“We fell in LOVE with it,” what made Dana White switch his focus from boxing and absolutely change the world of MMA

White has been the President of the nearly 30-year-old company for 20 years now and is showing no signs of slowing down in terms of making the UFC as large of an organization as it can be in the world of combat sports.

Dana White- MMA & Boxing

UFC President Dana White is today one of the biggest names in the history of MMA who’s also the most significant figure behind the growth of the sport, provided we are keeping aside all the allegations of lack of fighter pay. Regardless, to bring a company from a $2 million entity brought under the investments of the Fertitta brothers- Lorenzo and Frank– and invest plus $40 million instantly in it only to facilitate a growth that would bring it to an evaluation of over $4 billion is nothing short of commendable for the history of sports business.

A boxing fanatic from the early days, White was doing charity work by focusing on teaching boxing to kids or other people, primarily with the purpose of getting children off the streets of crime. But eventually, White’s life took a whole turn, thanks to late crime boss Whitey Bulger and his focus shifted to the sport of MMA, which was moving its needle in the world of combat sports since the early 90s but a new culture was taking birth through the UFC, an organization founded in 1993 by Art Davie and Rorion Gracie, eventually brought by the Fertittas in 2001 as mentioned before.

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Dana White, Lorenzo Fertitta and Frank Fertitta first interacted with the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu before focusing on MMA

Fertitta Brothers and Dana White

In an interview for GQ Sports special segment where famous sports-associated figures are asked to answer Internet questions, Dana White showed up to answer everything from fighters’ pay to his relationship with legendary boxing icon and fierce business rival Oscar De La Hoya. In the midst of all, White talks about how he shifted his focus from boxing and started working toward MMA. The story continues after that part of White’s life when he fled from his hometown of Boston to come to Las Vegas and brings up the names of the former owners of the UFC, the Fertitta brothers and UFC Hall of Famers, Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz.

“So I was involved in boxing and myself, my partners, the Fertitta brothers started taking Jiu-Jitsu, we fell in love with it,” says White. “We became obsessed with it. And through that, we started to meet a lot of the fighters and I started to manage Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz, that’s really how we got involved,” concludes White.

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What do you make of Dana White’s mini-story on his transition from working toward boxing to working to build the sport of MMA? Do you think the UFC could’ve reached the heights it has reached today if not for White and his former partners, Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta aka the Fertitta brothers? Sure the UFC is an organization whose competition is at par with none today in MMA, but promotions like Bellator MMA and ONE Championship are not far enough from catching up with the gap.

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