Who the fook is that guy?

It was 20 years ago today.

The UFC was founded in 1993 by Art Davie, Rorion Gracie, David Isaacs, Campbell McLaren, and Bob Meyrowitz. Davie was the visionary, and Rorion was the base. The promotion was sold by Semaphore Entertainment Group to ZUFFA in 2001 for $2 million and the assumption of many, many millions in debt. It continued to rack up millions more in debt until The Ultimate Fighter 1 Finale between Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar saved the sport. The UFC grew on and on and on and sold again to WME-IMG in 2016 for $4 billion, at the time the largest sale in sports history.

The Great Man approach to history has been out of favor for over a century, but the influence of Dana White on the growth of the UFC and of mixed martial arts generally is incontrovertible. Lorenzo Fertitta’s contributions are underappreciated outside of the hardcore MMA fanbase, and there was a conjecture that he snookered WME-IMG now Endeavor, and might later swoop back in and buy it for a song. However, five years on, the growth of the UFC continues, right straight through the COVID-19 global pandemic. The current valuation is maybe $7 billion.

One thing has changed however – Dana White. This is his very first appearance on a UFC broadcast as president of the company. It was 20 years ago today.

To be frank, he looked then like his office was a closet and he drove a purple Gremlin. In all likelihood, that’s because his office was a closet, and he drove a purple Gremlin.

If you didn’t know better and this was movie, you’d say it wasn’t very good casting. Thor as a kid played by Dakota Goyo in Thor, looked a lot like a kid Chris Hemsworth. That 31-year-old guy in the video doesn’t look a lot like Dana White today, at all. But it is.

UG, what’s your opinion of DFW, and has it changed?

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