Senator John McCain may call UFC “human cockfighting,” but probably not to Dana White‘s face. We won’t get into politics, except to mention that, of course, Dana White is the President of the Ultimate Fighting Championship — now a billion dollar empire. Call it what you want (we call it modern Gladiator battles,) but UFC is one of the most popular sports, and it’s popularity is constantly growing.
So how did Dana become the most powerful man in the mixed martial arts organizations? That story probably starts when White got kicked out of Las Vegas’s Bishop Gorman High School.
It wasn’t anything extravagant that lead to his expulsion. He just kicked down a classroom door, as boys do, and his shoe flew off and hit a nun. Apparently, hitting a nun with a shoe is against the rules. But it was at Bishop Gorman High that White, who began boxing at 17, met the Fertitta brothers.
White was working as a manager for Tito Ortiz and Chuck Liddell when he learned Semaphore Entertainment Group was looking for someone to buy UFC. He quickly called up his old school chums, Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta, executives at Station Casinos. It only took a month for them to buy UFC, and make Dana White president.
Fifteen years ago, White was hustling in Boston. He’d ride his bicycle through the city, with 80 pounds of equipment in a hockey bag on his back, going to different gyms to train his clients. Today, MMA fighting is sanctioned in 34 states. There is a UFC magazine, a UFC video game, UFC action figures, and UFC trading cards. In just 11 years, 123 UFC gyms have opened in America, it’s considered one of the fastest growing franchises in the world.
UFC is the largest mixed martial arts promotion company in the world, and it features most of the top-ranked fighters in the sport. It boasts nine weight divisions, and over 300 events. Dana White is in charge of all of that, and it’s because of him that UFC has become the success that it is today.