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Does Dana White need a vacation?

There’s no doubt that Dana White has the weight of the world on his shoulders. He’s the most prominent power broker in one of the world’s fastest growing sports. White is under constant pressure because every five minutes some new company is popping up trying to knock the UFC off its lofty perch that is located high above its peers.

So yeah, I get it, being the president of the UFC is a high-pressure job that carries a lot of stress. However, Dana himself talks about how in the last eight years a bunch of promotions have started up and failed in their quest to take out number one. You’d think by now he’d take a lot of the startups with a grain of salt?

After all, the UFC is not only number one in the industry, it is number one with a bullet. The UFC is the only MMA promotion ever to be a legitimate success on PPV and it clearly has the deepest talent roster in all of MMA. Yet Dana White can’t seem to relax.

Instead of just brushing off questions about Fedor and the EliteXC and CBS deal, it seems like he just explodes at the mere mention of them. Instead of just responding by saying, “Yeah, that’s great for EliteXC, but we just got Anheuser-Busch” and focusing on the UFC, he’s been launching into angst-filled tirades. First, there was the post-UFC 82 press conference. Then, there was the recent interview with Carlos Arias in the Orange County Register. And now, there’s a new interview in the Boston Herald in which Dana sounds off.

The expletives were in full effect when Dana started discussing the competition:

“The next company that was going to take me out has been coming for the last eight years,” White told the Herald last week. “Every time somebody puts something new together, it’s been ’Oh, these guys are gonna kick Dana’s (expletive) and put his ego in check.’ There ain’t anybody kicking our (expletive). It isn’t going to happen this year with CBS and Elite XC or any year.”

But when Dana was asked to address some recent comments from a Yahoo! interview in which EliteXC President Gary Shaw claimed White’s ego got in the way of a possible deal with CBS, Dana really let it rip:

“We’ll see who’s around in five years, me or Gary Shaw. There’s some ego for you,” White said. “The reality is I know what the (expletive) I’m doing and Gary Shaw doesn’t. If you go and search Gary Shaw and mixed martial arts (on the Internet), this guy was saying five years ago that mixed martial arts was a joke. (He said) it’s not a real sport, these guys are barroom brawlers. Now that fat, bloated (expletive) is running around acting like he loves mixed martial arts.”

In reading Dana’s comments in recent interviews, it just seems like he’s a little stressed out. I don’t know; does Dana need a vacation or a hug? The UFC has achieved so much success under his guidance but I just wonder if the guy has the ability to enjoy any of it? Sometimes I wonder if there might be a point where White gets on the verge of burning out?

I hope it never gets to that point because the sport has grown so much with Dana at the forefront but I wonder if anything is being accomplished when he goes off on these angry tirades?

35 COMMENTS
  • mike wolfe says:

    Dana will never say anything subtly if he can say it (expletive) bombastically. But style points aside, he’s right so far. Last night’s Elite show looked really bush league compared to even a “mediocre” UFC card, or one of its Spike broadcasts showcasing up-and-coming talent. Couldn’t compare to WEC cards, either.

  • mattio says:

    Five Ounces is a great MMA News website, one of the few I check on a regular basis. But these attacks on Dana have to stop. Is there one MMA internet writer who has the balls to not criticise every little thing Dana White says?

    I’m pro-Dana. He is one of the few media figures who tells it how he sees it. He’s never heard the phrase ‘no comment’ and he has zero canned answers in his memory bank. That is a good thing in my book.

    (If anybody reading this website is a fan of Scarface, Goodfellas, Guns N Roses, gangsta rap or blue stand up comedy, they should shut their face about how they are offended about Dana’s liberal use of the F word.)

    It would be one thing if there was magical promoter out there who was running circles around UFC and Dana White, but there isn’t. Not even close. The only promoter doing a hell of a job right now is Dana White. He should get a little leeway from the MMA media. Right now he gets none and it’s tiring.

    When Dana does something wrong (like let the lightweight champ test positive for steroids and not immediately strip him of the belt because he’s a friend), put his feet to the fire. When he is just speaking his mind, let him be. Ha ha.

  • Greg Urban says:

    The hug. the hug for sure.

  • ufcfan says:

    i’m pro dana for the most part…the guy has passion for the sport
    he just doesn’t channel appropriately a lot of the time. i agree with the sam
    that the profanity laced tirades need to end. dana brings up a lot of valid points though…gary shaw, mark cuban are in this for the money he just doesn’t go about the right way.

    if fedor ends up in the ufc, its a perfect example of why dana shouldn’t be doubted, if m-1 is giving up on fedor so fast (due to $$$ guarantees, mgmt etc.) doesn’t that show you something???

  • Brandt says:

    Mattio: Dana White does tell it like it is, but he sounds uneducated and threatened. White said last year that he spent seven years working to make MMA legitimate. How legit is it when the president of the biggest MMA company can’t stop saying the f word every two minutes in a professional interview? Gee, I wonder why the press doesn’t give him much respect. Once he grows up, his company will grow up. Until then, he’s a trash talking egotistical whackjob in the eyes of anyone who reads or listens to his interviews. Only he can change this – and until he does, he’s going to be bashed everywhere by the MMA media.

  • mike wolfe says:

    You can’t really judge the interview from the written quotes. Body language and tone of voice make a big difference, and you don’t get that from the writing. For example, how many times have you heard somebody say “nice one” or “nice job” in a sarcastic tone of voice? If you just read the words, you could miss the whole gist of the statement. Dana’s style of communication is very direct, but his recorded interviews don’t sound defensive or stressed.

  • Ian says:

    I can’t stand all this “Anti Dana, Pro Dana” stupidity. Here’s a newsflash for those of you too mentally inept to be able to process the concept that you can criticize someone, and not necessarily be against them. Much the same way you can praise someone, and not necessarily be for them.

    It’s not always black and white, and it’s not always you’re either for us or against us.

    There is a middle road. You can recognize that Dana has been tremendously important for the growth of MMA, at the same time recognizing that he can at times, with his comments, be the very antithesis of what martial arts and the culture stands for.

    Integrity. Discipline. Respect. The ability to be humble. That’s the martial arts culture, and for better or worse, now represents a smaller base of fan than in years past.

    In my eyes, Dana is now catering to the new fan. This is a fan I can’t stand. They boo when a fight goes to the ground. They love talking down on fighters via the safety of the internet. And they confuse somebody who laces their news conferences with expletives as “keeping it real”, as opposed to somebody not smart enough to use a broader vocabulary.

    I don’t care how many F-bombs Dana drops, that won’t make me believe that Fedor is a farce, or that Randy Couture is gay, or that Gary Shaw is the anti-christ, or that MMA will never evolve past the UFC.

    I’d be Dana’s biggest fan if he actually did “keep it real”, and not just shill for whatever he thinks will make the UFC the fastest buck at the time.

    All that said, I’m still buying UFC events, and I hope they get their HBO deal. I want Dana and the UFC to succeed. I also want them to have competition. If someone can come in and run a better organization, and put on better fights with better production, and more respectful management, they’ll be on the receiving end of my patronage also.

    What it all amounts to is that even though the UFC is at the top right now, there’s room to do it better. A lot of us are waiting for that to happen.

  • Sam Caplan says:

    “Here’s a newsflash for those of you too mentally inept to be able to process the concept that you can criticize someone, and not necessarily be against them. Much the same way you can praise someone, and not necessarily be for them.”

    Ian, truer words have never been spoken. Thank you for being able to articulate a point that I’ve been unable to express as effectively as you just did.

  • dice says:

    I don’t understand this “Dana white tells it like it is”. I see it very often on this site and many others and I am unsure how people can come to this conclusion.

    Some of what he says is true, and some of it not. The guy tries to sell his brand while putting down everyone else’s. Any fighter that is not under his banner is “over rated, a farce, or not that good”. He is a businessman who only tells one side of a story, his. How that can be construed as “always telling the truth” is beyond me. People in positions of power aren’t known for “telling it like it is”, they are known for propagating.

    Mattio says
    “Five Ounces is a great MMA News website, one of the few I check on a regular basis. But these attacks on Dana have to stop. Is there one MMA internet writer who has the balls to not criticise every little thing Dana White says?”

    You really think this article was an attack? Caplan makes a point that Dana seems very hostile towards everyone else and that maybe the guy should take it easy. Where is the attack?

    Your last sentence in the statement I quote from you doesn’t make any sense. Why would it take more balls to go along with power than to criticize it? MMA writers who criticize Dana (eg Gross) are typically ostracized from the company and its events. It would be like someone in the Stalinist regime saying that it takes more balls to go along with communism rather than stand against it. Criticizing power or those who have it usually takes more courage than to just go along with it.

    PS Your comparison of Movies/music that contain profanity to Dana’s use of four letters words is probably the stupidest thing I have read this year. Have you ever heard of apples and oranges? Well this is like comparing apples to elephants. People who speak at public events are usually held to different standards than characters in R rated movies. And I wouldn’t say the major issue is that people are offended by his language; they just think it sounds extremely unprofessional.

  • mike says:

    I dont see this MMA Utopia us hardcore fans want ever happening. Just looking at my circle of friends , only a couple of us check these sites, fully understand everything the fighters are doing, etc yet EVERY UFC we have 20 guys and girls gettin together to watch UFC before we head out to party. We’ve attemped to show them other options, which i can enjoy, but it doesnt entice them. When we saw an elitexc/kimbo fight it put people to sleep and the prod is too b-movie level. And i have to agree. the ufc product and experience it creates is just greatly superior to anything else. sure i still watch cro-cop-nog on a lazy sunday but as far as the actual fights (most importantly), buzz and entertainment factor (live and ppv) and the plain economics the UFC is where its at. they wil never get all the top fighters cuz its impossible. as long as they get most of the best.

  • mike says:

    and i live in nyc so its not like there is nothing else to do. its really a great sight to see after goin out for a nice dinner girls (some even in their 30’s) in cocktail dresses cheering when chuck and wandy r goin at it or goin nuts after bj is licking the blood off his gloves. i just cant see any other org doing that. with work, life and MLB and the NFL who has time/energy for anything but top-level MMA.

  • mike says:

    well besides people like us, i was speaking of the casual fan.

  • dice says:

    # # 11 mike Says:
    March 9th, 2008 at 3:14 pm

    “and i live in nyc so its not like there is nothing else to do. its really a great sight to see after goin out for a nice dinner girls (some even in their 30’s) in cocktail dresses cheering when chuck and wandy r goin at it or goin nuts after bj is licking the blood off his gloves. i just cant see any other org doing that. with work, life and MLB and the NFL who has time/energy for anything but top-level MMA.”

    Now your just bragging. j/k

    I will say that my MMA experiences seem quite different from yours though.

  • Mark says:

    As a casual fan that has watched from the beginning, (bought all the Pride, UFC and TKO PPVs with my other 40+ year old buds) I look for an unbiased, knowledge based commentary to support / hype our events. Sam claims he is unbiased, his writing indicates something different.

    I like this sight. It appears to be one of the first to break news, but the UFC bashing is pushing people that just want the news away. Please, just the fight updates, injuries, interviews etc. Save the BS opinions for you and your buds at the pub.

    As an example, the article you stated from the Boston paper, exposed the Dana ego (I think we all agree he should tone it down a little) but did not provide personal commentary. A credible resource showing unbiased reporting. I hope they expand their mma coverage. It would kill this site and Sherdog.com.

  • mike says:

    get a group of girls, get em buzzed and show them sick fights (maybe even a shirtless roger huerta, hahaha….no homo) and u got mma fans for life. seriously, i love introducing people to mma, even if its just the UFC. these fighters all have great backstories and love for what they do and 99% of them are so humble and approachable, they deserve the limelight/rewards that mlb, nfl athletes recieve.

  • Cabelo says:

    I think Dana’s lack of political suave, and his explosions in the face of these questions really are a symptom of what has made him so successful with the UFC.

    He loves this sport and organization. Without reserve. His passion for fighting is on par with the most rabid fans (I include myself in that bracket) and this has allowed him to see the sport from a fans point of view, and see what moves needed doing to put the UFC where it is today.

    I don’t think you could say that Dana’s in it just for the love and not for the money. It wouldn’t be possible if they weren’t doing it for the money. But people like Mark Cuban and Gary Shaw are suspect when it comes to the question of loving MMA. I have no doubts that any rabid mma fan could sit down and talk fighting with Dana till they passed out from exhaustion.

  • Kelvin says:

    Dana White is the man.

  • Gygax says:

    I agree that Dana White is going way overboard with his attacks more and more. Its obvious that he’s feeling threatened now more than ever. But regarding Gary Shaw, he’s absolutely right! A few years ago the guy was on record slamming MMA, the same as Bob Arum. Now he sees a chance to make some money, and he jumps in as if he’s some kind of expert, telling the fans that he has all the top fighters in the sport. Then when you think he’s done, he floats rumors about taking Kimbo and putting him into boxing matches. This is who we want putting MMA on network TV?

    In the end, while Dana needs to chill out, what he says about Shaw is completely true.

  • j,doyle says:

    WELL im not anti dana white i think he has done a great job and every fighter wants to fight in the ufc unless there making more money elsewhere but the spoet is mma and i dont really give a {expletitive} about dana’s ego because the sport is eigger then him and the ufc we sure can learn some lessons from boxing maybe one day we will get there sounds like dana wants a monopoly in the mma industry well this is america buddy we compete and your not above losing just because you have been on top for 8 years or more my number one concern is the sport and the fighters and the fans

  • Sam Caplan says:

    “But these attacks on Dana have to stop. Is there one MMA internet writer who has the balls to not criticise every little thing Dana White says?

    “I’m pro-Dana….”

    Mattio, I am pro-Dana as well. How does this post constitute being an “attack?” Dana likes to call it how he sees it, so why can’t I?

    Seriously though, I am worried about the guy. In most cases, he’s getting worked up over nothing. He just landed Bud as a sponsor! He should kick back and celebrate.

  • cyphron says:

    Sam Caplan’s bias is showing through. What Dana said is the truth. Just because he speaks his mind without filtering his thought doesn’t make it any less true.

    Quote 1: Every single company has tried to become the next UFC, and each and everyone has failed so far. True.

    Quote 2: Gary Shaw and other boxing promoters trashed the UFC when it was a new sport. Now they want a piece of the pie so they embrace MMA. True.

    Dana White, even with his potty mouth, speaks the truth and has done more for the sport of MMA than any of these so called promoters. Gary Shaw is only in this for himself.

    There’s no reason to attack his character. He’s the uncouth mastermind of the UFC. Lets just accept it and let it go.

  • mike wolfe says:

    Guys like Dana have a hard time kicking back. That’s part of the reason he’s succeeded with the UFC. A “kick back” kind of guy probably wouldn’t have accomplished what he has.

    And here’s a newsflash for Ian and the self elected keepers of the flame/old guard: times change, and so does MMA. The new fans you disparage are essential to the success of the sport. I like other sports besides MMA, but that doesn’t mean I have to like the fans of other sports. The fact that you’ve been into MMA longer doesn’t give you any moral authority. Take a Midol or an enema, dude.

  • Echolocating says:

    I think Dana needs a vacation from people telling him that he needs a vacation. 😉

  • mattio says:

    “… you can criticize someone, and not necessarily be against them”

    Telling someone they need to go away is a lot different then offering some helpful criticism.

    This is the second time in the past week that the author has called out Dana White for something. It’s getting old.

  • Ian says:

    To #20 –

    Times change yes, but that doesn’t mean that if the change is negative that it recuses it from criticism, or we all just bury our heads in the sand if we disagree with the direction of the change. In fact, quite the opposite.

    Do you honestly think the NFL would have ultimately succeeded if the commissioner had been notoriously hard to deal with, and was dropping F-bombs in interviews left and right?

    No, and quite honestly, that doesn’t take someone being old guard to figure out, that just takes a little bit of common sense.

    Another point that you make. “The news fans I disparriage are essential to the growth of the sport.” I actually disagree with this.

    The new fans I disparriage are only essential to the temporary growth of the UFC, and are overall bad for MMA.

    The new fans that take the time to educate themselves about the sport, and respect the culture behind it, are essential to the growth of MMA, because they’ll be around a lot longer than someone that just wants to see Kimbo Slice in a ring or Brock Lesnar win a real fight.

    I’ll close on another one of your points. I want this sport to succeed. The fact that I’m “Old Guard” doesn’t give me the moral authority, but the fact that I’ll be here long after most of the casual fans that don’t really care about the sport other than seeing some boxing with smaller gloves, does.

    #22
    He said he needed a vacation, not a retirement home.

  • Sam Caplan says:

    “Telling someone they need to go away is a lot different then offering some helpful criticism.”

    Isn’t that the pot calling the kettle black? What “helpful criticism have you ever provided? The bottom line is that I have a right to express my opinion — after all, this is MY site. Trying to discourage me from expressing that opinion is just plain ignorant.

    “This is the second time in the past week that the author has called out Dana White for something. It’s getting old.”

    And you’re entitled to your opinion. But I’ll criticize him every day if I feel it’s appropriate. Since when do I have to adopt a Dana-free criticism policy? If people think for a second that I am going to stop expressing my sincere thoughts, they are kidding themselves and yes sir, you are free to stop reading the site. I’m not forcing anyone to come here.

  • Sam Caplan says:

    “Sam Caplan’s bias is showing through. What Dana said is the truth. Just because he speaks his mind without filtering his thought doesn’t make it any less true.”

    Talk about making things up. WHERE in the post to I insinuate what Dana is saying isn’t true? You managed to completely miss the point of the message.

    “There’s no reason to attack his character. He’s the uncouth mastermind of the UFC. Lets just accept it and let it go.”

    That’s the second inaccurate statement you’ve made. WHERE do I question his character in the post?

    Do you enjoy just making things up and trying to slander people in public? The only person I see with a bias here is you.

  • Sam Caplan says:

    “Please, just the fight updates, injuries, interviews etc. Save the BS opinions for you and your buds at the pub.”

    Wow, another guy trying to tell me what I can or can’t say on my own site. In regards to opinions, the feeling is mutual towards yours.

    “As an example, the article you stated from the Boston paper, exposed the Dana ego (I think we all agree he should tone it down a little) but did not provide personal commentary.”

    Almost the entire post is personal commentary. You’re just being a selective reader, which there’s nothing I can do about. You’re going to see what you want to see. BTW, I never said Dana had an ego. Yours words, not mine. Let’s be clear on that.

    As a general statement, I have no idea why so many people here are insisting that I can’t say anything negative about Dana White. Yes, I work for ProElite, but the bias that some of you are expressing is something you are pre-disposed to believing. So far, other than sheer criticism of Dana, no one has demonstrated how there’s an actual bias. Just because I work for ProElite (and not EliteXC, I do not answer to ANYONE there) doesn’t preclude me from saying something negative or positive (and I say a lot of positive about the UFC, yet people selectively ignore that fact) about the UFC, just like I say negative and positive things about each and every promotion in this industry. This week alone I’ve ripped Shaw for his penchant of promoting Kimbo as a boxer and I ripped EliteXC for their decision to promote a match between Shamrock and Berry — yet people choose to ignore these facts. I have to wonder why?

  • Sam Caplan says:

    “In the end, while Dana needs to chill out, what he says about Shaw is completely true.”

    That’s all I’m saying, man.

  • Sam Caplan says:

    “I like this sight. It appears to be one of the first to break news, but the UFC bashing is pushing people that just want the news away.”

    Oh yeah, Mark, BTW, that’s a completely FALSE statement. Our traffic continues to increase each passing month. Since June, we’ve beaten our previous month’s record for unique views and total page views each month. We not only break our record each month — WE SHATTER IT. Go to Alexa.com and enter FiveOuncesOfPain.com to see the TRUTH.

  • mattio says:

    I just want you to know that Dana gets crapped on every single day by a very large segment of the online MMA community (both fans and writers) and somebody with power should step up to the plate and do their best to put a stop to it. You seem to be the best candidate for that.

    I don’t care what you think of other promoters. I don’t care about their MMA orgs. I only care about the UFC and I only want to see the UFC prez get skewered when he deserves it. And he hasn’t done anything flagrantly wrong since the Sherk debacle last year. But the criticism keeps piling on and Dana hatred seeps into the core of every UFC related website, article and forum post on the internet. It’s absolute madness and you are part of the problem instead of part of the solution. Even worse, it now looks like you are proud of being part of the problem.

    Everybody reading this- try to count the number of times you see someone take a potshot at Dana on the internet this week. I bet it will be in the triple digits by the end of the week if you visit enough websites and forums.

  • Kogepan says:

    Dana White is a joke.

    Its like they some 15 year old ADD punk to be the spokesperson of the comapny. How does this guy even negotiate with Bud?

    “Hey, you f*cking piece of sh*t corporate suit. Fu*king sponsor my fu*king company or I’ll kick the living sh*t out of you. Or at least I’ll get some of my fu*king awesome fighters to do it”

  • Sam Caplan says:

    “I just want you to know that Dana gets crapped on every single day by a very large segment of the online MMA community (both fans and writers) and somebody with power should step up to the plate and do their best to put a stop to it. You seem to be the best candidate for that.”

    Mattio, who am I to tell people how to think and feel? If the UFC is unhappy with the way it is being covered, maybe they should reach out to the MMA media and open the lines of communication? And I’m not referring to my situation, because the UFC has made it clear they want nothing to do with me. But I’m talking about ALL the writers in this industry that don’t write for a parent company of their competitor.

  • Dukes says:

    I tend to agree with Dana on this. Shaw is your prototypical promoter. The cheesy track suit, the huge gut, the gold chains. I’m not saying that Dana is any better of a person than Shaw or vice-versa. But the argument can be made that Shaw’s success in boxing was on the decline and because of the success of the MMA in the USA (due nearly 100% to Dana and the UFC), Shaw has a second chance outside of boxing.

    I’ll tell you what. I knew Shaw was the type of guy he is when he announce Ninja Rua at the Lawler/Ninja press conference as “Ninjer Roo-uh”. As a promoter, isn’t one of the basics learning how to pronounce your fighter’s names correctly?

  • Rauhski says:

    Dana White is like scorched earth. If you piss him off he HATES you… for life. Post articles like this on your blog and you will get exactly that… he will hate you and it won’t go away.

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