Dana White is best known as the president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
Dana White got rich primarily through the UFC. He was appointed president of the UFC in 2001 and received a 9% stake in Zuffa LLC. In July 2016, the UFC was sold by Zuffa LLC for $4.0 billion. Dana White’s net worth is now estimated at $500 million.
To learn more about Dana White’s beginnings and career before the UFC, as well as his contribution to the UFC, keep reading.
Dana White Before UFC
Dana White was born in 1969 in Manchester, Connecticut. He had a humble upbringing, and started his boxing career at the age of 17.
His boxing skills and knowledge became useful at his first job when he was a bellboy at a Boston hotel. White and the other bellboys would often fight over how the tips should be split, and would settle the disagreement with a fight.
At the age of 19, White realized this wasn’t what he was meant to do and moved on to pursue boxing. He started making money by training other guys, fighting with them, and managing them.
This part of Dana White’s life came to an end quite soon as he was approached by some of the Boston mob, which wasn’t unusual at the time, and was required to pay $2,500 for operating in their area. White was poor at the time and could not afford to pay the mob that amount of money, so he realized the smartest thing to do is to run all the way to Las Vegas.
Once he relocated to Las Vegas, White started managing two fighters that fought in the UFC. Following a disagreement regarding one of the fighters’ contracts, Dana White took an interest in the UFC and discovered that they are in financial trouble and on the verge of bankruptcy.
White took that information to his friends, the Fertitta brothers, who purchased the UFC for $2 million and appointed Dana White as the president. The Fertitta brothers also gave White a 9% stake in the Zuffa LLC that bought and managed the UFC.
The UFC Under Dana White
The UFC was facing bankruptcy before Dana White was appointed as president. White absolutely transformed the company into a multi-billion dollar business, and became himself a multi-millionaire in the process.
Back in 2001, White increased advertising efforts, as well as including corporate sponsorships. The UFC also greatly benefited from pay-per-view and DVD releases, but their popularity rose once they got involved in reality TV series.
While the future was still quite uncertain for the UFC at the beginning, it is believed that the success started after the UFC 40 event in 2002 starring the fight between Tito Ortiz and Ken Shamrock. This is regarded as a pivotal moment in the UFC’s history as it was the first time they actually made money from an event.
Under White’s leadership, the UFC became the largest MMA promotion company in the world. It showcases twelve eight divisions, four of which are women’s.
UFC fights are shown in 175 countries and there are over 100 UFC training facilities all over the world. Although the UFC was sold to WME-IMG in 2016 for $4 billion, Dana White still remained president of the company and was given a stake at the new company.
In 2018, White even managed to secure a partnership with ESPN for exclusive rights to the UFC, including pay-per-view. This was a very lucrative deal for the UFC as it will allow fans easier access to content and in terms of pricing and value they will be getting.
In 2019, Dana White revealed that he renewed his contract with the UFC and will remain president for the next seven years.
To see Dana White’s exclusive interview on the partnership with ESPN and other UFC news, click on the link below: