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Meet Dana White: The man behind the success of UFC

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Dana White
Meet Dana White: The man behind the success of UFC. Photo/ CBS Sports.
  • Dana White is a name synonymous with the UFC, and that makes many people think that he owns the promotion. 
  • Dana White has been the president of UFC since 2001, when Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta purchased it from Bob Meyrowtiz. 
  • White has played a massive role in the success UFC has received in recent years. 

Dana White is one of the names that often pops up when the ownership of the UFC is under discussion. But does he own the MMA organization? 

To begin with, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is currently the largest MMA organization in the world. The UFC has the best mixed martial arts fighters and boasts a large number of fans from all parts of the world. 

The promotion company has developed over the last twenty years to become a global multi-billion dollar enterprise. And Dana White has been there during the entire process. In fact, he was there when the UFC was still a struggling promotion. 

Does Dana White own the UFC? Well, the answer to this question is no. The American international is the current president of the UFC. He is also a shareholder but not technically the owner of the biggest MMA promotion.

Dan White

Dana White. Photo/ Tuko.

Before we get into Dana White’s involvement with the UFC, let’s first discuss his childhood, education and life after school. 

Dana White’s Biography 

Dana White was born in Manchester, Connecticut, on July 28, 1969. White, who is the son of Dana White Sr and June, is an Irish American. 

Young Dana White, his sister and his mother moved to Las Vegas when he was in grade three. He attended Bishop Gorman High School, where he made friends with Lorenzo Fertitta

White didn’t like school and even got kicked out of Bishop Gorman High School twice before graduating in 1987. He went to Quincy College and dropped out in the first semester before moving to UMass Boston, where he also dropped out. 

The future UFC president worked as a bouncer at an Irish bar and also trained hard to become a boxer. 

He made friends with Peter Welch, a former Golden Gloves champion, and together they established a boxing gym in Boston. 

White’s dream of becoming a boxer came to a halt when he met a punch-drunk boxer and feared he might also be like him. White then began working as a boxercise coach. 

He left Boston for Las Vegas after being threatened for money by White Bulger and Kevin Weeks. Dana began training jiu-jitsu under Lewis and his high school friend Lorenzo Fertitta. 

The American international met Tito Ortiz and Chuck Lidell at Lewis’ practice and became their manager.

Dana White At UFC 

While working with Ortiz and Lidell, Dana met several key stakeholders in the martial arts industry. 

One of the people he met was Bob Meyrowtiz, the founder of Semaphore Entertainment Group, UFC’s parent company. 

After a while, he found out that Bob wanted to get rid of UFC, so he contacted Lorenzo Fertitta to purchase it. Lorenzo and his brother, Frank Fertitta III, purchased the promotion in 2001 for $2 million. 

At the time the Fertitta brothers purchased the UFC, it was on the verge of collapsing. Bob had sold everything due to bankruptcy and only left the octagon ring. 

The brothers installed Dana White as the president of the UFC after purchasing it. 

The Rise Of UFC 

Dana White began developing the UFC immediately after he was appointed the president. He introduced a set of standardized rules and managed to get it on TV via a reality TV show known as The Ultimate Fighter. 

Dana White turned the fortunes of UFC around by focusing on cable pay-per-view, DVD sales and advertising. UFC 40 became the promotion’s turning point as it was the beginning of the promotion’s massive income. 

Over the years, the UFC crushed all the competition that attempted to go head-to-head with it and attracted top MMA fighters. 

UFC had gross revenue of $600 million by 2015. WME-IMG investors purchased the UFC from the two brothers in July 2016 for $4.025 billion. 

At the time of the sale, Dana White owned 9 per cent of the promotion, and that earned him $360 million. 

The new owners requested Dana White to continue with his role as the president, and in 2019, he signed a contract to remain as UFC’s president until 2026.

Dana White

Dana White is the man behind the success of UFC. Photo/ CBS Sports.

Abraham Odhiambo is an avid sports fan who loves to write about football, boxing and wrestling. He's a big supporter of Manchester United. He's pursuing a bachelor's degree in Communication and Media at Egerton University.

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