Dana White has undoubtedly been a central figure in the success of the UFC. The 51-year-old helped the promotion become a multi-billion dollar business, thanks to his determined attitude and sagacious marketing techniques.
Despite being a massive fan of the fight game, White has never competed in the UFC. He became the president of the company in 2001 after its erstwhile owners, Semaphore Entertainment Group (SEG), sold the promotion to Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta.
SEG apparently sold all the assets of the company to avoid bankruptcy, and left the new owners with just an octagon that White once referred to as "old".
Dana White and the Fertitta brothers built the UFC anew that introduced the sport of MMA to mainstream audience. They later decided to commence 'The Ultimate Fighter', a reality TV series and MMA competition, which turned out to be massively influential.
Even though White has been associated with the UFC for two decades now, he has never been offered to sport the four-ounce UFC gloves and compete inside the octagon. However, the 51-year-old nearly challenged a former UFC legend in an amateur boxing clash.
When Dana White almost fought Tito Ortiz in a boxing match
Before becoming the president of the company, Dana White was a manager to Tito Ortiz, the former UFC light heavyweight champion. Following White's appointment as the promotion's president, things went south between him and Ortiz.
They shared a deep animosity among themselves, so much so that the duo nearly exchanged blows inside a boxing ring.
In 2007, Dana White and Tito Ortiz agreed to fight each other in an amateur boxing match. The UFC president claimed he trained for months in the lead up to the fight, but Ortiz backed out at the last minute.
"He challenged me. [I] trained for it, I brought in like real guys, I spent serious time really training for this fight, and I was absolutely gonna do it. He blinked. I absolutely would've won that boxing match," White told TMZ.
In an interview with Conan O'Brien, White also mentioned that he was involved in a real fist fight with Ortiz. He said Ortiz jokingly put him in a neck crank and refused to let him go, which infuriated White. He then started punching his former client in the ribs. The two were later separated by the Fertitta brothers.