10 Biggest Successes in Dana White's Career
Dana White/ Scott Petersen for MMAWeekly.com
The height of mixed martial arts has reached an all-time high.
What do we have to thank for the rise in popularity? Well, the UFC, of course.
The leading man of the organization, President Dana White, has garnered the interest of the fans and media alike thanks to his personable and sometimes controversial demeanor.
Despite some of his shortcomings as far as speaking etiquette is concerned, White has been on a one-man crusade in helping promote and grow the sport.
During that endeavor, the enigmatic exec has created many milestones throughout his career.
Dana White/ Scott Petersen for MMAWeekly.com
UFC on FOX
White and co. recently struck up a seven-year deal with sports juggernaut in the FOX network.
The deal extends to FOX's sister channels in FX and FUEL TV. Several fights have already graced all three networks, garnering big numbers for all parties involved while drawing more eyes onto the UFC.
Selling out the Rogers Centre
The first-ever mixed martial arts event held in Ontario, Canada was spearheaded by the UFC.
So what did the organization do for this momentous occasion? Well, selling out the Rogers Centre was atop the docket, and with the help of headliner Georges St-Pierre, the UFC was able to sell more than 55,000 tickets.
The gate was the largest in MMA history in North America.
Bringing the UFC Back to Brazil
Silva/ Ken Pishna for MMAWeekly.com
Last August, the UFC ventured back to Brazil for the first time in more than a decade.
At UFC 134, champion Anderson Silva successfully defended his middleweight crown against rival Yushin Okami, helping cap off a highly lucrative event which took place before a sold-out crowd at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Bringing the UFC Back to Japan
Hioki/ Ken Pishna for MMAWeekly.com
UFC 144 took place just a couple of weeks ago, though the fans are still reeling from what was a stellar night of fights, which took place at the famed Saitama Super Arena in Japan.
The endeavor was the first UFC event in the Land of the Rising Sun in more than a decade and featured a bevy of Japanese talent, including Yushin Okami, Hatsu Hioki and the legendary Norifumi Yamamoto, among others.
The event was well received by the fans in attendance and will likely signal an immediate return to Japan.
Fedor Emelianenko's Descent
Emelianenko/ Al Yu for MMAWeekly.com
Though the rise and fall of Fedor Emelianenko was not of Dana White's doing, it still must have felt good for the UFC head honcho to see him plummet.
After spending nearly a decade atop the heavyweight ladder, Emelianenko was courted several times by the UFC, though White was the most vocal about adding the Russian to their roster.
Fedor and co. opted to not sign with the UFC, instead venturing to rival promotion in Strikeforce, where he suffered a career-worst three-fight losing streak, suffering decisive losses to Fabricio Werdum, Antonio Silva and Dan Henderson.
Signing Wanderlei Silva to the UFC
It was a personal mission for White to bring some of the best fighters in the world all under one roof.
In 2007, White took a huge step forward in his endeavor by signing the then-recently dethroned Pride middleweight champion Wanderlei Silva, who is regarded as one of the all-time greats in the sport.
Collapse of EliteXC
At the time, the UFC's biggest opposition was that of EliteXC—a rivaling mixed martial arts company which was headed by famed boxing promoter Gary Shaw.
The organization had written up a deal with both Showtime and CBS and was picking up lots of steam. That is, before the infamous Seth Petruzelli-Kimbo Slice fiasco unfolded.
Eventually, many of EliteXC's backers pulled away and the company folded shortly thereafter.
White had a hand in the collapse in the sense that he was one of the more vocal figures speaking out against the company, which is perfectly illustrated in this particular tirade.
Collapse of Affliction
There will always be some competitor to the UFC, though how they will actually be able to threaten the premier MMA promotion remains to be seen.
Affliction had their shot, as they signed many of the sport's leading heavyweights, including persuading the likes of former UFC champions Andrei Arlovski and Tim Sylvia to join their roster.
Even the elusive Fedor Emelianenko was aligned with the organization, though Affliction didn't last long. Josh Barnett sullied the promotion by failing a pre-fight drug tests just days before a blockbuster battle with the aforementioned Emelianenko.
All the money spent promoting and marketing the event eventually led to their collapse.
Affliction has since gone back to sponsoring UFC fighters through their clothing brand.
Purchasing Pride Fighting Championships
Affliction and EliteXC could never hold a candle to the UFC's biggest competitor, the Pride Fighting Championships.
Though they were based out of Japan, Pride had garnered high praise from fans and pundits from all corners of the globe, assembling some of the world's best under one roof, all the while emphasizing entertainment through their dramatic in-house spectacles.
Eventually, the UFC managed to buyout its biggest and most well-respected competitor in 2006, after the organization had failed to maintain television network deals, thanks to alleged affiliations with the Yakuza and their inevitable bankruptcy.
Competitors come and they go.
The recent victim was that of Strikeforce, who, in their tenure helped assemble many of the sport's best under their banner, including a talent-rich heavyweight roster which included the likes of Antonio Silva, Josh Barnett, Daniel Cormier, Alistair Overeem and Fedor Emelianenko, among others.
Once Strikeforce's backers opted to invest their interests elsewhere, the promotion was looking for a new investor. They found that in the UFC, who has since taken the reins of the organization and stealing some of their big-name talent, including that of Dan Henderson, Overeem and the enigmatic Nick Diaz.