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Modified & Updated: 30 Jan 2024

Dana White

Dana White is a name that resonates with anyone who has even a passing interest in the world of mixed martial arts (MMA). As the president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), White has been instrumental in transforming the organization into a global phenomenon. Here are 20 fascinating facts about Dana White that you may not know.

Table of Contents

Early Life and Education

Dana Frederick White Jr. was born on July 28, 1969, in Manchester, Connecticut. He spent his early years in Ware, Massachusetts, and later moved to Las Vegas in third grade. Despite living in Nevada, White would return to the East Coast during the summers to spend time with his grandparents in Levant, Maine.

Early Career

Before becoming the president of UFC, White had various jobs, including laying asphalt, working as a bouncer at an Irish bar, and being a bellhop at the Boston Harbor Hotel. He began boxing at age 17 and even started a boxing gym in Boston with former Golden Gloves champion Peter Welch.

Entry into the Fight Business

White left Boston to return to Las Vegas in the early 90s after being threatened by mobster Whitey Bulger. In Las Vegas, he continued running boxing gyms and began training jiu-jitsu under John Lewis. It was during this time that he met mixed martial artists Tito Ortiz and Chuck Liddell and ultimately became their manager.

Acquisition of UFC

While managing Ortiz and Liddell, White learned that the owner of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was looking to sell the company. He contacted his childhood friend Lorenzo Fertitta, and in January 2001, Lorenzo and his older brother Frank acquired the UFC for $2 million. White was installed as the company’s president.

Success of UFC

Under White’s leadership, the UFC developed into a highly successful business. Its gross revenue was $600 million in 2015. In July 2016, the UFC was sold to a consortium of investors led by WME-IMG for $4.025 billion. White continued in his role as president and was given a stake in the new business.

Personal Life

White met his wife Anne when they were in the eighth grade, and they married in 1996. They have two sons and one daughter. White bought a mansion in Pine Island Court, Las Vegas in 2006 from Frank Fertitta III for $1.95 million.

Health Issues

In May 2012, White revealed that he had been diagnosed with Ménière’s disease, a neurological disorder. He is undergoing Orthokine treatment for the disease, which he says has greatly reduced his symptoms.

Gambling

White is a recreational gambler. He plays high-stakes blackjack and has been limited from playing at multiple casinos in Las Vegas. He states he plays $75,000 a hand, and if he wins the first couple of hands, he takes the $150,000 profit and leaves.

Politics

White spoke at the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, where he endorsed Republican nominee Donald Trump. He reiterated his support for Trump for the 2020 election and spoke at the podium at a Trump reelection rally in Colorado.

Awards

White has received several awards for his contributions to the sport, including the Armed Forces Foundation’s Patriot Award in 2009 and the World MMA Awards’ Leading Man of the Year multiple times.

early days of Dana White as UFC president

Early Interest in Boxing

White had an early interest in boxing. He started boxing at the age of 17 and even started a boxing gym in Boston with former Golden Gloves champion Peter Welch. This early interest in boxing would later play a significant role in his career.

Philanthropy

White is known for his philanthropic efforts. He has donated millions to various causes, including a $1 million donation to the construction of a brain health center in Las Vegas.

Controversies

White’s tenure as UFC president has not been without controversy. He has been involved in several disputes with fighters over pay and contract issues. He has also been criticized for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, with some accusing him of prioritizing profits over fighter safety.

Love for Music

White is a big fan of music and has been known to attend concerts regularly. His favorite band is The Killers, and he has even walked out to their music during UFC events.

Business Acumen

White’s business acumen has been a key factor in the success of the UFC. He has been able to negotiate lucrative television and sponsorship deals, which have significantly increased the organization’s revenue.

Role in Legalizing MMA

White played a crucial role in legalizing MMA in several states. He worked tirelessly to change the perception of the sport and to convince lawmakers of its legitimacy.

White’s Net Worth

As of 2021, White’s net worth is estimated to be $500 million. This wealth comes primarily from his role as UFC president and his stake in the company.

White’s Role in Fighter Development

White has played a significant role in the development of many fighters. He has been instrumental in providing opportunities for fighters to showcase their skills and rise through the ranks of the UFC.

White’s Impact on the Sport

White’s impact on the sport of MMA cannot be overstated. He has been instrumental in popularizing the sport and making it a mainstream form of entertainment.

White’s Vision for the Future

White has big plans for the future of the UFC. He has expressed interest in expanding the organization’s reach globally and continuing to grow the sport of MMA.

Conclusion

Dana White’s journey from a boxing gym owner to the president of the world’s premier MMA organization is nothing short of remarkable. His passion for the sport, combined with his business acumen, has transformed the UFC into a global phenomenon. Despite the controversies and challenges, White’s impact on the sport of MMA is undeniable.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Where was Dana White born?

Dana White was born in Manchester, Connecticut.

How did Dana White become the president of UFC?

White became the president of UFC after his childhood friends, Lorenzo, and Frank Fertitta, acquired the company in 2001.

What is Dana White’s net worth?

As of 2023, Dana White’s net worth is estimated to be $520 million.

What is Dana White’s role in the UFC?

As the president of the UFC, White is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the organization. He also plays a significant role in fighter development and the negotiation of television and sponsorship deals.

What is Dana White’s vision for the future of the UFC?

White has expressed interest in expanding the UFC’s reach globally and continuing to grow the sport of MMA.