5 celebrities who are close friends of UFC boss Dana White

Dana White speaks at the Republican National Convention with Donald Trump standing beside him
Dana White speaks at the Republican National Convention with Donald Trump standing beside him
Sunderam Saxena

UFC president Dana White is a powerful personality. The world's biggest MMA promotion, UFC, has grown into a multi-billion dollar enterprise under White's leadership. Since becoming the president of the UFC in 2001, Dana White has met a huge number of influential people, politicians and celebrities for various reasons.

In the process, the UFC boss has also made more than a handful of friends in all sorts of industries, be it from sports, political circles or Hollywood. To be frank, it would be unbelievable to scroll through Dana White's contacts list and see the big names resting on his phone.

On that note, let's look at five celebrities who are close friends with UFC president Dana White.

#5 - Olivia Munn

Dana White with Olivia Munn at an event | Photo via Just Jared
Dana White with Olivia Munn at an event | Photo via Just Jared

Hollywood star Olivia Munn is a massive UFC fan and also Dana White's close friend. The friendship between the two took centrestage in 2012 when UFC president Dana White posted a drunken selfie with Olivia Munn on the night of the UFC 146 main event.

The UFC 146 main event was canceled with Alistair Overeem getting pulled out after a drug test came back positive. While Dana White was clearly annoyed, he had his friend Olivia Munn to cheer him up at the post-event party.

Dana White's tweets were as follows:

"Me and my buddy @Oliviamunn are having a blast 2 nite no matter how shitty my day was!!!!!!!"
"Forgot the pic with my girl @oliviamunn !!! Might be dr#*¥ and don’t give a Fu@#"
Dana White and Olivia Munn at the UFC 146 post-event party
Dana White and Olivia Munn at the UFC 146 post-event party

Although Dana later deleted his drunken tweets, it was a bit too late as the posts were already viral on the internet.

Olivia Munn later cleared the air on her relationship with UFC president Dana White, while taking a dig at Alistair Overeem for failing his drug tests. The Hollywood star tweeted:

"Good news! Tests results came back POSITIVE on our best friendship!!!"

#4 - Snoop Dogg

Dana White with Snoop Dogg
Dana White with Snoop Dogg

Dana White and Snoop Dogg's friendship goes way back to 2009 when the two were betting money against each other on NBA teams. In 2009, Dana White paid Snoop Dogg $20,000 after losing his wager on the Boston Celtics winning the NBA Championship.

Ever since, the bonhomie between Dana White and Snoop Dogg has been going strong. White has appeared a few times on Snoop Dogg's GGN News. In 2010, the UFC boss was seen dancing alongside Snoop Dogg on-stage at one of the rapper's shows in Las Vegas.

Dana White and Snoop Dogg's friendship was on full display once more when the duo bet $1 million on the Jake Paul vs Ben Askren fight. The UFC boss's money was on Ben Askren, who was supposedly representing the MMA community.

When Jake Paul KO'd Ben Askren in the first round, Snoop Dogg was heard shouting in the mic:

"Dana White, where my money at?"

#3 - Donald Trump

Donald Trump introducing UFC boss Dana White at a Republican National Convention
Donald Trump introducing UFC boss Dana White at a Republican National Convention

Dana White has been friends with former POTUS Donald Trump since 2001. Trump convinced Dana White to host the UFC 30 event at one of his properties in New Jersey - the Trump Taj Mahal:

"I'm not a political person as it is but.. I've been friends with this guy (Trump) for 20 years," Dana White told MMA Junkie of his friendship with Donald Trump ahead of Fight Island 3.

The former US president has even called Dana White multiple times to speak about fights in the UFC. Dana White revealed his telephone conversation with Donald Trump after Joaquin Buckley's highlight reel KO of Impa Kasangaay in 2020:

"I talked to the president and he says to me, 'Oh my God, this Buckley knockout … have you ever seen anything like this?' And I said, 'Mr. President, nobody has ever seen anything like this. It's the most viral thing on the internet.'" - Dana White

With UFC being one of the first sports organisations to return after the covid-19 global lockdown with UFC 249, Donald Trump congratulated Dana White. White said he knew UFC 249 was a success when he got a cageside call from the President:

Dana White told The Athletic in May 2020, "He (Donald Trump) said, 'Congratulations, you did it. I knew you were the guy. I knew you'd get it done.' This guy has been such a good friend to me. He's unbelievable. He's awesome. I love the guy. I'd do anything for him."

The UFC president has also spoken at the Republican National Convention.


#2 - Mark Wahlberg

Mark Wahlberg and Dana White hand out during a UFC event
Mark Wahlberg and Dana White hand out during a UFC event

Dana White and Mark Wahlberg are super famous in their respective fields today. However, the duo's friendship goes a long way back to when they were still trying to make it big.

Dana White shifted from Boston to Los Angeles in 1997-1998, moving into an apartment with Mark Wahlberg. The UFC boss revealed that he even trained Mark Wahlberg in boxing for four months for the movie Boogie Nights.

In an interview with The Boston Magazine, Dana White spoke about how he met Mark Wahlberg. White said:

"Right when I went back, I probably moved in with Wahlberg in ’96 or ’97 in L.A. He had just got done filming Boogie Nights and I was literally with him through all the Boogie Nights s**t. I saw Boogie Nights more times before the movie came out than any other movie I had ever seen."

Throwing light on his experiences living with Mark Wahlberg, Dana White said:

"I lived with Wahlberg for probably five months. He was a great roommate, I had a blast... Wahlberg is a good athlete. The house that we lived in when I was with him was a house that he rented. Now he’s got this house, he’s got like a real Celtics basketball court in his backyard. He’s got a whole boxing gym. It’s pretty cool."

Mark Wahlberg is an MMA junkie. When the UFC was acquired by Zuffa in 2016, the Hollywood star was one of the first celebrities to acquire a stake in the world's premier MMA promotion.

Wahlberg often attends UFC events and has even worked with former UFC star Ronda Rousey for the film Mile 22.


#1 - Shaquille O'Neal

Dana White, Shaquille O'Neal and Forrest Griffin
Dana White, Shaquille O'Neal and Forrest Griffin

NBA legend and former Lakers star Shaquille O'Neal got to know the UFC through Victor Belfort on a vacation in Hawaii.

Shaquille O'Neal met UFC president Dana White through a mutual friend of the two named Perry Rodgers. Shaq gave a teaser about his relationship with Dana White and said:

"Dana and the Fertita brothers did something for me that nobody else has ever done.. and I'm not going to tell you what it is but I respect this man and respect what he has done for the business."

Dana White is also a board member on The Shaquille O'Neal Foundation.

Shaq was featured in the advertisement for the first edition of The Ultimate Fighter and, according to Dana White, "he killed it". Dana White told ESPN:

"Shaq did the first Ultimate Fighter. That season, he shot the commercial for us. And he killed it. It was cool and different than anything else done in fighting. Anytime I have ever needed Shaq, he was there. And anytime he ever needs me, I’m here. We’ve been friends for a long time. Forget about all the celebrity stuff, you couldn’t meet a more quality human being than Shaquille O’Neal."

Being an MMA fan, Shaq once visited the UFC Performance Institute in Las Vegas on an episode of Big Chicken Shaq. He sparred with former UFC light heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin and bantamweight fighter Claudia Gadelha. His friend Dana White was refereeing the fight.

Edited by John Cunningham
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