Dana White is, quite likely, the most familiar face to mixed martial artists outside the octagon. As president of the UFC, this 44-year-old dynamo is likely best recognized by his shaved head and wide smile, but don’t let that fool you. This guy means business.
He’s a hardass who takes his business seriously. Just look at the aftermath of the St. Pierre v. Hendricks card a few weeks ago. He was as irate as anyone had ever seen him, and had agreed that the match was more or less a scoring fiasco that should not have left St. Pierre with his belt.
Commenting about St. Pierre’s star power, White had this to say:
Yeah, I’m blown away that Georges St-Pierre won that fight. And listen, I’m a promoter… he’s the biggest pay-per-view star on the planet for me. And I still don’t think he won that fight. I want what’s fair and that wasn’t fair.
Few promoters will say that about their biggest stars, but White is a lot different than any other promoter. He’s more than that; people have become UFC followers and admirers because of the fight cards he’s brought in, but it’s his attitude about bringing UFC into the mainstream that has won him admirers.
His is a frank, no-BS sort of approach that people will either love or hate, and he’s fine with that.
He actually basically fell into running UFC. He’d become friends with the Lorenzo Fertitta, a known millionaire in Las Vegas, and when Art Davies told White he was looking for a buyer for the UFC, White jumped at the chance. At the time, he was managing Tito Ortiz and Chuck Liddell, and the brothers Fertittas – Lorenzo and Frank – purchased UFC from Davies. While White currently has a 10% stake in the company, his frank, no-nonsense approach to the presidency has driven UFC straight to the top of the MMA heap.
When St. Pierre announced a prolonged absence from the fight scene in the immediate aftermath of the Hendricks match up, White was livid.
You don’t just say ‘Hey. I’m going to take a while off and maybe I’ll be back, maybe I won’t.’ You owe it to the fans, you owe it to that belt, you owe it to this company (the UFC) and you owe it to Johnny Hendricks to give him that opportunity to fight again.
Dana White: brash, youthful, and with the business sense that many would envy.
It’s small wonder that he has helped drive the internationally renowned MMA organization straight to the top. While many fighters have commented that White could have potentially been a professional fighter, thanks to his innate understanding of what works and what doesn’t in the ring, they have him to thank for bringing them the renown that UFC offers.