White in 2015
Dana Frederick White Jr.
July 28, 1969
Manchester, Connecticut, U.S.
|Known for||Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC)|
|Net worth||US $500 million (2019)|
|Anne Stella (m. 1996)|
Dana Frederick White Jr. (born July 28, 1969) is an American businessman and the current President of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), which is the largest mixed martial arts (MMA) organization in the world. Under White's leadership, the UFC has grown into a globally popular multibillion-dollar enterprise and as of August 2019, White's net worth was assessed at $500 million.
Dana White Jr. was born in Manchester, Connecticut on July 28, 1969, the son of June and Dana White. He and his sister, Kelly, were raised by their mother and her family for the majority of their childhoods. White has said he is an Irish American. He began boxing at age 17 and graduated from Hermon High School in Maine in 1987.
White spent many of his early years residing in Ware, Massachusetts. He claims he left Boston for Las Vegas after being threatened by mobster Whitey Bulger and his associate Kevin Weeks. "He basically said, 'You owe us money'. It was like $2,500, which was like $25,000 to me back then, and said, 'You owe us money.' It was actually a guy named Kevin Weeks, who if you saw the trial he's Whitey's right-hand man. I'm sure he's very prominent in the movie, but yeah basically said I owed him some money, and I didn't pay him. This went on for a while and one day I was at my place and I got a call and they said, 'You owe us the money tomorrow by 1 o'clock'. I literally hung up the phone, picked up the phone and called Delta and bought a ticket to Vegas."
While working as a manager for Tito Ortiz and Chuck Liddell, White met Bob Meyerwitz, the owner of Semaphore Entertainment Group, the parent company of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. When White learned that Meyerwitz was looking to sell the UFC, he contacted childhood friend Lorenzo Fertitta, an executive and co-founder of Station Casinos, a former commissioner of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, and asked if he would be interested in acquiring the company. In January 2001, Lorenzo and his older brother Frank acquired the UFC for $2 million, which subsequently became a subsidiary of Zuffa. White was installed as the company's president.
White said that when he and the Fertittas acquired the UFC, all they received was the brand name "UFC" and an old octagon. The previous owners had stripped the company's assets to avoid bankruptcy, so much so that the UFC.com website had been sold to a company named User Friendly Computers. Over time, with White as president, the UFC developed into a highly successful business, and its gross revenue was $600 million in 2015. In July 2016, Zuffa was sold to a consortium of investors led by WME-IMG for $4.025 billion. White owned 9% of the company at the time of the sale. White announced he would continue in his role as president, and was given a stake in the new business.
In May 2017, the UFC announced White would host Dana White's Contender Series. Available exclusively through UFC Fight Pass, the promotion's digital streaming service, and licensed separately from the UFC brand, the show allows up and coming fighters the chance to showcase their talents in hopes that one day they may compete in the UFC.
In 2009, White used expletives and derogatory language when referring to mixed martial arts reporter Loretta Hunt because he was upset with reporting and comments made by her. During his interview, White used expletives and an anti-gay slur when referring to sources for some of those reports. While White said he "regretted" using an anti-gay slur, the Bleacher Report called that apology "backhanded".
White entered the boxing scene by co-promoting Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Conor McGregor due to McGregor being a fighter for UFC. In October 2017, White said at Freddie Roach's Wild Card West boxing club that he was "getting into boxing, 100 percent." White says that he wants to incorporate boxing into the company portfolio of the UFC.
White met his wife Anne (née Stella) when they were in the eighth grade and they married in 1996. They have two sons, Dana III and Aidan, and one daughter, Savannah. White values his privacy, and keeps Anne out of the public spotlight. White bought a mansion in Pine Island Court, Las Vegas in 2006 from Frank Fertitta III for $1.95 million. White bought three other mansions in the same area from October 2016 to June 2017 for a combined total of around $6.2 million. Demolition permits were issued for the houses, presumably with the intent of creating a mega-mansion for White and his family.
In 2011, White's mother, June, released the book Dana White, King of MMA: An Unauthorized Biography. June claimed that, since his success with the UFC, Dana "turned his back on his family and friends who were there for him when he needed help and support", and alleged that he regularly engages in infidelity with UFC ring girls, such as Rachelle Leah and Arianny Celeste.
White spoke at the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, where he endorsed Republican nominee Donald Trump. White said that Trump helped the UFC at its beginnings, allowing the UFC to host its first event under Zuffa ownership (UFC 30) at the Trump Taj Mahal when others venues refused to host the UFC. White said, "No arenas wanted us. This guy reached out, and he's always been a friend to me."
In a season 15 episode of History Channel's Pawn Stars (originally airing on February 5, 2018), White purchased over $60,000 worth of Katana swords including one of Rick Harrison's 16th-century Japanese Katana.
In 2010, White donated $50,000 for a liver transplant to Tuptim Jadnooleum, the daughter of "Kru Nai" Rattanachai, one of the instructors for Tiger Muay Thai and MMA in Phuket, Thailand.
In 2011, White donated $100,000 to his former high school to fund renovations to their athletic facilities.
In May 2012, White revealed that he had been diagnosed with Ménière's disease, a neurological disorder. He said, "It's like vertigo but on steroids." White claims that the disease was brought on because of a large fight he was involved in during his youth.
The UFC on Fuel TV 3: Korean Zombie vs. Poirier event was to be the first he had missed in 11 years with White staying home, adhering to medical advice. White is undergoing Orthokine treatment for Ménière's disease, which he says has greatly reduced his symptoms.