UFC President Dana White Signed a New Contract… Let’s Look at the Biggest Mistakes He’s Made as President…
Without Dana White, the UFC wouldn’t be the organization that it is today. You’ve got to give the bald one some appreciation for what he’s achieved, because his charisma and energy drove the momentum for the organization to power through its darkest days.
Rightly or wrongly, White has ensured that he’s seen as synonymous with the promotion. After the Fertitta brothers sold up and walked away with $4 billion, White stayed on as president. Now he’s set to remain with the company deep into the ESPN era, as he’s just signed a new 7 year contract.
Of course, while he’s made a lot of smart decisions – and his role in the ESPN deal is probably one of the time – White has also made a lot of errors. Let’s take a look at 10 of the biggest he’s made in his career.
10: Not Signing Fedor Emelianenko
Widely regarded as the greatest heavyweight in the admittedly short history of MMA, ‘The Last Emperor’ is also seen as the best fighter never to sign for the UFC. Of course, this is partially the Russian’s own fault, because of issues with his own independent promoter, but surely if White wanted him, he could have got him and turned Fedor into MMA’s biggest star.
9: Fallout with Ben Askren
It’s incredible that Ben Askren is in the UFC after Dana White previously vowed that ‘Funky’ would never fight for his organization. He’s slammed everything about Askren, from his fighting style to his personality. White has had a lot of fallouts with fighters, but arguably this was the dumbest move. UFC commentator Joe Rogan practically begged White to talk to the former Bellator and ONE welterweight champion. Now at the age of 35, he’s finally on the biggest stage, but it should have been before he entered the twilight of his career.
8: UFC 200 Mess
UFC 200 was supposed to be one of the greatest events in the history of the promotion. As a massive anniversary, the UFC’s biggest star was booked to fight in a rematch against Nate Diaz, who had just beaten him and shocked the world. However, after attending an event in Dublin where a fighter died after a late stoppage at the hands of one of McGregor’s teammates, ‘The Notorious’ wanted to be left alone to train.
Instead, the UFC pushed him to promote the event. As a result, White had his first major fallout with McGregor. Brock Lesnar was dug up and shoved in a co-main event – which would later turn into a no-contest after he tested positive for PEDs. The whole situation was a mess.
7: Signing Wife-Beaters
A whole host of domestic abusers have been signed by the UFC. For a sport that struggles to break free from the stereotype that its just meatheads beating on each other, this isn’t exactly going to improve its image. Of course, we’re not saying they should be able to predict what fighters are going to do, but surely it’s not a good idea to sign someone with that on their record.
The likes of Travis Browne, War Machine, Thiago Silva, Anthony Johnson, Cody East, Jason Millar and Greg Hardy all had committed such offences before signing for the prestigious promotion. Not a good look at all.
6: Swallowing the Opposition
The UFC has an issue with competition. It’s swallowed up Strikeforce, PRIDE, and the WEC, while it refuses to do cross-promotion. While in the past this might have worked, it’s causing problems in the current era. If the likes of Strikeforce or the WEC were kept as a sort of second-tier feeder promotion, UFC events would be so much more streamlined and without the bloated events, we get so often these days full of names we’ve never heard of.
Now that Bellator, ONE and RIZIN are growing and cross-promoting, the UFC is suddenly facing real competition. They’ve gone for quantity over quality, and it’s not entirely worked.
5: Just Let the Ultimate Fighter Die Already
Why is this still a thing? The Ultimate Fighter was brilliant… way back in 2005 when it first started. It’s just an outdated concept now and it makes no sense to keep it going, especially with Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender and Dana White’s Looking for a Fight hitting the heights with audiences. Who is the last Ultimate Fighter you can remember?
4: Fan Disrespect
One of White’s most popular traits is also his Achilles heel. He’s loud and outspoken, which made him highly popular in the early days. Now though, he’s often the butt of jokes because he’s blatantly lied so many times. White has also targeted fans directly for complaining about pricing and top-heavy cards.
The UFC president showed his ultimate disrespect when he moved an entire card from Las Vegas to Los Angeles on a week’s notice, just because of Jon Jones. No thoughts were spared for the many fans travelling from Sweden who had bought tickets.
3: Trump Love
Now we’re strictly apolitical and we’re absolutely not targeting the controversial US president here. Dana White is openly a massive supporter of the US president, and whether you love him or loathe him, you’ve got to admit that Trump is a polarizing figure. His supporters adore him, but many people domestically and internationally hate him.
With a whole host of Latin American fighters on the card does it make sense to be bringing Colby Covington to the White House and embracing him? Sometimes you shouldn’t wear your colours openly. Just not good for business.
2: Big Names Over Big Fights
Now White isn’t entirely responsible for this, but as the promotion’s president, you can guarantee that he has a big say in what’s been happening of late with the UFC. Would CM Punk have been given two fights under the Fertitta brothers? Would we have so many interim titles or double champion shots?
The answer is no because the Fertittas were wise enough to know that the hardcore fans were the ones providing the profit and would see through all of this nonsense. Not in the new era… White might have charisma but arguably lacks pragmatism.
1: Self-promotion Instead of Fighter Promotion
It’s easy to hate Colby Covington. He’s obnoxiously loud and has said a lot of dumb stuff. However, you could argue that without his own efforts you would never have heard of him. The same goes for Conor McGregor whose rise was largely due to his own efforts.
The UFC has long put brand over fighter. This is because they’re afraid of an individual becoming bigger than the brand, which ironically means that they are stifling their chances of stardom. Sometimes you have to take a risk to grow. Instead White has ensured that he is the face of the promotion instead of his fighters. Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey are the exceptions to this rule.