Dana Frederick White Jr. (born July 28, 1969) is an American businessman and the current President of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), which is the largest mixed martial arts (MMA) organization in the world. Under White's leadership, the UFC has grown into a globally popular multibillion-dollar enterprise. In August of 2019, White's net worth was estimated at $500 million.
Dana Frederick White Jr.
July 28, 1969
Manchester, Connecticut, U.S.
|Known for||President of Ultimate Fighting Championship|
Early life and educationEdit
White was born in Manchester, Connecticut on July 28, 1969, the son of June and Dana White. He and his sister, Kelly, were raised by their mother and her family for the majority of their childhoods. White is an Irish American.
He began boxing at age 17 and graduated from Hermon High School in Maine in 1987. He started college twice, once at Quincy College and once at UMass Boston, but dropped out during his first semester each time. White then worked as a boxercise coach.
White spent many of his early years residing in Ware, Massachusetts. He claims he left Boston for Las Vegas after reportedly being threatened by mobster Whitey Bulger and his associate Kevin Weeks. "He basically said, 'You owe us money'. It was like $2,500, which was like $25,000 to me back then, and said, 'You owe us money.' It was actually a guy named Kevin Weeks, who if you saw the trial he's Whitey's right-hand man. I'm sure he's very prominent in the movie, but yeah basically said I owed him some money, and I didn't pay him. This went on for a while and one day I was at my place and I got a call and they said, 'You owe us the money tomorrow by 1 o'clock'. I literally hung up the phone, picked up the phone and called Delta and bought a ticket to Vegas."
Ultimate Fighting ChampionshipEdit
While working as a manager for Tito Ortiz and Chuck Liddell, White met Bob Meyrowitz, the owner of Semaphore Entertainment Group, the parent company of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. When White learned that Meyrowitz was looking to sell the UFC, he contacted childhood friend Lorenzo Fertitta, an executive and co-founder of Station Casinos, and former commissioner of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, to ask if he would be interested in acquiring the company. In January 2001, Lorenzo and his older brother Frank acquired the UFC for $2 million, which subsequently became a subsidiary of Zuffa. White was installed as the company's president.
White said that when he and the Fertittas acquired the UFC, all they received was the brand name "UFC" and an old octagon. The previous owners had stripped the company's assets to avoid bankruptcy, so much so that the UFC.com website had been sold to a company named "User Friendly Computers". Over time, with White as president, the UFC developed into a highly successful business, and its gross revenue was $600 million in 2015. In July 2016, Zuffa was sold to a consortium of investors led by WME-IMG for $4.025 billion. White owned 9% of the company at the time of the sale. White announced he would continue in his role as president, and was given a stake in the new business.
In May 2017, the UFC announced White would host Dana White's Contender Series. Available exclusively through UFC Fight Pass, the promotion's digital streaming service, and licensed separately from the UFC brand, the show allows up and coming fighters the chance to showcase their talents in hopes that one day they may compete in the UFC.
White entered the boxing scene by co-promoting Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Conor McGregor due to McGregor being contracted to the UFC. In October 2017, White said at Freddie Roach's Wild Card West boxing club that he was "getting into boxing, 100 percent." White says that he wants to incorporate boxing into the company portfolio of the UFC.
White met his wife Anne (née Stella) when they were in the eighth grade and they married in 1996. They have two sons, Dana III and Aidan, and one daughter, Savannah. White values his privacy, and keeps Anne out of the public spotlight. White bought a mansion in Pine Island Court, Las Vegas in 2006 from Frank Fertitta III for $1.95 million. White bought three other mansions in the same area from October 2016 to June 2017 for a combined total of around $6.2 million. Demolition permits were issued for the houses, presumably with the intent of creating a mega-mansion for White and his family.
In 2011, White's mother, June, released the book Dana White, King of MMA: An Unauthorized Biography. June claimed in the book that, since his success with the UFC, Dana had "turned his back on his family and friends who were there for him when he needed help and support".
In a season 15 episode of History Channel's Pawn Stars (originally airing on February 5, 2018), White purchased over $60,000 worth of Katana swords including one of Rick Harrison's 17th-century Japanese Katana.
It has also been noted on numerous occasions that White is a huge fan of the Beastie Boys, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Rage Against the Machine. Speaking on the passing of Adam Yauch White said "I seriously haven't been impacted by a death in a long time like I was with the Beastie Boys". White also has a hand signed guitar by all three members of the Beastie Boys in his office, alongside a copy of the Beastie Boys Book on the desk.
White spoke at the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, where he endorsed Republican nominee Donald Trump. White said that Trump helped the UFC at its beginnings, allowing the UFC to host its first event under Zuffa ownership (UFC 30) at the Trump Taj Mahal when others venues refused to host the UFC. White said, "No arenas wanted us. This guy reached out, and he's always been a friend to me." White reiterated his support for Trump for the 2020 election and spoke at the podium at one of Trump's reelection rallies in Colorado. In February 2020, White donated $1 million to America First Action, a super political action committee that supported Trump's re-election. In April 2020, Dana White joined a select group of industry leaders to help the United States rebuild its economy hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
White was accused in a sex-tape scandal, when an exotic dancer allegedly taped a sexual encounter with White in Brazil around the year 2014 without his consent. The stripper also alleged White had been seeing her for months during his marriage. The stripper's live-in boyfriend then tried to extort money from White, which resulted in a criminal case against her boyfriend. In Nevada, on April 3, 2020, a civil suit against White was filed, claiming he offered the boyfriend money to persuade him to plead guilty, which White has denied. According to the complaint, White paid $10,000 to the stripper to dance and have sex with him. The lawsuit was dismissed on October 7, 2020.
In May 2012, White revealed that he had been diagnosed with Ménière's disease, a neurological disorder. He said, "It's like vertigo but on steroids." White claims that the disease was brought on because of a large fight he was involved in during his youth.
In 2011, White donated $100,000 to his former high school to fund renovations to their athletic facilities.
White is a successful recreational gambler.
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