Dana White is a household name in MMA and, arguably, the UFC. White founded the UFC, and prior to that, he was a well-known boxing promoter. He has also worked as a UFC commentator and Fox Sports analyst. Because White is the face of the UFC, it’s not surprising that he’s everywhere.
Dana White Early Life
Dana Frederick White Jr. was born in Manchester, Connecticut on July 28, 1969. He is June and Dana White’s son. His mother and grandparents raised Dana and his sister, Kelly, primarily. He spent his childhood traveling between Las Vegas and Maine. White spent most of his childhood participating in sports, particularly boxing, and is a lifetime admirer of the Boston Red Sox baseball team. In 1987, he graduated from Hermon High School in Maine.
Dana White Career
White went on to attend the University of Massachusetts, although he did not complete his studies. During his time there, he established a boxing program for at-risk inner-city youths. During this time, he also worked as an aerobics instructor to supplement his income. He eventually moved to Las Vegas full-time and founded Dana White Enterprises in 1992.
He began managing fighters like Chuck Lidell and Tito Ortiz about this time. As White began to branch out into other fighting styles, such as MMA and Muay Thai, which would eventually come to define the UFC,
Fortunately for White, he had grown up with Lorenzo Fertitta, a former high school classmate who had achieved success as an executive at the hotel and casino company, Station Casinos. The two reconnected at a wedding in the mid-’90s, connecting over their mutual passion for boxing and expressing a desire to collaborate in the future.
While managing athletes, White became embroiled in disagreements with the UFC. After investigating the accounts of Semaphore Entertainment Group, the UFC’s parent business, he discovered that they were insolvent. After hearing the news, White approached his childhood buddy, Lorenzo Fertitta, about making an offer.
Lorenzo instantly recognized the potential profit and made a contract to purchase the UFC. Lorenzo also invited his older brother, Frank, to participate. In 2001, the Fertitta brothers paid a total of $2 million for an 81 percent stake in the UFC. White was quickly appointed president. In the years since purchasing the UFC, White and his team have transformed the company from savage and illegal to an international sensation.
Lorenzo instantly recognized the potential profit and made a contract to purchase the UFC. Lorenzo also invited his older brother, Frank, to participate. The Fertitta brothers paid $2 million for an 81 percent stake in the UFC in 2001. White was quickly appointed president. In the years since purchasing the UFC, White and his team have transformed the company from savage and illegal to an international sensation.
Even after the company was sold, White remained to serve as president. He has been able to enhance the popularity of the sport and convert it into a multi-billion dollar corporation under his guidance. In May 2017, the UFC announced that White would host a show called Dana White’s Contender Series. The event is only viewable on UFC Fight Pass, the company’s digital streaming service. It highlights up-and-coming competitors and allows them to exhibit their abilities in the hopes of one day making it to the UFC. On March 18, 2019, White announced that he had signed a new seven-year contract with ESPN to continue as UFC president.
Dana White Net Worth and Salary
Dana White is best known as the current president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), an MMA organization. Dana held 9% of the UFC when it was sold to William Morris Endeavor (WME) for $4 billion in 2016. He had earlier sold the majority of his holdings to the Fertitta brothers (billionaire casino magnates). Dana’s 9 percent stake from the sale was around $360 million after taxes and Dana White net worth is $500 million.
Dana White Personal Life
Since 1996, White has been married to his wife, Anne. When they were in eighth grade, they met. Aidan and Dana III are the couple’s two boys, while Savannah is their daughter. White would rather keep his family life private.
In May 2012, White disclosed that he had been diagnosed with Ménière’s illness, a neurological disorder caused, in part, by a fight he was involved in as a kid.
White was a vocal backer of Donald Trump during his first presidential campaign, including speaking at the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. During Trump’s reelection campaign in 2020, White spoke at rallies and in interviews about how Trump was an early backer of the UFC, allowing one of its first large events to be staged at one of his properties.
In 2010, White contributed $50,000 for a liver transplant for Tuptim Jadnooleum, the daughter of one of Tiger Muay Thai’s coaches. In 2011, White contributed $100,000 to his former high school for improvements.
Dana White UFC
Dana turned the UFC around from a cash-strapped outfit to an MMA behemoth. Under his leadership, the UFC fights were sanctioned by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, and the sport received recognition from all of the major state athletic commissions.
In 2005, Dana launched The Ultimate Fighter, a reality TV show in which prospects competed for a six-figure UFC contract. He got the show on Spike TV, and the success of The Ultimate Fighter led to an increase in MMA’s popularity.
Under Dana’s leadership, the UFC purchased its competitors, including Strikeforce (in 2011), Pride FC (in 2007), and World Extreme Cagefighting (in 2010), in order to enhance its dominance and acquire the talents of the promotions. Dana further legitimized the sport by obtaining a television partnership with Fox in 2011 and a gear sponsorship arrangement with Reebok in 2014.
His decision to keep UFC events going during the COVID pandemic lockdown in 2020 helped draw greater attention to the sport and grow the UFC following.
Dana White Accolades
In 2009, White was named Nevada Sportsman of the Year. He earned Promoter of the Year at the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Awards nine years in a row. From 2008 to 2019, White was crowned Leading Man of the Year at the World MMA Awards. White received the Patriot Award from the Armed Forces Foundation in 2019.