“I’m a guy who did exactly what he wanted to do. When you do that the money follows.” – Dana White
Inner Keys to Success:
- BE BOLD, VERY BOLD AND A WAY WILL BE PAVED:
In his first boxing business, Dana White had an altercation with the Irish mob who wanted a cut, which resulted in Dana White eloping to Vegas.
He began managing fighters Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz, and with his foot in the door, he found out the parent company was looking to sell and boldly approached his childhood friend Lorenzo Fertita, a multi-millionaire who was an executive at the Station Casino. Dana White bravely pitched his own visions and ideas of how to purchase and redevelop the UFC enterprise. In the years proceeding the UFC takeover, White is known for having extreme confidence and has never been one to be afraid of speaking his opinion, whether in interviews, the reality shows or in any events. This has resulted in some high profile rivalries with the likes of Ken Shamrock and Randy Couture to name a few, who didn’t align with his visions.
He’s also had a strong attitude amongst business men and stock brokers and in an interview stated “I don’t need a bunch of idiots out in Wall Street – who have no idea what they’re talking about and don’t know anything about this business – telling me how to run it.” Dana White’s bold attitude is a key component in the success of the UFC. He is a strong negotiator and he pushed hard to getting it on T.V. striking a deal with SpikeTV and putting it on Pay-Per-View which brought mainstream success. Dana White earned much respect as he learned how to run this business through his tough managing style. He has allowed nothing to come in his way of making the UFC a major sport and he believes “I think that everyone is capable of being a leader when given a chance.”
- FORGET MONEY, FOCUS ON THE FIRE AND THE DESIRE:
“You’ll never hear me talk about money, ever. We’re not trying to hide anything. It’s just not what we’re about.”
Dana White has always been a very passion driven man. When he attended the University of Massachusetts for two years, he dropped out in a pursuit of something more.
His philosophy “A lot of times, kids go to college and take a major because they do what they think they’re supposed to do. I told them I believe 90 percent of America gets up in the morning and drive to a job they hate.”
He initially went from college to being a bouncer and a bellman at a hotel followed by launching a boxing program for inner-city at risk children while teaching aerobics to pay the bills. White has always had a desire for, and spent a lot of time involved in sports growing up, and he was also an amateur boxer himself. Joe Cavallaro who was a former boxer and friend of White has also stated that “White certainly didn’t mind street fights in his early years.”
When he started his new fresh start in Vegas, he went right into “jit jistu” and was absolutely intrigued with every angle of the sport. “It was never about the money for me… it was about doing something that I loved, it was more about passion.”
- HAVE A LIMITLESS MINDSET & FIND SOLUTIONS:
It all started when Dana White took a leap of faith thanks to his mindful attitude. He was a bellman at a hotel when he had a sudden decision to step into the unknown and trust that it would all work out in his favor
“I’m standing in the lobby one day, and just thinking, ‘What the hell am I doing here?’…I make cash every day, plus get a check at the end of the week, got great benefits…but I’m not happy here.
So I literally walked out the front door, told my buddy I was quitting. Of course he told me I was nuts and asked me, ‘What are you going to do?’ And I said, ‘I’m gonna get into the fight business.’ And that’s it…That’s what I did.”
Dana White made an intention and completely trusted the process. He would attend many boxing events throughout his life and even a few UFC ones where he claimed to dissect the sport and all its weaknesses. He became fascinated with the idea of altering it saying they were very boring and they needed more engagement and excitement.
When his friend purchased the UFC making him CEO, he began changing the entire face of the UFC from a barbaric illegal sport to the very different one we see today.
“We didn’t buy this to make billions of dollars. We saw something in this sport and in the fighters that we thought was incredible. We thought if we got it to the mainstream people would enjoy it.”
Being a natural problem solver, Dana White had made several rule changes to make the fights more exciting and put fighter safety as his first priority with strict medical exams which helped convince Nevada and New Jersey to sanction UFC fights. He allowed the athletes to be accessible to show their humble and down to earth nature.
“The thing where I’ve always been lucky is, I knew exactly what I wanted to do.”
“I told them to find what they are passionate about and to go for that regardless of what anyone tells them. They can go to school and major in political science and say they want to be a doctor or a lawyer, but unless they’re passionate about what they do, they’re never really going to be happy or truly successful.” – Dana White
Alongside Dana White’s power as the CEO of the UFC, he is also known for his humble deeds as he made charitable donations including $50,000 for a life-saving surgery for a 7-month-old daughter of Thai MMA trainer. And after being named 2009 Nevada Sportsman of the Year, Dana White gave $100,000 from his pocket to the $250,000 total raised for the fund raising marathon. He’s known to tip upto $10,000 often according to Palms staff and he gave a whooping $100,000 to the University he went to.
“We all get depressed. We all have our moments when things are going great and then you get let down and bad stuff happens. It’s about recovering from that, pulling yourself up, dusting yourself off and get back in the game.”
– Dana White
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