champion Aljamain Sterling, citing their friendship and teammate status. This unexpected move raised concerns within the MMA community, as it appeared to compromise the division’s competitive nature.

With Sean O’Malley now holding the bantamweight belt after defeating Sterling, the dynamics have shifted. Dvalishvili’s decision to challenge O’Malley could bring him closer to a title shot. However, rather than pursuing the champion, Dvalishvili is advocating for Sterling to receive an immediate rematch.

This approach has led to speculation about Dvalishvili’s commitment as an athlete. Dana White, known for his candid opinions, expressed clear dissatisfaction with Dvalishvili’s stance. White emphasized that the UFC is a platform to determine the best fighter globally and criticized Dvalishvili’s approach.

Dana White stated, “I hate it. Why did you even get into this sport? If that’s your mentality and the way that you think. ‘I don’t want the title, I don’t want the championship, we’re friends, we’re this, we’re that’… This is not about friendship. This is about finding out who the best in the world is, and if you don’t want to find out who the best in the world is, this is not the place for you.”

He further added, “There’s plenty of places to fight where they don’t give a sh*t what you do. It doesn’t work here.”

Fans are eagerly awaiting Dvalishvili’s decision regarding his championship pursuit. While he presents a significant challenge for O’Malley, his initial reluctance to compete created obstacles, considering other hungry contenders like Marlon Vera and Cory Sandhagen vying for the belt. The MMA community hopes that Dvalishvili’s resolve shifts, enabling him to embrace the competitive nature of the sport and vie for the championship title.