Dana White is a name established to be synonymous with the fight business in 21st century. White, the man who has been holding the position of the President of the UFC for more than 20 years, managed to make the sport starting from a $40 million cult-like entity in the name of Ultimate Fighting Championship into a mainstream multi-billion establishment that entertains the whole world today. White, a man born and grown out of Boston, needed a very dangerous man to get his life turned around, by the name of Whitey Bulger.
James Whitey Bulger was the leader of the Irish gang association, Winter Hill Gang in the Winter Hill neighbourhood of Somerwille, Massachusetts, although many Winter Hill gang members have been of the Italian descent has well. As long as he was alive, Bulger was convicted of Racketeering, murder (19 counts), Conspiracy to commit murder, extortion, conspiracy to commit extortion, narcotics distribution, conspiracy to commit money laundering and more.
Did you know: Dana White was charitably involved in boxing to get the Boston kids of the street
Whitey Bulger was dominating the crime scenes in Boston from his prime time in 90s until the apprehension in 2011, he crossed paths with White. The follow up after Bulgar’s brief involvement in White’s life proved why all things, good or bad, happen for a reason.
“Well, the way that it worked was that yes, I got involved in boxing,” White admits to Graham Bensinger. “There’s a guy named Peter Welsh in Boston that I was partners with, a local fighter there, and what we did was started this ‘Get Kids off the Street’ programme… It was great and a great thing to do for the kids, but you don’t make much money doing it – it was a charity thing we were doing. So, to pay the bills, we used to bring in businessmen, housewives, whoever it was and train them to box and we were basically like personal trainers, but you did boxing…
One day I am in there teaching a class and these guys literally walk right into the middle of the class. They said, ‘we need to talk to you’. I was teaching a class here! I’m thinking, ‘do these guys own the club or something?’ I leave the class, I go out and start talking to them and they start asking me if I know who they are. I didn’t, but it wasn’t Whitey – it was Kevin Weeks [Bulger’s associate]. That was it; they wanted some money and they walked away that day and I was thinking, ‘I don’t even want to know these guys’…
I didn’t do anything, I wasn’t going out of my way to bump into him again or to do anything else and then one day, I was sitting in my apartment and I got a phone call. They basically told me, ‘we want the money.’ I told them I didn’t have the money, it was $2,500. That was like $25,000 to me in those days! They said, ‘get it from your girlfriend or get it from somebody.’ I had until tomorrow, which was a Sunday, I thought nothing good was going to happen! So literally, that day, I bought a plane ticket and came back to Vegas,” concluded Dana White. [h/t TalkSport]
After this, the rest is history, White met his school friend Lorenzo Fertitta and while his upbringing was different from the Fertitta brothers, White proved himself to be worthy of being amongst the big boys of the fight business that he is today, with many recognising him as one of the greatest sports promoters of all time. Bulger died in October 2018 after being beaten to death by multiple inmates inside the prison.