Where Does Dana White Rank Among Sports' Most Powerful Leaders?
In the US, there are four major pro sports organizations: the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL.
Next week, the UFC is going to make their first attempt to hang with the big boys when they make their debut on FOX, and it obvious that Dana White and the Fertittas have high hopes for their new business opportunity.
While it will likely take a number of years for the sport to reach the level of the big four, the UFC has one major advantage over the rest of the sports leagues: Dana White.
White is the face of the UFC and he has helped the sport grow immensely over the last decade, with his no-nonsense approach to business separating him from the rest of the MMA world.
But White is still relatively unknown compared to Roger Goodell and David Stern, but as a leader of the sports world, he ranks right up there with the rest of the leaders of the major sports organizations.
5. Gary Bettman
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Gary Bettman has had an up-and-down career as the commissioner of the NHL.
When he first started in the mid-'90s, Bettman expanded the league into new markets, but he was attacked by hockey purists, as the teams he added were mostly in the southern US, an unproven hockey market.
On top of the expansion difficulties, he has also failed in labor negotiations twice, leading to lockouts in 1994 and 2004.
4. Bud Selig
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Tenure: Acting commissioner (1992-1998), Commissioner (1998-Present)
While Bud Selig has mostly avoided the labor problems of other sports, other than a lockout in 1994, his legacy has been forever tarnished due to the Steroid Era peaking during his tenure.
Selig has come under fire for not taking the necessary steps to avoid performance enhancing drug use until it was too late, and although he has taken steps to rid the league of PED’s over the last decade, many agree that the damage was already done.
3. David Stern
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For years, David Stern was considered the best commissioner in modern sports, but his recent struggles in negotiating the NBA labor deal have made him a controversial figure.
Stern was excellent for so many years that it is tough not to rank him first overall based on past history alone, but due to his recent struggles and the fact that he is nearing retirement, he falls down the list a bit.
2. Roger Goodell
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Although he has been in charge of the biggest sports organization in the US for just five years, Roger Goodell has already had his ups and downs.
While Goodell’s Personal Conduct Policy has been mostly successful, he had a rough summer, as the NFL went through a major labor lockout.
The players openly complained that Goodell did not have their best interests at heart, which is the worst possible scenario for a sports commissioner.
Goodell did end up making sure the season started on time, which is why he ended up ahead of Stern.
1. Dana White
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Although he doesn’t have to deal with labor strikes like the rest of the guys on the list, White has done everything else so much better that he has to take the top spot.
White has somehow made a sport that was illegal in most of the US just 20 years ago into a worldwide phenomenon, opening new markets while strengthening old ones.
Dana was also on the social media bandwagon before everyone else, encouraging his fighters to get Twitter accounts and even giving out twitter-related bonuses as a reward.