Dana White: Mental Manchild or Business Genius?

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There’s no question Dana White, at the helm of the UFC, has been instrumental in bringing MMA to the masses as main-stream sport.  But his relentless diatribes against those he sees as negative influences on the sport, although commendable, raise serious questions about his state of mind and maturity level.  He often rambles on with rhetorical questions and F-bomb laden insults aimed at various figures in and outside of the sport, often without any prompting.  Is this good for the sport or a drag on the progress he himself has helped forge?  Is he a smart businessman or someone in need of some serious maturity growth (or as white would probably say, “grow the f*ck up!”)?  The answer to both is probably “yes.”

White is the president of the UFC and was instrumental in bringing the purchase of the company to the Fertitta brothers (White and Lorenzo Fertitta were childhood friends) back in 2001.  From that point forward, White has been relentless in bringing the UFC, and MMA in tow, to the level of popularity it enjoys today.  No one will dispute White’s positive influence in this regard.

However, within the last several years, White has unleashed several unprofessional rants that seem to distract from his positive role as MMA spokesperson.  This article is without bandwidth to relay them all, however, some excerpts bear a probative look at the rather nasty, child-like side to White.  Recently, this week, White has called fans “stupid” for favoring Alistair Overeem in the top 10.  He attacked an entire training camp, despite spectacular wins of late, for training fighters to avoid “the fight” and falsely thinking they are winning, stating “there’s 100% consistency with that with the Greg Jackson camp.”    He consistently throws insults at Strikeforce, a weaker, smaller version of the UFC.  F-bombs are a consistent adjective/adverb used during interviews, often resulting in annoying “bleeps” when viewed by fans or would-be fans.

From these tirades, White sounds like a young fan, a regular teenage-something joe, heck a good friend of mine 20 years ago. However, he’s now an adult and the president of the biggest MMA organization in the world.  It would probably behoove him to behave himself in public, at least from a business standpoint.  People should be able to speak their minds, heck it’s a constitutional right in this country, but acting like a child in the business world is bad business.  Picking on a weaker version of the UFC only brings about more attention to his competition (which may be a good thing in the end) and distracts from his own organization and fighters (a bad thing in the end). His relentless attack on those within the sport makes him look like a rude, angry bully hell bent on getting the “last f’ing word.”  His attack on media figures, like Hunt
from Sherdog in April of last year, only serves to elevate such ditracters and makes White look small, and the UFC in tow.

In the end, there is no debate about White’s business prowess and the advances he’s forged within the MMA community.  However, his childish behavior has resulted in several steps backward during the advances and is a sure sign of a maturity issue in White.

“A mature person is one who does not think only in absolutes, who is able to be objective even when deeply stirred emotionally, who has learned that there is both good and bad in all people and all things, and who walks humbly and deals charitably.”  -Eleanor Roosevelt.