Dana White is consistently cited as one of the main reasons the UFC was able to continue trading in the early days, when the company was in huge danger of folding completely.
With the backing of wealthy business partners Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta, White planted a seed that would grow into a monster.
The Fertitta brothers bought the UFC for only $2 million back in 2001. With the combination of White’s love of the sport, work ethic, and with the financial backing of the Fertitta brothers, White has navigated the company through many hurdles over the course of its existence.
Since the early days, the UFC has blossomed into a juggernaut and has trounced all its rivals in the world of MMA.
Competitors like the fabled Pride Fighting Championships and StrikeForce have fallen by the wayside, while more recent challengers like One Championship and Bellator haven’t felt like true competition, often taking fighters released by the UFC.
Controversies with Fighter Pay
Dana White is also well respected in the industry for his straight-talking persona, lack of a filter and being an excellent interviewee – often producing television gold.
However, he has for some time now been embroiled in several controversies, such as fighter pay. Other than megastar fighters like Connor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov, the UFC often underpays their fighters in terms of revenue share from events.
Organisations like One Championship and Bellator pay a higher revenue share and there have been several high-profile fighters leaving the UFC and receiving better terms elsewhere.
The lack of a fighters’ union has contributed to the UFC underpaying their fighters for years.
Fighters are increasingly speaking out against the UFC, with stars such as Jon Jones and Jorge Masvidal causing storms, just this year, with threats to quit over this issue.
Recent Job Cuts
White’s claims as to the staggering current value of the UFC, will come as a surprise to many, as it follows news of the UFC cutting about 60 fighters from their books.
Fan favourite and recent middleweight title challenger Yoel Romero found himself joining the exodus. This departure has caused uproar online, and it seems many more will follow.
“It’s not just Yoel. We’re going to go through some serious cuts here at the end of the year. We’re probably going to have 60 cuts before the first of the year. Yoel has lost four of his last five.
Current UFC Valuation
In a recent interview, White has claimed that the UFC’s value has reached $9 billion or perhaps even $10 billion.
This would see a huge increase on the $4 billion valuation set in 2016 as their parent company, Zuffa was purchased by Endeavor.
In an interview with Aaron Bronsteter of The Sports Network, White stated that the UFC is ‘probably worth around $9bn or $10bn now.’
The UFC was one of the last sporting organisations to stop events, before the initial lockdowns during the Covid-19 pandemic and was one of the first to start events after.
All possible steps were taken to keep the show on the road. As has been a trademark of White and the UFC over the years, both have battled through the tough times into the greener pastures ahead.
Since 2001, the resolute leadership of this partnership has been critical in driving the UFC to become a powerful institution in the MMA world, with the value of the company ever-increasing.