UFC president Dana White has been acclaimed and criticized alike for his brash, aggressive style of doing business.
His fans would have you believe that he’s the man who saved MMA from its “dark ages,” bringing the sport to the lofty position it enjoys now. His detractors would tell you that White is a selfish, greedy dictator who is constantly going back on promises and only cares about the bottom line.
And as usual, the truth is probably somewhere in between.
Despite being labeled as a sort of egomaniac, White recently met up with Brazilian media outlet Sexto Round to discuss how he hates when ego plays a part in the UFC:
“I just don’t think there’s anything to have an ego about. I mean, were all in this together – me, you, the fighters, everybody – we’re trying to build this sport. And this is what I love. I love coming out and hanging out with fans, or the media, or people who love this sport as much as I do.”
“I don’t think there should be ego involved in anything. I can’t stand guys with egos and guys who act like they’re too f—ing cool for school. I don’t like people like that. So I hope I don’t ever come off that way and I don’t ever want to be that guys.”
“I don’t like when people don’t spend time with the fans. I don’t like when people don’t respond to the fans… When we’re at events, I like the fighters to walk around, talk to all the fans, take some pictures. This is what it is all about.”
White may have a point when he says that fighters should lighten up a little bit and spend some time with fans. After all, if not for the fans then there would be no UFC to fight in.
White also has to be given credit for making himself available to the fans and striving to put forth an excellent product. He may be in it for the money as well, but you can tell he genuinely loves the sport after getting his start in boxing.
There are also instances when White’s supposedly massive ego has gotten in the way of business. Examples include UFC 151, where he was quick to blast Jon Jones for not fighting Chael Sonnen on short notice, calling his trainer Greg Jackson a “sport ruiner,” and the aftermath of UFC 167, where a livid White demanded that Georges St. Pierre grant Johny Hendricks a rematch because he owed it to him.
White has obviously made nice with “Bones” in the time since, and he’s stepped back to allow GSP his time away from the sport. However, are his statements here a bit of the pot calling the kettle black?
There’s no doubt White has made MMA what it is today. His contributions to the sport are limitless and he continues to help it grow. Should he practice what he preaches, or do the rules not apply to him?