Dana White is the President of the biggest fighting league worldwide, the UFC, that nowadays is present in more than 175 countries with over 400 events held worldwide. With a skyrocketing career and a net worth of $500 + Million, White is one of the most successful businessmen in the U.S.
Even if you might have seen him working in the States, he was born in Manchester after which he moved to Massachusetts where he spent his youth. White has always been a fan of sports, but fighting was his favorite; he started practicing boxing aged 17.
Career and Struggle
He became UFC President because he once met the owner of its parent company that wanted to sell it back in 2001. White, becoming aware of the potential sale, contacted a childhood friend of him, Lorenzo Fertitta that at the time was a commissioner of the Nevada State Athletic Commission as well as a wealthy entrepreneur. Eventually, he asked him if he was interested in acquiring the company. Lorenzo, together with his brother, finally acquired the UFC and later White was appointed as the ‘company’s President.
The UFC became more and more famous every year, making White wealthier and more influential in the fighting businesses. Then one day, the UFC (being a subsidiary of Zuffa) was sold to a consortium of investors for US$4.025 billion out of which $362 Million went to White (that was the capital gotten from his shares). Even though he exited from the company, he still serves as a president of the same to date and oversees its management and marketing. Dana White made fighting a worldwide business through UFC and in return, it made White one of the most influential men in the sports industry nowadays.
5 Tips to Succeed
Tip #1: Put in the Work
Things ‘won’t come to you if you ‘don’t put the required effort to make them happen just because our world is ruled by the laws of cause-effect to which everybody must abide. Forget about getting a free lunch, work, and keep working until you succeed because the less you work and the harder things will become.
Tip #2: Timing is essential
Sometimes we want to do things just because of the desire to get quick results. The reality though, most of the times, is that in our world almost nothing works when things are rushed and forced instead of going for a steady and timed process. There is a time, and a space for everything and what you have to realize is that when synchronicities start to happen, and things seem to be falling into the right place, ‘that’s precisely the time to make them happen. The fact that boxing was going down when White met Fertitta, and there was this opportunity to purchase the UFC is a perfect example of timing that brought success instead of a stubborn act based on a rush and quick results.
Tip #3: Know how to serve
The competition will always be there to try to take the space ‘you’re occupying in the market. To avoid being defeated by it (or never to occupy the necessary space you need to survive), you have to know that the quality of the content you create is essential to ensure your success because people always have options (unless you have a legalized monopoly). Dana knows that he has to keep people entertained and engaged in his shows on a Saturday night, with all the other things that people can do on that day like going out with friends, women or merely watching different shows.
Tip #4: Have a Plan
Do not worry too much about what everybody else does as this can distract you from your goals and their achievement. Focus on your path and think about how you can get closer and closer to where you want to be, without trying to emulate other people. If you do this ‘you’ll always find yourself behind others as when you copy somebody, you ‘can’t get beyond to where they are.
Tip #5: Believe in what you do
Dana, when joining the UFC along with his friend Lorenzo Fertitta ‘couldn’t know for sure that this sport could have become such a huge phenomenon. In any case, he believed in the athletes, in fighting as a business and had the ambition to make this become one of the most popular sports ever. Nowadays, the UFC can be considered one of the most significant sports leagues out there and, one day; it will probably become even more popular than some leagues like the NFL.
“Fighting is the first sport ever, and it will be the last sport ever.”
“The first thing you have to do when you start a business is to know exactly who you are and what is your game plan.”
“Everything in life has to do with timing.”
“Content is king, and owning content has always been the way to go.”
“If I was into money, I was still standing in the lobby of the Boston Harbor Hotel.”
3 Lessons we can learn from his story
Lesson 1: Nothing happens overnight
It took White 13 years to make the UFC as big as it is nowadays. Before his advent into the company, the UFC was already around for other 7 years. Make the math and ‘you’ll understand that what you see today is nothing but the result of 20 years of hard work and dedication. If you still believe in overnight success (apart from winning the lottery) then think again as nothing genuinely successful is an overnight success.
Lesson 2: Do it for the authenticity
White complained that the boxing business was becoming fake and that many fighters, due to their high retributions (often several million), preferred not to injure themselves during the fights so that they could do more of them and make more money. That, of course, impaired the quality of the shows as when both fighters try not to get hurt, you can imagine what a fight can come out.
White prevented this in the UFC by giving fighters incentives every time they won a fight or performed the best K.O. of the night. This way, he ensured that they were motivated to destroy the opponent with as much spectacularity as possible rather than playing with it for the money.
Lesson 3: Do something you love
White ‘didn’t join UFC because he wanted to become rich first. He did it because he was always passionate about the fighting world and because he wanted to make it mainstream, a thing that he had to make happen by showing courage and walking out there in the world offering this product. If it were for the money, he would have probably remained poor as he says during an interview.
In 2011, White donated $100,000 to his former high school to fund renovations to their athletic facilities.
The mob chased him out of Boston as it asked him to pay $2,500, but White ‘didn’t have the money.
He is friend with the 45th president of the United States, Donald Trump.
Sometimes he uses to fight verbally with his UFC fighters. Once he was even about to fight Tito Ortiz.
Dana White is one of the most crucial figures in the fighting business nowadays. Starting from nothing, only with a massive passion for the fighting world and the ambition to make it popular all over the world, he climbed the success ladder accumulating notoriety and respect, apart from his massive fortune of more than $500 Million.