Born in Manchester, Connecticut, in 1969, Dana White Jr. was raised by his maternal family for most of his childhood. White did several odd jobs before venturing into combat sports.
At 17 years of age, Dana White picked up boxing gloves and began his combat sports training. White went on to graduate from Hermon High School in Maine in 1987. The Irish-American worked as a bouncer at two hotels (The Black Rose and Boston Harbor Hotel) in Boston before becoming a bellman at The Four Seasons.
In an interview with Graham Bensinger, the UFC honcho elaborated on the different jobs he worked in his younger years.
"From the time I was 17 till I turned 19, I actually had a lot of jobs. I was a bouncer at the Black Rose in Boston. I worked at the Boston Harbor Hotel. I worked at the Four Seasons as a bellman. I did paving, the guys that go out and pave the road - the hardest job I've ever had in my life. That was the job that showed me what real work was, man..." said Dana White.
Dana White then started giving boxing lessons to earn a livelihood. The classes were largely attended by businessmen and housewives who wanted to stay fit. As business flourished, White and his partner, Peter Welch, ventured into running regional health clubs.
With growing memberships, Dana White's 'boxercise' initiative gained notoriety. So much so that the Boston native was reportedly threatened by mobster Whitey Bulger. The crime boss tried to strong-arm White in order to extort $2,500. This forced White to leave Boston and relocate to Las Vegas.
"I literally hung up the phone, picked up the phone and called Delta and bought a ticket to Vegas," said Dana White.
How did Dana White end up becoming UFC president?
Prior to building the biggest MMA promotion in the world, Dana White used to work as a manager for Tito Ortiz and Chuck Liddell. In 2001, after Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta acquired the UFC for $2 million, White was instated as the president of the promotion.
"We bought this thing (the UFC) for $2 million. And I didn't know what was going to happen. They called me in one day, and they said, 'We want you to be the president of the UFC.' We'd never done anything in television production before, but we knew exactly what we wanted. And we wanted to build the UFC into the biggest brand in the sport," said White.