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Dana White Does it Again

Love him or hate him, you have to respect him.

I am a person who enjoys studying successful people. I like to know what they did to get where they are so I can take some of those qualities and apply them to my everyday life.

There may be no more intriguing human being on the planet to study than Dana White and his latest decision to bring Kimbo Slice into Season 10 of The Ultimate Fighter is proof positive of that.

As soon as Yahoo! Sports broke the news of the Slice signing Monday night, my phone started ringing off the hook with friends asking me if I could believe it.

Of course I can believe it. It’s the smart business move made by one of the smartest businessmen on the planet.

First, let’s get a couple of things out of the way. Kimbo is not a good MMA fighter and most likely never will be. I know it, you know it and White knows it.

So why sign him then if the guy can’t fight? That’s simple.

Say what you want about Slice’s fighting ability; he is one of the only non-UFC fighters that the average fan cares about. I’m not talking about you guys who come to Five Ounces of Pain every day.

I’m talking about the average Joe sports fan who still finds Chris Berman funny. Just for the record, Berman stopped being funny around 1997.

Think about it. Other than Tito Ortiz, who out there is a bigger draw than Slice? Fedor? No way. We all love Fedor because we are huge fight fans but do you think the average Joe on the street relates to Fedor?

The guy has never even been on American TV. Most average people haven’t seen him fight or know very little about him, so while Fedor is arguably the best fighter on the planet, he isn’t that mega draw yet.

White knows all this and he also knows that any organization that lands Slice instantly gets a huge drawing card. So why not make that organization the UFC?

The Ultimate Fighter TV show is losing steam. White already gave it a shot in the arm by naming Rashad Evans and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson the coaches for Season 10.

Now you throw in Slice, a guy White once called a “joke’ and a “bum” and you are talking about monster ratings for the UFC.

So in one fell swoop, White has not only prevented a rival promotion from signing one of the biggest free agents on the market, he brought the fighter in himself to drive up his own ratings. Brilliant.

If you want to witness White’s genius, tune into the “TUF” Season 10 Finale on December 5. If Kimbo makes it that far, it should be the most watched program ever on Spike TV and a huge moneymaker for White and the UFC.

Meanwhile, Strikeforce, Affliction and all the other organizations will be sitting there watching White with that smug smile on his face, knowing he got the best of them yet again.

But wait, here is the best part. If Slice does indeed win the show and earns a UFC contract, that’s when White gets his cake and eats it too.

Because like I stated above, there is no way he can hang with the likes of Gabriel Gonzaga, Cheick Kongo and the rest of the UFC’s heavyweight division. No way. He will be gone in a blink of an eye. White is basically using Slice to get what he wants and then throwing him away.

So in the end, White will have poached Slice from his rivals, made a ton of money for him and the UFC, produced record ratings for The Ultimate Fighter and proved that Slice couldn’t compete in the UFC like he stated all along.

How is that for smart?

13 COMMENTS
  • j4k3 says:

    Tom,

    I don’t think Dana is the greatest businessman of all time. Any successful person will tell you it is a combination of hard work and luck. I would also say it is a function of keeping it simple. Dana has done a great job of keeping the UFC about fighting and the fighters.

    I remember watching EliteXC and wondering WTF they were doing with dancing girls and musicians. TUF gives people a chance to get to know the fighters (love them or hate them) on a personal level. People become emotionally invested in the fighters.

    That was huge for Dana and the UFC. I doubt Dana or anyone else knew what kind of impact it would have for them when they agreed to create a new reality series. All they knew was that it was exposure for them. So I suppose I do respect him for being able to keep things simple and work to improve on the level of fighters.

    Jake

  • Austin says:

    Sounds like dana white to me.

  • tmckee13 says:

    Great article I completely agree Dana is very smart love him or hate him this is an awesome move by him. I think he is also doing to prove what he said was right that kimbo is a joke and like the article said it will bring in huge ratings

  • submissionist says:

    Great article Tom. Another side effect is that, if Slice makes it to the show’s finale, and wins it (which is very unlikely), he will have Slice in the UFC for less than half the money it would have taken to bring him in independently.
    Also, once the other heavyweights of the UFC kick Kimbo’s ass, his “market value” will be long gone, and therefore, all the UFC competitors will have “Kimbo’s leftovers”, instead of the big drawings he used to get.
    Cheers

  • GetItOn says:

    Tom, I am speaking just ticket sales on this but if you compare events that Kimbo has headlined vs events that Fedor has headlined you will find that the numbers are in favor of Fedor.

    Affliction : Banned – 14,832 attended the event
    Affliction : Day of Reckoning – 13,255 attended the event

    Elite XC : Heat – 9,414

    I am not sure what the numbers for TV viewers are in comparison, considering Affliction events are PPV’s. But I would say just by ticket sales alone you would have to say that Fedor is the bigger draw. I am taking into consideration that you stated the average Joe on the streets relates moreso to Kimbo but I disagree. I believe that the average Joe on the street doesn’t read Sports Illustrated religiously, however he probably watches CBS a little more often than he pays for PPV’s.

    Either way it’s a difference of opinion and I have found that you have made a good point and I could very well be wrong so I’m going to LOL at myself now and sit back and find pride in my statistics I found. Have a good day dude. : )

  • GetItOn says:

    And Tom I couldn’t agree with you more on White using Slice. I hope Slice proves us all wrong and really makes a name for himself. Or else it’s back to porno bodyguard who tries to touch the ladies “no no’s” while he is helping them out of the limos.

  • Jak says:

    Wait….

    Are you saying chris berman is not funny…

    :)

  • kidneybeans says:

    “You Have to respect him.” Actually I don’t have any respect for him at all. I can’t respect a man that acts the way he does, no matter what kind of businessman he is. A man earns my respect not through his business dealings but through his actions towards others. All dana White has earned from me is contempt.

  • Stan says:

    “Actually I don’t have any respect for him at all. I can’t respect a man that acts the way he does, no matter what kind of businessman he is.”

    I feel the same way about grizzly bears. I don’t respect their ability to rip me apart and eat me because I find their interpersonal skills and hygiene severely lacking.

    I don’t know that I quite agree that this particular move is such a great one for the UFC though. Short term, yeah it is great to keep Slice out of Strikeforce and possibly lock him into a contract rather cheaply compared to his market value. I get that. But the whole problem with Slice in EliteXC was that it was demeaning to the sport to put someone that far out of the big leagues into the spot light.

    If they really are watering down the TUF talent to give the guy a shot, filling it with NFL players because they have name recognition rather than talent, then this is a long-term bad move for the UFC and the sport as a whole. For the good of the sport, I hope he’s knocked viciously unconscious in the first 5 seconds of his first fight. A journeyman LHW did it with a weak jab, so it shouldn’t take much.

  • Angry Mike says:

    It’s all about the cost/benefit analysis. Slice could be very beneficial to UFC, and he wasn’t very expensive to “get.” Hardcores might be offended by his participation, but if he acts like an adult rather than an arrogant jerk, even they could be won over. And who knows? The guy might do better than everybody predicts. Most of the TUF fighters seem to freeze up, even the ones with experience. If Slice keeps his wits about him and actually fights rather than tentatively jabbing and circling like so many others on TUF, he could do well.

  • Cathedron says:

    I was told by some successful businessmen that everyone gets a lucky break, you just won’t be able to take advantage of it if you’re sitting on your ass. Considering that Dana ran the UFC at a huge deficit for years before the luck of TUF launched the UFC into the moneymaker it is now, I’d say he worked a long time for that luck. I respect that. The guy’s tenacious as a pitbull. And I have to respect the Fertittas for believing in him that much. I know I wouldn’t have.

    The best part, really, is that the UFC doesn’t have to pay a dime to get Kimbo to work for them. But I did get the feeling from Dana White that he is genuinely impressed that Kimbo actually stepped up and took him up on his offer.

  • buzzcramp says:

    For a couple of years now White has offered Kimbo a spot on TUF as a way to prove himself. The surprise here is that Kimbo accepted.

  • MMA-LOGIC says:

    “Hey Dana do you want to sign a guy that can bring you lots of money?”
    “Yeah sure”
    Pure genius.

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