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Does Dana White own the UFC?

Dana White
Dana White
Anurag Mitra
Modified 04 Jan 2021, 17:10 IST

Dana White is not the owner of the UFC. However, he is the current president as well as a shareholder in the world's premier MMA organization. The UFC is owned and operated by Endeavor Group Holdings along with Silver Lake Partners, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, and MSD Capital via Zuffa, LLC.

In July 2016, UFC's parent company, Zuffa was sold to WME-IMG for an estimated value of $4.025 billion. By the time, Dana White owned a 9% stake in the company. He later announced he would continue to work as the president of the promotion and that he was given a fresh stake in the business by the new owners.

In 2019, ESPN announced a five-year deal with the UFC worth $1.5 billion to stream the promotion's events on ESPN+ and its cable channels. Subsequently, Dana White signed a new seven-year contract to remain president of the UFC until 2026.

Dana White helped the UFC grow into a multi-billion dollar organization

Under White's able leadership, the promotion has grown into a globally popular multibillion-dollar enterprise. White initially worked as a manager for UFC Hall-of-Famers Tito Ortiz and Chuck Liddell. It was then that he met Bob Meyrowitz, the owner of Semaphore Entertainment Group, which was back then, the parent company of the UFC.

Once he figured that Meyerwitz was planning to sell the promotion, White immediately reached out to his childhood friend Lorenzo Fertitta and convinced him to acquire the company. Lorenzo and his elder brother Frank acquired the UFC for $2 million in January 2001. Dana White was named as the company's president. Since then, the UFC kept growing as and its estimated net-worth now stands at around $ 7 billion, per White.

When it started, MMA was seen as 'human cockfighting' by many people and the Athletic Commissions weren't keen on accepting it as a legitimate sport. The unrestricted violence and absence of solid rules made it difficult for the sport to gain mainstream popularity.

However, Dana White used his entrepreneurial and forward-thinking mindset to change things around. He retained the violent nature of the sport but introduced a set of standardized rules and that's when MMA started being recognized as a legitimate and mainstream sport.

White also managed to get the UFC on television via 'The Ultimate Fighter' and that's when the promotion started becoming a household name throughout the United States, and later, across the globe.

Published 04 Jan 2021, 17:10 IST
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