Dana White Comments on Donald Trump, Ronda Rousey, UFC's Future and More

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistFebruary 8, 2017

TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 08: UFC President Dana White watches the Toronto Raptors play the Minnesota Timberwolves during NBA game action at Air Canada Centre on December 8, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

UFC President Dana White spoke about a number of topics with Jon Wertheim of Sports Illustrated in a lengthy interview published Wednesday, touching on President Donald Trump, Ronda Rousey and more. 

He told a story about Trump from election night:

So what happened was, that [election] night, it was actually my 20-year anniversary. I was at my favorite restaurant here [in Manhattan]. Lorenzo hits me and he goes, "He just won Florida. He's in this fight." So me and my wife got up, came back here to the hotel and started watching it. And Ivanka's husband called me, said, "Listen, my father-in-law loves you. You've been so great through this whole thing and everything else, looks like we're going to win this thing. Meet us at the Hilton right now." I'm like, Oh, s--t. I didn't have any clothes. I had one suit. I had a suit for the fight, that's it. I said, f--k it, I threw my fight suit on, walked out on the street, went down to the Hilton, met those guys down there. Think about this. Donald Trump, it's just another testament to the type of guy that he is. He's winning. He's going to become the president of the United States. He thinks of me, to have his son-in-law say, "Hey, come on down to the Hilton and come be with us for this thing." That's a testament to the type of man that this guy is. I'm telling you, he is a good guy. 

White also praised Rousey, whose future in the UFC remains up in the air after consecutive losses:

Everything she told me she would do, she did. She worked her ass off for this sport, for this company, for women. She worked herself to the bone. I’ve never had a fighter work [with publicity] the way she has. She’s made a lot of money. I know for her that doesn't matter—her legacy means more to her than anything else. But you know what, sometimes we can’t have it all. But let’s be clear: She built this house. She really did.

Rousey may choose to retire to follow different pursuits following her fall from grace in the sport. Or, perhaps she will attempt to return to prominence and orchestrate a comeback story after her knockout losses to Holly Holm and Amanda Nunes.

Either way, White was adamant he would support her decision.

"She knows what she wants and doesn't want," he said. "If she calls me today and says, 'I'm done. I'm gonna wrap it and call it a career' I'm gonna be like, 'Awesome. That's amazing. We'll plan something.' And if she calls me and says, 'I want three more fights,' she's got it. She'll make that decision on her own."

Rousey was a perfect 12-0 before her pair of losses, and as White noted, she was the sole reason for a women's division in the UFC in the first place. Alongside Conor McGregor, she was one of the most marketable fighters in the history of the organization.

But if Rousey's days in the UFC are numbered, the show must go on. And White thinks the future is bright for the UFC.

"As long as you're putting on good fights, people want to watch them," he noted. "The reality is, as the talent continues to grow, more and more people start to come out of the woodwork, become fighters. We could put fights on every weekend all over the world, different territories."

He added: "The one thing I sell, what I'm selling you every Saturday night, they're 'holy s--t' moments, where you jump off the couch with your friends, look at each other and go, 'Holy s--t, that just happened.' Everybody is going crazy."

The UFC is certainly capable of providing those moments. While the sport's top two male fighters remain in limbo—McGregor is attempting to negotiate a fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr. and appears to have tunnel vision in that pursuit, while Jon Jones has fought just once in two years after failing another drug test, per Wertheim—the UFC continues to be a major player in the world of sports.

And White, even fresh off being purchased by WME/IMG for $4.5 billion, doesn't plan on changing how he operates the business.

"As far as me," he said, "I'm running this business just like I've always run this business."