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Dana White is an American business executive currently serving as president of the largest mixed martial arts organization (MMA) organization in the United Fighting Championship (UFC). The UFC has become a famous enterprise worth millions of dollars worldwide due to his leadership.
Early life and Education
Dana White was born Dana Frederick White Jr. on July 28th, 1969, in Manchester, Connecticut, United States of America, to Dana and June White. He is an Irish American who was raised with his sister by their mother and family members for the most part of their childhood.
He attended Hermon High School, Maine, and graduated in 1987. He went into boxing when he was 17 years old. He began college at Quincy College and dropped out during his first semester. He later went to UMass Boston but dropped out during the first semester. Soon after, he went on to become a boxing and exercise coach.
Most of White’s early life was spent in Ware, Massachusetts. He claims that he left Boston when he was threatened by mobsters, leading him to move to Las Vegas. While in Las Vegas, he continued running his business of boxercise coaching. Later, while under John Lewis, he started a training ground game with the Fertitta brothers, Frank and Lorenzo. During his time under Lewis, he met and became manager to both Tito Ortiz and Chuck Liddell.
Ultimate Fighting Championship
Dana met with the owner of Semaphore Entertainment Group, the parent company of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), Bob Meyrowitz, when he was still managing both Ortiz and Liddell. After learning that Meyrowitz was trying to sell off the UFC, he reached out to his friend from childhood, Lorenzo Fertitta to see if he had an interest in acquiring the company. At the time, Lorenzo Fertitta was a co-founder and executive of Station Casinos and former commissioner of the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
The company was then acquired by Lorenzo and his brother Frank Fertitta for $2 million in January 2001. The company later became a subsidiary company for Zuffa, and Dana White was made president.
According to White, all he and the Fertitta brothers received after acquiring the UFC was the brand name of the company and an old octagon. The assets of the company had already been stripped by the previous owners in a bid to avoid being bankrupt, and even the website, UFC.com, had already been sold off to a company called ‘User-Friendly Computers.’
As time went on, the UFC became a very successful business with White holding the reins as president, and in 2015, the company’s gross revenue was 600 million dollars. A consortium of investors led by WME-IMG acquired Zuffa in July 2016 at 4.025 billion dollars. At the time, White owned 9 percent of the company. He announced that he wanted to remain president, and he was given a stake in the new business.
In May 2017, an announcement was made by the UFC that Dana White would host Dana White’s Contender Series, which would be exclusively available through UFC Fight Pass, the digital streaming service of the promotion, which had a completely different license from that of the UFC brand. It was a show that allowed upcoming fighters to display their abilities in the hopes that one day, they might get the chance to contest in the UFC.
Dana announced that he had signed a new 7-year contract to continue as president of the UFC in March 2019, as the UFC signed a contract with ESPN.
White got into the boxing scene as co-promoter of Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor when McGregor signed a contract with UFC. In October 2017, White said that he was “getting into boxing, 100 percent” at Freddie Roach’s Wild Card West Boxing Club. He added that he wanted to include boxing into the UFC company portfolio.
Dana White met Anne, née Stella, his wife when they were eighth-graders, and they married in 1996. They have three children, two boys – Dana III and Aidan, and one daughter named Savannah. White is very particular about privacy, thus keeping his wife out of the spotlight. In 2006, he acquired a mansion at the price of 1.95 million dollars in Pine Island Court, Las Vegas, from Frank Fertitta III.
White purchased three more mansions in that area between October 2016 and June 2017, and the price for all of them combined is 6.2 million dollars. Licenses for demolition were issued for these houses, and it is assumed that the reason behind the issuing of the licenses is for a mega-mansion to be built for White and his family.
Dana White was born and raised as a Catholic. However, he now thinks of himself as an atheist.
In 2011, June, White’s mother, published a book titled Dana White, King of MMA: An Unauthorized Biography. She claimed, in that book, that after White became successful, he had since “turned his back on his family and friends who were there for him when he needed help and support.”
White bought over 60,000 dollars’ worth of Katana swords, including a Rick Harrison’s 17th century Japanese Katana, in a season 15 episode of History Channel’s Pawn Stars, which started airing on February 5, 2018.
On several occasions, Dana White has been confirmed to be fond of Rage Against the Machine, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and the Beastie Boys. He even has a guitar hand-signed by all three members of the Beastie Boys in his office, and on his desk is a copy of the Beastie Boys’ Book.
Dana White gave a speech at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, in 2016, where he endorsed Donald Trump, who was the then-Republican nominee. According to White, Donald Trump was very helpful to the UFC during its early stages under Zuffa when Trump allowed UFC to host its event at the Trump Taj Mahal when all other venues refused.
White also backed Trump during the 2020 election and gave a speech at one of the re-election rallies in Colorado. He even donated 1 million dollars to the super political action committee that supported the re-election of Donald Trump, known as American First Action.
White joined up with other leaders in industry in the U.S. to help rebuild the economy of the United States after the break out of the coronavirus pandemic.
Dana White was caught up in a sex-tape scandal. An exotic dancer allegedly recorded White having sexual relations with her in Brazil sometime in 2014 without his knowledge. According to the stripper, she and White had been seeing each other for months even though he was married.
The live-in boyfriend of the exotic dancer attempted to extort some money out of White, and the result was a filing of a lawsuit against the boyfriend. On April 3, 2020, a civil lawsuit was filed against Dana White in Nevada claiming that White had offered the boyfriend money, persuading him to plead guilty. However, White denied the allegation.
The complaint stated that White gave the stripper 10,000 dollars to dance and have sex with him. The lawsuit was later dismissed on October 7, 2020.
White announced, in May 2012, that he was diagnosed with a neurological disease called Ménière’s disease. According to him, the disease arose due to a huge fight in which he was involved when he was younger.
His illness made him miss the UFC on Fuel TV 3: Korean Zombie vs. Poirier event. He had never missed an event for 11 years, but due to medical advice, he had to stay home.
His ailment, Ménière’s disease, is currently being treated through Orthokine treatment, and White says that his condition has since been improving.
Dana White’s Net Worth
White earns quite a lot yearly. He is estimated to earn 20 million dollars, including the earnings from being a shareholder in the UFC. As of 2022, Dana White’s net worth is around 500 million dollars. Most of his income comes from sponsors, television deals, and pay-per-views.
Dana White’s sharp sense of business, combined with his intense passion for mixed martial arts (MMA), led him to grow the UFC into an industry worth billions of dollars even though it was nearly bankrupt at first. Today, the fame of the UFC has spread across various nations in the world, and his net worth is proof of how much dedication and commitment he gives to his company.