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8/2/10 12:39 PM
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Underground News
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The Underground News, Editor
 

Dana White’s billion-dollar baby
How a Southie tough made mixed martial arts the sport of the decade, and the UFC a moneymaking empire.

So I’m out in Vegas with Dana White, and we’re driving to his house to eat dinner and he starts checking his messages.

He listens to one, kind of shakes his head and laughs, then he gives me that look like he’s glad I’m there because he couldn’t make this stuff up. It’s Snoop Dogg. White hits the speakerphone.

“Dana White . . .” it starts. “I’m trying to go to the Rampage Jackson-Evans fight. My people reached out to your people and they said it was sold out. From you to me, me to you. . . . Come on, man, let’s make it official. It’s Snoop!”

“Are you buddies with Snoop?” I ask. He looks up from his phone and smiles. “I guess we are now.”

--

“Mike, how are you?”

Mike Tyson wants tickets, too.

“Anything for you, brother,” he tells Tyson, one of his childhood idols. “You know that.”

--

One day in the summer of 1995, while he was in the middle of teaching a class at the Boston Athletic Club in Southie, two men walked in and told him he had to go outside with them. They were, White says, from the Irish mob.

“The details of what went down were a little cloudy, but the bottom line was: You owe us some money,” he says. “I don’t know why they were [expletive] with me, what the real reason was, but to come after me and bust my balls and try to shake me down was a little weird. They wanted a couple grand from me . . . and I said, ‘I don’t have it.’ They said, ‘Get it from your girlfriend.’ I said, ‘She doesn’t have it, either.’ They said, ‘Well, you better figure it out.’ ”

A couple weeks later, his phone rang. The caller told him he had till that Sunday to pay them, he says, “or we’ll kill you.”

He took his dog for a walk. He’ll never forget that feeling. He was looking over his shoulder, feeling scared and crazy and alone. He wasn’t going to pay them; that much was certain. He went back to his apartment, packed some clothes, left everything else, and got on a flight to Vegas.

“When you talk about stuff like destiny, and [expletive] that happens for a reason, if that isn’t proof, then what is?” he says. “What are the odds that a kid who’s riding a [expletive] mountain bike around Southie, teaching housewives and businessmen and kids how to box, is going to be shaken down to the point where he’s like, ‘[Expletive] this, I’m out of here,’ and leaves?

“And then,” he adds, pausing, “this [expletive] happens.”

--

He plays $25,000 in his first hand and wins. He looks at me and says his life is actually pretty simple: He does his job, he spends time with his kids, and he plays cards to relax. It’s just that the stakes are different now. Forty minutes later, Dana White has lost a half-million dollars like it’s nothing. Because it is. He’s won and lost a million plenty of times, he says.

“This is the only thing that relaxes me, bro.”

--

“I’m flattered that we make it look so easy that these guys think they can just go out and do it,” he says. “We’re the ones that built this industry. We’re the ones that started this [expletive]. It’s like me and you sitting in my house watching NASCAR, and say, ‘Look at all the people there. What we should do is go out and steal some of their drivers and start our own thing.’ ”

“If you come out and say you’re going to compete against me, we’re going to compete. We’re going to fight until somebody wins or somebody loses.”

“Guess what? Mark Cuban owns HDNet. He owns the [Dallas Mavericks]. Donald Trump owns casinos and everything else. CBS is a television network. You know what I do? I’m in the [expletive] fight business. That’s what I do. Every day, all day, 365 days a year, seven days a week, 24 [expletive] hours a day. That’s the business I’m in. You are never gonna [expletive] beat me. Never.”

Read entire article...


8/2/10 2:13 PM
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awilson82
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 Great article
8/2/10 2:14 PM
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thforklift
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 But he’s still a fighter at heart, with a look (shaved head, thick neck, top-heavy build) and tongue to match (the f-bomb is his favorite noun, verb, and exclamation).

BLAF!

8/2/10 2:58 PM
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JimmersonzGlove
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"With revamped rules designed to keep the fighters safer, White began to have success getting MMA sanctioned across the nation and in foreign countries. Time limits and rounds were introduced – UFC bouts are three rounds of five minutes each, with title fights five rounds – and such tactics as head-butting and eye-gouging were outlawed. "

ZUFFA MYTH NEVER DIE!!
8/2/10 3:07 PM
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liquidrob
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What was his boxing record in this interview?
8/2/10 3:09 PM
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Jesus Quintana
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liquidrob - What was his boxing record in this interview?


I heard he almost went pro!

plus he saved the UFC by coming up with the TUF concept.
8/2/10 4:13 PM
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Mike Sanders
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Dana "Fraud" White?
8/2/10 4:59 PM
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RickStorm
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I wonder if he ever paid those guys after all these years now that he has money....

8/2/10 5:10 PM
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Immaculata
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TTT for DFW.
8/2/10 5:18 PM
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notsobigmike
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I don't get the whole, "It's wrong for Dana to throw away money when undercarders are making 6/6 to fight."

It's his fucking money. He makes a salary and owns part of the company. He can light cigars with it if he wants.

How many people here manage companies and give away their Christmas bonuses to their employees?
8/2/10 5:20 PM
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thforklift
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 During an era where there is poverty all over and a high unemployment rate in the midst of a recession, it's still good to know there are some people who gamble away the kind of money that would feed a million sick kids "just to relax." 
8/2/10 5:23 PM
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Mike Sanders
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thforklift -  During an era where there is poverty all over and a high unemployment rate in the midst of a recession, it's still good to know there are some people who gamble away the kind of money that would feed a million sick kids "just to relax." 


Soon those sick kids will be making $4/$4 on the undercard of UFC BANGLADESH!!

(Main event: Chuck vs. Randy VI)
8/2/10 7:17 PM
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mongo54
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Jesus Quintana - 
liquidrob - What was his boxing record in this interview?


I heard he almost went pro!

plus he saved the UFC by coming up with the TUF concept.
John Lewis talked about the Tuff Concept a year or two before Dana ever mentioned it.  Down to training and living together and then fighting each other.
 
8/2/10 7:31 PM
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ajl416az
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lol @ the fucking snob humanitarians

what do you give away, bitches
8/2/10 7:34 PM
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frontrowbrian
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 Dana was dead set against a reality show about MMA. It was the Feritta's who pushed for the project and made it a reality by underwriting the project. Dana is an employee. He does what he is told. Dana is in no way responsible for TUF.

As recent as 2006, Pat Miletich said in a deposition Dana needed "permission" from the Fertitta's to begin his verbal attacks on the IFL.

Dana is not calling the shots. You really think the UFC would be where it is today with a bell hop who lies about his boxing background calling the shots?
8/2/10 7:36 PM
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SinCityHustler
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RyannVonDoom -  LOL @ Dana losing half a mil like it's nothing.. yet there are guys in his supposed "Big leagues" who have to scrape by fighting twice a year on 5/5. It's beyond words. 

 Not cool to laugh at those guys.  Sure they signed up for it, but it's called paying your dues.  In time they will either make it or find a new career.  Kudos to the 6 and 6 guys giving it their all to try and make a career out of fighting.  
8/2/10 9:16 PM
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DWray
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That was a very fun read.
8/14/10 12:13 AM
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SinCityHustler
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 I have to say, Dana continues to do a better and better job with the UFC and as a person in general.  
8/14/10 12:30 AM
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Jesus Quintana
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mongo54 - 
Jesus Quintana - 
liquidrob - What was his boxing record in this interview?


I heard he almost went pro!

plus he saved the UFC by coming up with the TUF concept.
John Lewis talked about the Tuff Concept a year or two before Dana ever mentioned it.  Down to training and living together and then fighting each other.
 


i was kidding.

Dana white is a fraud whose success is due to blind luck more than business acumen.

he also pays fighters like shit.
8/14/10 1:32 PM
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awilson82
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Jesus Quintana - 
mongo54 - 
Jesus Quintana - 
liquidrob - What was his boxing record in this interview?


I heard he almost went pro!

plus he saved the UFC by coming up with the TUF concept.
John Lewis talked about the Tuff Concept a year or two before Dana ever mentioned it.  Down to training and living together and then fighting each other.
 


i was kidding.

Dana white is a fraud whose success is due to blind luck more than business acumen.

he also pays fighters like shit.
Name one other org that would pay more
 
8/14/10 1:55 PM
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Jesus Quintana
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awilson82 - 
Jesus Quintana - 
mongo54 - 
Jesus Quintana - 
liquidrob - What was his boxing record in this interview?


I heard he almost went pro!

plus he saved the UFC by coming up with the TUF concept.
John Lewis talked about the Tuff Concept a year or two before Dana ever mentioned it.  Down to training and living together and then fighting each other.
 


i was kidding.

Dana white is a fraud whose success is due to blind luck more than business acumen.

<b>he also pays fighters like shit</b>.
Name one other org that would pay more
 


How about you name a professional sport that pays athletes a lower share of revenue instead.

How about you explain why random boxers most people have never heard of make significantly more money than big name MMAers.

How about you explain the finances of the UFC and why they can't afford to pay fighters more.

8/14/10 1:58 PM
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SinCityHustler
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awilson82 - 
Jesus Quintana - 
mongo54 - 
Jesus Quintana - 
liquidrob - What was his boxing record in this interview?


I heard he almost went pro!

plus he saved the UFC by coming up with the TUF concept.
John Lewis talked about the Tuff Concept a year or two before Dana ever mentioned it.  Down to training and living together and then fighting each other.
 


i was kidding.

Dana white is a fraud whose success is due to blind luck more than business acumen.

he also pays fighters like shit.
Name one other org that would pay more
 

Yeah I'm interested in hearing the list of Organizations that pay their fighters more.  I don't think he can name any..  
8/14/10 3:02 PM
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Jesus Quintana
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SinCityHustler - 
awilson82 - 
Jesus Quintana - 
mongo54 - 
Jesus Quintana - 
liquidrob - What was his boxing record in this interview?


I heard he almost went pro!

plus he saved the UFC by coming up with the TUF concept.
John Lewis talked about the Tuff Concept a year or two before Dana ever mentioned it.  Down to training and living together and then fighting each other.
 


i was kidding.

Dana white is a fraud whose success is due to blind luck more than business acumen.

<b>he also pays fighters like shit</b>.
Name one other org that would pay more
 

Yeah I'm interested in hearing the list of Organizations that pay their fighters more.  I don't think he can name any..  


uh, read my last post. Isn't the UFC the largest MMA organization?

do you think they can't afford to pay higher salaries?

do you think they are not exploiting fighters?

do you have a problem with the fact that random no name boxers make more than guys in title fights?
8/14/10 3:12 PM
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SinCityHustler
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 Again we're waitign to hear the list of organizations that pay more than the UFC.  I'd be happy to address your flawed logic, care to answer the question that was posed well before you posed your questions in order to avoid answering in the first place?  
8/14/10 5:01 PM
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OsotoGary
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Wow shitty globe coming around finally on MMA. Normally I would say fuck that paper. On another note, the Herald has been down with MMA from day one.

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