Does Dana White Deserve the Criticism He Gets?

Dana White Power Slap League pay

As the president of the UFC, Dana White is probably one of the most influential and well-known people in the sport of mixed martial arts. He’s been running the UFC since he was appointed as president all the way back in 2001 and is also known for his skills at blackjack casino games. Since then, the UFC has achieved global success and become the most profitable fighting promotion in the world, and Dana has also reaped the benefits.

In recent years, Dana has drawn a lot of criticism from fans and journalists, many of whom see his comments toward some fighting as insulting and his unwillingness to improve fighter pay as holding back the sport. However, Dana has also grown the UFC from a failing business to its valuation of more than $4 billion.

How Did Dana White Become President?

Dana White originally had aspirations to become a boxer, training from the age of 17. However, he decided against going pro when he saw the effects of repeated concussions, instead choosing to open boxercise gyms. At one point, he moved to Las Vegas, the home of live blackjack casino games. It was here that he became close friends with Lorenzo Fertitta, who he had briefly known from his school days.

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While living in Vegas, White trained with Fertitta as well as the likes of Tito Ortiz and Chuck Liddell. He eventually became the manager of Ortiz and Liddell, through whom he learned that the UFC was up for sale. He spoke to Lorenzo Fertitta, who owned Station Casinos and had previously been commissioner for the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Lorenzo decided to buy the UFC for $2 million and made Dana president.   

Arguments Against Dana

Since Dana White was made president of the UFC, the company has gone from strength to strength. Despite that, some feel that Dana isn’t the right man for the job. One of the most common accusations against him is that he got the job simply by knowing the right person.

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White’s friendship with Lorenzo Fertitta is perhaps the main reason why he became president, and his previous job history suggests that he didn’t have the qualifications to be running a major fighting promotion. However, it’s clear that he’s learned a lot about promotion and the fight game as the years have gone on, and turning the UFC into a multi-billion dollar organization was no small feat.

Another criticism against Dana is his history of insulting fighters. The UFC has positioned itself as the biggest brand in the fight game, and the company seems to be intent on removing star power from the fighters themselves. This comes at the expense of the fighters, and Dana’s insults can leave a bad taste in the mouth of fans. However, these aren’t normally that bad, and he’s often quoted out of context.

Finally, the biggest and most important issue is the topic of fighter pay. The UFC is growing into a major sports league, and yet it only pays its fighters around 13% of the total revenue it makes. This is incredibly low compared to leagues such as the NBA, which pays at least 50% of its revenue to the athletes. There can’t really be any excuses for this, and if the UFC wants to attract the best talent and become a major sports league, it needs to pay better rates to fighters.

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Could the UFC Thrive Under a New President?

Dana White has been in charge of the UFC for so long that it’s very difficult to imagine the organization without him. His departure would likely change the way people think about the UFC, but whether that would be for better or for worse remains to be seen.

It’s possible that the UFC could improve under a new president, especially now White has done most of the hard work. The company is now worth billions of dollars, and whatever happens, it’s hard to see it going away anytime soon. Perhaps Dana will step down in the future and focus on other business ventures or his love of blackjack casino games.