Why Did Kamaru Usman Engage in a Feud With UFC President Dana White?

Published 11/02/2021, 5:54 AM EDT
NEW YORK, NY – NOVEMBER 01: UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman poses on stage during the UFC 245 press conference at the Hulu Theatre at Madison Square Garden on November 1, 2019 in New York, New York. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)


It is common for MMA fighters to have bad blood with each other. After all, it is a highly aggressive and competitive sport. However, it is rather uncommon for them to feud with the president of the promotion they are with. But Kamaru Usman did just that as his comments left the UFC President Dana White miffed.

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There is no doubt that Usman is one of the best and most popular fighters. His MMA records and achievements speak for themselves. But, ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ has had to learn things the hard way.

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After a victory against Emil Meek at UFC St. Louis, in the post-fight interview, he said, “Listen, I fought this fight sitting at about 30 percent. Everybody knows what I am capable of.”

Many spectators, who were not satisfied with how the fight panned out, booed the fighter right after his comment. Dana White was of the opinion that it was not okay for the fighter to speak that way about his own performance in the octagon. 

However, later on, Usman explained the reason for saying so. According to him, his fight with Meek had included a lot of prior frustrations. These frustrations led Usman to make that particular statement. He also revealed that he did not regret saying it. 

Kamaru Usman clarified his statement

Usman’s “30 percent” comment in the interview is what annoyed White. Clarifying the meaning behind it, ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ said, “I meant I literally was maybe 30-percent of my abilities, which is what I stated, but of course, when you have a president that is so powerful like Dana White and he goes out in the media and says what he says, everyone just jumps on it.”

 “I swear if Dana says that, ‘You know what? An earthquake is going to happen tomorrow,’ everyone’s going to jump on it, ‘Oh, an earthquake’s going to happen tomorrow.’ That’s just the way that these UFC fans are.”

He further stated, “So once Dana said that, it was just the backlash of it and whatnot, but what I meant to say was I was at 30 percent health. Dana took it the wrong way, so fans took it the wrong way.”

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Usman felt that the criticism he received was because of how White misinterpreted his statement. This entire incident left both sides a little sour. One on hand, Usman felt misconstrued, and on the other hand, White was unhappy with Usman’s statement. 

This annoyance didn’t stay on for too long though as White has defended ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ from boring fight accusations in recent times. However, what did you make of the 30 percent comment and the aftermath? Was it just a simple misunderstanding?

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Watch this story: From Punching Daniel Cormier to Headbutting Khabib Nurmagomedov:- Hasbulla Magomedov’s Best Moments at UFC 267

Let us know how well you remember the incident from Usman’s pre champion days.

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Rohini Kottu

121 articles

Rohini Kottu is a UFC Writer at EssentiallySports. She is also a Psychologist and has a Master's degree in Clinical Psychology. Rohini, in her role as a UFC writer, combines her admiration for the mental resilience that MMA fighters have and her love for analysis.

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