Before $4 Billion worth purchase, Dana White’s job as UFC head honcho was at ‘risk’ reveals LEAKED email

UFC Anti-Trust Lawsuit Unveils WME's Strategic Planning on Dana White's Future, highlighting the need for his retention, transition, and eventual replacement.


Before $4 Billion worth purchase, Dana White’s job as UFC head honcho was at ‘risk’ reveals LEAKED email

Dana White (Image via: IMAGO)

The UFC is presently facing an anti-trust lawsuit in court. The lawsuit has made a lot of documents made public by the court. MMA Fighting’s Steven Marrocco recently put light on a mail made public by the court. One of the discussion topics in the mail was none other than UFC CEO Dana White.

WME employee Brent Richard was the author of the mail. The mail detailed the risks and mitigants that WME-IMG (Now Endeavor) needed to discuss before buying the UFC from Zuffa. In the mail, there was a list of 5 risks or mitigants. Dana White was fifth on the list. This is what Richard wrote about White in the mail.

5 Key Man/Dana White - need to develop a retention, transition and ultimately a replacement for Dana.
Brent Richard via email

When WME-IMG bought the UFC from the Fertitta brothers; Lorenzo and Frank, one condition was that they wanted Dana White to run the business. Now, the leaked mail showed that their intention to keep White was a temporary arrangement. They had planned a future after Dana White ledt the company. Nevertheless, White signed a nine-year deal to remain at the helm in 2019.

Dana White

Dana White has a big reputation in the MMA world. He has won the Leading Man of the Year at the World MMA Awards every time since his inception. He also won Promoter of the Year by Wrestling Observer Newsletter from 2005 to 2013 and also in 2015 and 2016.

Top 4 risks or mitigants evaluated by WME-IMG before buying the UFC

UFC CEO Dana White was fifth on the list of risks or mitigants. There were other things that the holding company found more risky. Number 4 on the list was Competition/barriers to entry. They found rival competitors in the US and outside a threat but had an antidote, as the UFC had almost all the best fighters.

Ari Emanuel CEO of Endeavor (formerly WME-IMG) (Image via: Bloomberg)

Number 3 on the list was PPV Volatility. WME-IMG found the PPV model volatile and wanted to make much more profits in TV deals. However, the UFC’s decision to have backup fighters for big fights impressed the company. Number 2 on the list was Injury, Death, CTE, etc. As the UFC is a combat sports promotion, they found potential health risks for fighters that could hinder the company’s growth. The lack of studies on CTE in MMA fighters hindered any discussion of it.

Dana White

The Fighter Lawsuit topped the list. WME-IMG found the class-action lawsuit filed by former fighters the biggest threat. They thought the relatively short MMA career of fighters could help them in the lawsuit. However, they were wary of the cost of the lawsuit. Nevertheless, they thought creating a training or rehabilitation facility, i.e. the UFC PI, could help them.

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