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How Dana White became the king of MMA – A real rags to riches story

Dana White recently claimed Conor McGregor would face the winner of Tony Ferguson vs Khabib Nurmagomedov
Dana White confirmed a big fight could be on the cards for Conor McGregor (Getty)

Dana White is possibly the biggest name in the MMA world as he turned the fortunes of the UFC around, almost single-handedly

Joe Rogan, a UFC commentator and American personality, once joked during his podcast that the only person more powerful than Dana White was the United States President.

While that might not be true completely, there is no doubt that White is one of the biggest names in the world of sport.

Joe Rogan is one of the big names in the UFC
Joe Rogan enters the octagon during the UFC 225: Whittaker v Romero 2 event at the United Center on June 9, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

The 51-year-old has a reported net worth of $500million and most of that has come thanks to his hustle in the MMA business.

While White rakes in millions thanks to the UFC, he wasn’t always at the top. The American gave up a lot to achieve his dream, and here is his rags to riches story.

From a college drop out to the king of MMA

White began boxing at the age of 17 and was part of two colleges. However, he opted to leave after the first semester both times and decided to take up boxing training as a job.

Joe Pompliano shared further details of Rogan’s incredible rise and it all started when he was just 19.

White decided to leave a casino job in Boston and was certain of making it into the fight game. The American cold-called boxing great Peter Welch to learn everything there is to learn about the fight business.

Dana White Who owns UFC
Dana White is the current president of the UFC (Image credit: Getty)

Pompliano added that White spent three years learning from him and didn’t earn anything during the time.

Things took a major twist for White as he received a call from the Irish Mob and Whitey Bulger as they wanted him to clear a $2,500 debt.

White added that he didn’t have this much money on him and he literally bought a ticket to Vegas the next minute and left.

A switch to the UFC

This is where White fell in love with MMA and switched over from Boxing. White was able to manage top stars like Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz but the MMA game didn’t make a lot of money back then.

The current UFC president was negotiating with former UFC owner Bob Meyrowitz and he claimed the UFC didn’t make enough money.

Khabib Nurmagomedov and Dana White speak during a previous press conference
UFC President Dana White (R) speaks with UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov (Photo by Isaac Brekken/Getty Images)

White called up Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta and the trio were able to buy the UFC for $2million. However, most of the assets of the UFC had been sold and the trio had to start with almost nothing.

White was named as the President with a 9% stake in the new company as the Fertitta brothers funded the UFC purchase.

White then worked hard to build the image of the UFC and the popularity of MMA in the Octagon started to grow.

The fruits of labour

In 2016, the UFC raked in an incredible $600 in revenue. WME-IMG wanted to buy the UFC and they got the deal for $4billion.

Dana White took home $360m from this UFC sale to WME-IMG while the Fertitta brothers also got a huge sum.

White has a net worth far greater than some of the top UFC stars, but that is due to his incredible business sense and risk-taking ability.

Dana White shared this pictue of the Octagon by the beach at UFC Fight Island
Dana White shared this picture of the Octagon by the beach at UFC Fight Island (Twitter)

The 51-year-old also launched the Contender Series to find new stars and has a deal with ESPN which ensures the UFC gets primetime on possibly the biggest sports network in the world.

The UFC has deals with several other outlets around the world and that has made it one of the fastest-growing brands in the world.

Events are held across continents and White even built Fight Island, an exclusive zone in Abu Dhabi, just to host UFC fights.

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