Dana White Says Chael Sonnen Could One Day Take His Place

Dan HiergesellFeatured ColumnistJune 3, 2014

LAS VEGAS, NV - FEBRUARY 22:  Mixed martial artist Chael Sonnen attends the UFC 170 event at the Mandalay Bay Events Center on February 22, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Like him or not, UFC president Dana White has been an ambassador for the sport of mixed martial arts.

Credited for keeping the UFC alive, White can easily be considered one of the top five most influential people in the history of the sport.

His teeth-sinking control sometimes overstays its welcome, but, for the most part, his ambitious and performance-driven demands of every intricate part of the promotion have transformed the UFC into the international avenue it is today.

But as accountable and hands-on as White currently is, there will come a time when his presidential hourglass will expire.

That will create an unthinkable void of epic proportions—one that will force the UFC as a whole to sift through worthy candidates, proven executives and unique personalities who could potentially handle the pressure and lifestyle the position so adamantly demands.

So, who fits that profile? Who is capable of handling that role with flying colors?

Is there someone who has displayed the confidence, professional demeanor and overall gusto to get the job done?

Well, White apparently already has a dog in the race when it comes to his replacement.

"I think Chael [Sonnen] would be fantastic," said White in a recent interview with MMA Junkie's Steven Marrocco. "The thing is with Chael, though, is that he over-exaggerates too much, and you don't know what's real and what's not."

Sonnen is one of the more outspoken masters of the mic and has been known to fib in the past, so it may surprise some people that Sonnen's name would come out of White's mouth.

But if you look at the picture as a whole, there's no other fighter in the world better than Sonnen at promoting fights, stirring interest amongst fans, seeing things from an open-minded business perspective and understanding what it will take to maintain promotional promise.

Are there other candidates with better backgrounds in business growth and corporate stability? Absolutely.

But being the commissioner of the UFC demands a certain amount of knowledge of the fight game. White's job is not only dictated by business deals and international saturation, but it is also often mapped out by his ability to talk with the media, discuss past and future fights, and understand how to represent the company in a professional, yet personal, matter.

That's why a guy like Sonnen makes more sense than one might think.

"Chael is obviously a passionate guy," added White. "I think he loves [the sport], and he's great."

There's no doubt in anyone's mind that Sonnen loves the sport of MMA, but handling the demands of White's position could spell mental insanity.

As the president of a company like the UFC, you need to possess a certain level of crazy. The job can be volatile at times and even unbearable, but if there's a man in the shadows right now who can handle that unpredictable lifestyle, it would be Sonnen.


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