Dana White is as controversial a company figurehead as has ever lived. He routinely bullies reporters and berates talent if they get on the wrong side of a negotiating table or are a little too outspoken.
Some fighters have accused him of playing favorites, while others see him as a ruthless businessman who cares more about making money for the company that taking care of the talent.
The reputation has been sometimes earned and sometimes unfair, but it has definitely made him his share of enemies. With the (potential) UFC sale, there are as many hoping to see him gone as there are those who like his style and appreciate what he’s done to help take mixed martial arts (MMA) mainstream.
Of course, Dana White would have never had the opportunity to step into the public eye if not for his friends and business partners Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta. Their purchase of the promotion for just $2 million from SEG in 2000 is now on the cusp of becoming one of the greatest business transactions of the century, if not the greatest.
— Sophia Helwani (@SophiaHelwani) June 22, 2016
Along with additional investments over the years of $40 million, Yahoo reports, the Fertittas and Dana White have managed to grow the brand and MMA in general while taking the lion’s share of the market and stealing much of the boxing fanbase in the process.
The payoff: On June 20, the company sold for a jaw-dropping $4.2 billion to a group of investors that included WME – IMG, Dalian Wanda, Kraft Group, and Tencent Holdings.
White certainly didn’t grow the business alone; but, like it or not, his ruthless tactics and brazen outspokenness certainly thrust UFC into the public eye more than it ever had been in the pre-Fertitta days from UFC 1 to UFC 32. Few executives can say that they played such a major role in growing a business at a rate of what is essentially 100 times the initial $42 million investment.
Essentially, UFC’s value grew at a rate of approximately $220.5 million per year from the time of purchase. With numbers like that and some of the company’s most successful pay-per-views of all time in the last six months, it’s easy to see why the new owners would want to keep Dana White around for the long haul.
Despite the “image problem” that UFC legend Randy Couture recently laid at White’s door, business is booming, and with the return on investment, it would be foolish for outsiders to come in and tell Dana White what he needs to be doing.
Therefore, critics will likely have to get used to the idea that White will have the job for as long as he wants it.
— MMAWeekly.com (@MMAWeeklycom) June 22, 2016
It’s a reality that can be frustrating for purists agitated by the way Dana has sometimes mixed pro wrestling theatrics with a sport that utilizes the martial arts so heavily. One such decision includes bringing in professional wrestler CM Punk to fight his first fight on a pay-per-view. That happened in 2014; though, the match has yet to come to fruition.
It’s now thought that Punk will fight on the undercard at UFC 203. Even so, Dana White has received a significant amount of criticism for allowing a guy with no fighting experience the chance to skip other, more talented fighters for immediate landfall on the grand stage of a UFC PPV event.
But what do you think about Dana White, readers? Overall, has he been a boon or a detriment to the UFC and MMA in general? Do you want to see him stick around as UFC President? Sound off in the comments section!
[Image of Dana White via YouTube/MMA Fight Corner Entertainment & Sport]