Dana White: Love Him or Hate Him, We Should All Thank Him

Matt RandallCorrespondent IJanuary 25, 2009

Dana White might quite possibly be the most (or at least near the top of the list) hated names attached to MMA.

He may not be facing the barrage of strikes like his fighters do in the octagon, but Dana has taken his share, and possibly even more, of verbal shots, massive criticisms, and unfair judgment.

Now, of course, there are two sides to every story, or article for that matter, he has crossed the line with his comments and confused all of us with some the fight cards.

But no matter what he does at this point, would MMA really have reached this epic level popularity that it has since he and the Zuffa family purchased it in 2001?


Of course, the other side to this argument would be to say that PRIDE FC would have filled the void that UFC has now claimed as their territory.

But with PRIDE being in Japan, which seems like a million miles away for the consumers in America, could be so sure this would have happened?

Dana quickly turned the UFC from a failing “Blood Sport” event banned in most states, to a billion-dollar company, might I add in less than 10 years. The UFC has taken off faster than Usain Bolt out of the blocks, leaving competitors in its wake.

We saw the demise of PRIDE FC and Elite XC, now is it only a matter of time before Affliction follows in their footsteps?

On one hand, Affliction, unlike PRIDE, is in America and does have some of the same fighters (Fedor, Belfort, and Barnett just to name a few). And unlike Elite, it actually is putting together a pretty decent card, which seems to be, for the most part, actually about the sport.

Now, what makes the UFC so much more popular than these other MMA companies? Is it the fighters? The UFC may have a much deeper pool to fish fighters out of, but are they the best in the world?

No. Not in every weight class at least.

Sure, GSP might be the best 170 pounder (as long as he beats Penn) and Silva is the best 185’er, but are Mir and Lesnar the best heavyweights? No. Fedor is one thing Affliction has on everyone else right now.

But one thing these other companies are lacking is, in my opinion, Dana White. Other than Fedor (which better be fixed sometime soon), Dana has gone out and signed almost every top fighter in the world.

Sure he might play favorites to a few (Brock Lesnar and Chuck Liddell) and he might try and piss off others (Tito Ortiz and Randy Couture), but he has put out a solid card for (almost) every event since his reign began.

Like I mentioned earlier there are always exceptions, since there have been and will be cards that are not up to par with our high expectations, but for the most part I think I have been satisfied.

Another brilliant marketing scheme the Zuffa Boy’s thought up was The Ultimate Fighter. Not only did it help them figure out which new fighters were good enough to make the jump to the big leagues for cheap, but it also put the UFC into millions of homes, making it a household name, and doing all of this for free on cable.

It let the fans get an inside look of the lives of the fighters on the show, the good and bad, and it pushed the UFC over the hump of a popular sport into a worldwide premier fighting league.

The epic battle of Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar brought in almost 10 million viewers, most tuning in apparently in between the first and second round.

Now we have free events all the time, although the quality of the cards may be lacking some nights, we did get to see The Spider for free. I would rather see a sub-par card for free than no free card at all.

I know people are so concerned about the monopoly that the UFC seems to be making, but I don’t see the problem with it, IF some measures are taken. I have no problem with all of the best fighters in the world fighting in one league.

Look at every other sport in the world, the MLB, NHL, NBA and NFL have all the power in their sporting worlds and it seems to be working out okay for them.

The only thing these sports have that the UFC doesn’t is the union for the athletes. I think this is the only way it will work, if not I think it would all far apart.

I know I would love to see all of the most elite fighters in the world fighting in the same cage or ring; to be honest, I don’t care if it’s in the UFC or another league or company, I just don’t see the UFC or Dana going anywhere.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that with all of Dana White’s faults, which might be more than I would usually put up with, we really need to take a look at what he has done for the sport. He might be trying to take over the MMA world by storm and it looks like slowly he might be doing it.

But if it weren’t for Dana, the level or access to MMA would not be anywhere close to where it is now. We wouldn’t have so many fighters and cards to argue about on this website. In fact there wouldn’t even be an MMA section on this website or any other for that matter.

So the next time Dana pisses you off or says something you don’t like or swears more times than you thought was possible, just remember what he has done for the sport and for us as fans.