Dana White is an American businessman, more famously known as the President of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Within the span of 15 years, this small-town boy from Connecticut transformed the fledgling sport into a multi-billion dollar business, made UFC a national phenomenon, and a killing for himself in the process.
Dana White Net Worth as of 2019: $500 million
Dana White was born in Manchester, Connecticut on July 28, 1969. He and his sister Kelly were both raised by their mother, June White. White began boxing by the time he was 17. He graduated from Hermon High School in Maine in 1987. Among his high school pals was the future UFC owner, Lorenzo Fertitta. Though the duo probably had no idea know their childhood friendship would play out into in the billions later in life. Much of White’s youth was spent circling back and forth between Maine and Las Vegas. To make a living during this time he became an aerobics instructor, teaching grannies in Lycra pants to do leg raises.
1992 – 2000
In 1992 he established Dana White Enterprises in Las Vegas, when he was 23 years old. During this time he also began managing fighters Chuck Lidell and Tito Ortiz. Yes that Tito Otiz – UFC Light Heavyweight Champion and UFC Hall of Famer. With his foot in the door as a manager in UFC, White spotted a golden opportunity. He discovered that Semaphore Entertainment Group, the parent company of the UFC was looking to sell the UFC.
2001 – 2014
With little money in his pocket, White reached out to his high school pal Lorenzo Fertitta, who had made a name for himself as an executive at hotel and casino company Station Casinos. Fertitta saw the potential in the UFC, and invited his older brother Frank to get in the action. In 2001, Lorenzo, his brother Frank Fertitta, and Dana White, paid $2 million for 81% of the nearly bankrupt company. During the 15 years they controlled the UFC, it became one of the fastest growing sports in the U.S., broadcast to more than 1 billion homes in 30 languages across 149 countries.
Being the President of the UFC is not all fun and games. Dana White got into multiple public feuds with fighters, the most notable of which was with his long-time champion Tito Ortiz. Ortiz called White a “Slave master,” and White struck back stating Ortiz was a “Fucking buffoon” and “One of the dumbest motherfuckers you’ll ever meet.” In 2014, Ortiz accused the UFC of “Erasing my legacy,” after his record of 15 wins was revised and Jon Jones replaced him as the record holder for most wins in the light heavyweight weight class.
2016 – 2017
Dana White owned 9% of the UFC. A mere 9% may not seem like much. But it’s 9% of an enormous pie. In July 2016, the UFC was sold to talent agency WME-IMG for $4 billion. That’s $360 million before taxes for White. During White’s reign of the UFC, the guy made an annual salary of $20 million. After the change of ownership, and the bonanza he’d just pocketed from the billion-dollar deal, is he (albeit happily) out of a job?
Nope. Far from it. Even though White could be sipping mojitos on his private yacht to Hawaii, he’s not going anywhere away from the cage. White’s new deal is structured so he now holds a 9% stake in the UFC’s profits over the next five years. Why? Because Ari Emanuel, Co-CEO of WME-IMG is a very smart man.
Campbell McLaren, UFC co-founder who made the difficult decision of selling his baby for $2 million in 2001 explained:
“Number one: Who’s the real star of the UFC? Is it Ronda, is it Conor, or is it Dana? You know, I would have to say that it’s Dana. No one sits on the fence with him — you either love him, or you don’t. He’s been the face, the heart and soul, of the UFC. He understands fighters and he understands fans — and fans so associate Dana with the UFC, I can’t imagine him not being with it in the future.”
If Ari Emanuel paid $4 billion, it means he thinks the company is worth 8 billion. The future of UFC is looking brighter than ever. China is a big market. The UFC has done well in the UK, Canada and Australia, but non-English speaking countries such as France and Germany are huge territories with room to grow. Asia is practically untouched. “So Europe and Asia are wide open for the UFC,” said McLaren.
Looks like Dana White has his work cut out for him and more cash will be rolling in, especially if the highly anticipated boxing match between Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather goes down.
After having a fairly stale UFC year in terms of revenue, Dana White is looking to unleash all-in to make 2018 a monumental success for the organization.
After the title strip of Colby Covington, Dana White is being heavily trolled by him on Twitter with his pictured photoshopped representing “Bird Box” theme.