Dana White won. There are no ifs, ands, or buts, about it. White, along with the Fertitta brothers, took MMA to new heights that many thought they would never reach. It wasn’t bad enough that MMA was almost banned entirely in the United States (still is in many countries), but the sport had to compete with baseball, hockey, football, and basketball when White and the Fertitta’s bought the UFC in 2001.
Their goal was to make it one of the biggest sporting events in the new century and they've succeeded. They shattered the glass ceiling, passed the limit of the sky, and ended up in space, that’s how successful they've become. The UFC went from only a few events a year to practically an event every week. They have prime time television shows, events all around the world, and have signed some lucrative deals with various top-notch sponsors.
This list is about what Dana doesn’t want you to know, but to be fair to Dana, we have to give him some major props for the growth of the company. You may or may not like him, but he's done some good in the world, such as paying for a little girl’s liver surgery, a person who he never met. He also is more transparent than many of the top executives in other sports.
Still, there are a lot of things Dana White doesn’t want you to know about his personality and the way he runs his business. Enjoy the list!
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15 Ignoring Ben Askren
If you just started watching MMA, you may not know about "Funky" Ben Askren. He's a 2008 Olympian and arguably the greatest fighter to ever come out of Bellator. Match after match, Askren has shown he is a dominant force inside a cage. He gets compared to George St-Pierre because of his ground and pound wrestling style.
He’s currently 15-0 and in an organization, ONE Championship, that allows soccer kicks and knees to the face of a grounded opponent. The question is, why hasn’t the UFC signed Askren? The company says they have the best of the best competing in their octagon, but where is Ben? We can only speculate, but maybe it’s because White doesn’t want to see a fighter who grew up in Bellator have success in the UFC. Don’t take our word for it, but recently UFC commentator Joe Rogan said Askren not in the UFC is a disgrace.
14 Hyping A Fight With Tito Ortiz
Dana White has said a lot of things that turn out to be untrue. He said he wouldn't have freak fights in the UFC, but still signed James Toney and Phil “CM Punk” Brooks. Dana even made the announcement some years back that the late Kimbo Slice would never step in an Octagon, yet he did. He has also said on two occasions he would make it up to the fans because of terrible performances on a card, however, nothing really came from it.
White can lie his butt off, especially if it’s going to make him money. Dana, a former amateur boxer, wanted to fight legendary MMA fighter Tito Ortiz in an exhibition match. The UFC even made a television special, hyping the fight. The show got high ratings but Tito never showed up for the weigh-in and the fight never happened. Many believe it was another stunt to get ratings at the expense of the fans.
13 No Respect For A Fighter Who Paid His Dues
Jon Fitch may have never won a championship in the UFC but if anyone watched UFC at the time he was competing, you know he always brought his best. He may not have been the flashiest striker or a polarizing character during press conferences, but he was great at winning in the MMA. His record stood at 24-5-1 before the UFC decided to cut Fitch in 2013. Usually, fighters who get released either have terrible performances or have done something illegal.
Apparently, Fitch got cut because he didn’t want to give UFC lifetime rights to his name and likeness for video games and other opportunities of that sort. Instead of finding middle ground with one of the best Welterweights in the division and a fan favorite, White and company decided to take the low road and fire him.
12 Blatant Favoritism For Certain Fighters
One of the biggest knocks White gets is his obvious bias towards certain fighters. We understand that as an employer you’re going to favor your money making cows over others, but in the sports world, is it okay for the President to be favoring one fighter over another because of money or should they receive equal disciplinary action or opportunities?
It’s not a secret that Dana loves the sensational Conor McGregor and we believe many fans hate him for it. For a clear example of favortism, look at the infamous sexual assault jokes made by Forrest Griffin and Miguel Torres on Twitter. Both made separate jokes on Twitter about the topic of rape. Griffin didn’t receive any disciplinary actions while Torres was fired from the company. Favoritism plays a huge role in who gets the big fights in the UFC and you'd have to be blind not to think so.
11 Biggest Stars Have Violated The Rules
Just like the other big four sports in the United States, the UFC spends a lot of money on their public image. They love to promote their fighters being involved in anti-bullying campaigns, charities, and social awareness programs. UFC has a lot of great guys but they also have a lot of bad guys that have worked for them as well. Some of the biggest stars in the UFC have also violated the rules and have been suspended for it.
Just look at the greatest fighter of our generation and era, Jon “Bones” Jones. This guy is the Muhammad Ali of MMA (talent-wise), yet he’s constantly been in trouble and suspended for his actions. His suspensions have set back his legendary career numerous times, which hurts his fans and the business. White would rather you not remember that some of the greatest fighters of all-time in the company have also had major personal issues.
10 Being One-Upped By A 14-Year-Old
Most of us know that Dana White doesn’t hold back his thoughts and isn’t politically correct at all. This list has already given you a few examples of just how outlandish and immature he can be. When it comes to Twitter, White can make some bombshell statements that can set a fire storm throughout the MMA community.
He’s a savvy businessman that knows how to use Twitter, but he can make most people look like fools. Yet, a 14-year-old kid got the best of an exchange with one of the most influential figures in sports. The kid replied to a tweet Dana made in regards to humiliating a fan, asking why he’s a scumbag to the fans. White replied back telling the kid to go to sleep and do his homework. The kid’s response is epic.
9 The Bashing of Loretta Hunt
Dana White doesn’t like journalism, especially if it's criticizing the UFC. While Loretta Hunt was working for Sherdog, she wrote an article about managers and agents having backstage access restricted. White ripped Hunt on a YouTube video while also accidentally offending the LGBT community. There are a lot of layers to the story, such as the rocky relationship between the founder of Sherdog, Jeff Sherwood, and White.
Even though White is the face of the UFC, he immaturely assassinates the character of Hunt in his rant. Regardless if he was right or wrong, it doesn’t look professional when all you’re doing is cursing and complaining. Hunt would be barred from certain UFC events and White only regrets using an offensive slur in the video. White doesn’t like journalism and if you don’t believe us, this next person on the list may change your mind.
8 The Ariel Helwani Blow Out
Most sensible people agree that investigative journalism is a watchdog of any evil doings against innocent people. We need great journalism and we’re not talking about the biased spins you see on television either, but journalism that informs the public truthfully. We’re not comparing Ariel Helwani to Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, but he is arguably the best MMA journalist ever.
He got into hot water with the UFC when he reported that Brock Lesnar would be fighting at UFC 200 before Dana White made an official press announcement. Allegedly the UFC asked Helwani not to report it, but he did so anyway and in return he received a lifetime ban from any UFC events, though it's since been lifted. It’s pretty messed up that the UFC would ban journalists from their events.
7 Not Respecting A Legend
Before the Fertitta brothers and White took over the company in 2001, Randy Couture was already a hot commodity in the sport. He made his debut at UFC 13 in 1997 and became an icon in the sport by winning multiple championships in different divisions. He retired in 2006 and became the fourth inductee into the UFC Hall of Fame, however, within a year he decided to return to the octagon and would win the Heavyweight Championship against Tim Sylvia at UFC 68 as an underdog.
The relationship between Couture and White would begin to crumble when the champ decided to cut ties with the UFC with two contracted fights left to go. His reasons for leaving were because the UFC did not pursue the number one heavyweight at the time, Fedor Emelianenko, and UFC management decisions. He would come back to the UFC and finish his career in the Octagon, but the damage was done. It got so bad, UFC wouldn’t let Couture be at his son’s side when he debuted in the UFC in 2013 and even White was quoted saying, “I don’t respect him at all.”
6 The UFC and Women Don't Mix
Once upon a time, when the UFC had competition with the defunct MMA company Strikeforce, White said women would never fight in a UFC Octagon. Maybe he was jealous of the success women had with his competition so that wanted to put down any thoughts of women in an Octagon. However, his mind changed when UFC bought out Strikeforce. Fast track to 2016 and the women of the UFC have become some of the biggest stars in the sport.
With UFC piggybacking on the success of Ronda Rousey, it’s a no brainer that White rather not let you know that he didn’t respect women’s MMA only a few years ago. With Rousey losing her first match and potentially retiring in the near future, who knows what direction the UFC will take in regards to women.
5 Compared a Hack to 9/11
September 11th, 2001, will always be a day to remember, not just for the citizens of the United States but for everyone around the globe. That tragic day helped fuel unnecessary plenty of hatred worldwide. It’s a solemn reminder of how unbalanced, hurtful, and dangerous this world can be. With that said, you should never compare what happened on that day to anything frivolous.
When the UFC website got hacked in early 2012, White did an interview with Mauro Ranallo and tried to use 9/11 as an analogy for what the group Anonymous did to his company. He compared the hackers to 9/11 terrorists and wanted people to rally behind him like citizens rallied behind the American flag after 9/11. Hackers didn’t murder anyone Dana, shame on you.
4 Mutiny After Reebok Deal
The famous sponsorship deal between UFC and Reebok is one of the most important contracts the company has ever signed and it’s also the best thing for UFC. After years of letting fighters wear their own sponsorship(s) on their gear, UFC decided only Reebok could be seen on a fighters trunk's as of 2015. The contract is supposed to pay fighters a percentage of sales from their merchandise sales.
The deal has caused a huge divide within the locker rooms among fighters and others involved in the sport. A plethora of fighters have questioned the deal, especially when it comes to helping fighters earn more for their contributions. UFC’s Strawweight competitor Rose Namajunas questioned how she can make money off the sales of her merchandise when she isn’t even listed on Reebok’s website. Both Josh Koscheck and Phil Davis left the company because of the deal and legend Vitor Belfort compared the agreement to slavery. UFC even fired the next person on the list because of his comments about the deal.
3 The Treatment of "Stitch"
Jacob “Stitch” Duran is one of the most popular and well known personalities in MMA that hasn't fought. He’s been involved in numerous high profile matches in combat sports as a cut man, however, his legendary status didn’t protect him from being fired by the UFC after a long relationship in 2015.
As we said earlier, the Reebok deal caused a divide among many in the UFC locker room and that wasn't limited to just fighters. Duran voiced his concerns, explaining that fight-night officials weren’t even included in the contract, even though they also make money from having their own sponsors.
In an interview, Duran said, “we should be compensated” and many fans agreed. Duran acknowledges he took a bullet for the team when he spoke up about the financial losses his colleagues would receive. Even though there is enough media content of White and Duran being very friendly, White said in an interview, “Stitch Duran was never my friend.” Stay classy Dana.
2 UFC 167 Post Press Conference
George St-Pierre was arguably the best fighter in the UFC before his retirement in 2013. He’s the most dominant Welterweight Champion ever and has won numerous awards for his performances. He debuted in the UFC in 2004 and helped grow the company into what it has become today. His blood, sweat, and tears have paved the way for many athletes.
That’s why it was shocking when Dana White blasted GSP after his last match, a successful title defense against Johny Hendricks at UFC 167. White seemed outraged that GSP would announce his retirement during the post press conference, asking the audience if they thought Hendricks won the fight. White also told GSP that he “owes” the fans and Hendricks a rematch. GSP put his life on the line for the UFC for nine years, he doesn't owe anyone a thing.
1 His Own Mother Doesn't Like Him
In a bombshell interview in 2011, White’s mother, June, spoke about her concerns in regards to her son’s personality since he became a millionaire. She bashed her son’s character, especially in regards to the treatment of his grandmother before she died. Allegedly, Dana promised his ailing grandmother that he would fly her out to Las Vegas and give her the best treatment possible.
His grandmother even told the neighborhood he was coming to get her, however, Dana never came and it was the final straw his mother could take. In her book, Dana White, King of MMA, June states, “Dana can lose a million dollars gambling in a few hours and just shrug it off, but he can’t help out his 93-year-old grandmother?” She even said the most money she received from her son was a check worth $5,000.
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