How Did Dana White Build the UFC?

How Did Dana White Build the UFC?

When Dana White learned that the UFC owner, Bob Meyrowitz, was looking to sell the organisation, he contacted his childhood friend Lorenzo Fertitta to find out if he would be interested in buying it.

In January 2001, Lorenzo and his brother Frank acquired the UFC for $2 million and installed White as the company’s president. The UFC had been stripped of its assets by the previous owner and all the Fertitta brothers received for their money was the brand name and an old octagon.

Dana White played a pivotal role in transforming the struggling MMA organisation into a global sports powerhouse. Here’s a breakdown of his key contributions:

Rebranding and Regulation

The UFC had a negative image due to its early, less regulated fights. White focused on implementing safety rules, creating weight classes and working with athletic commissions to gain legitimacy.

Media Deals and Sponsorships

Dana White secured crucial media deals, bringing the UFC to pay-per-view and establishing broadcast partnerships like the one with Spike TV. He also attracted major sponsors, which provided financial stability.

The Ultimate Fighter (TUF)

Dana played a crucial role in the creation and promotion of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality television series, which launched in 2005. It became a game-changer as it introduced new audiences to MMA, showcased fighter personalities and generated excitement for upcoming fights.

Emphasis on Talent and Matchmaking

White focused on signing top talent and nurturing the development of iconic UFC fighters like Chuck Liddell, Tito Ortiz, Brock Lesnar and Georges St-Pierre. These stars attracted a wider fan base and transcended the sport. He also oversaw the organisation’s matchmaking, creating exciting match-ups to attract fans.


Dana White invested in high-quality production for UFC events, enhancing the viewing experience and making them more appealing to a wider audience.

International Expansion

White led the UFC’s international expansion efforts, hosting events in various countries and establishing a global fanbase, as well as providing a platform for international fighters. This expansion not only increased the UFC’s revenue streams but also helped grow the sport of MMA worldwide.

Adaptation and Innovation

Throughout his tenure, White demonstrated a willingness to adapt to changes in the sports landscape and embrace new technologies and platforms for promoting the UFC. This adaptability helped the organisation stay relevant and continue to grow in a rapidly evolving industry.

Dana White’s Overall Impact

Dana White’s influence on the UFC is undeniable. His vision, business acumen, and ability to connect with fans were instrumental in transforming the UFC from a niche organisation to a global sporting powerhouse, with millions of fans worldwide and a multi-billion-dollar valuation.

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