When it comes to combat sports, few promoters in the world can compete with the President of Ultimate Fighting Championship, Dana White. Born in Connecticut before being raised in Massachusetts and then moving to Las Vegas (read further to find out why he moved to Sin City), White and his brother, Frank, bought the UFC in 2001. For an organization that struggled to find its footing in mainstream markets, Dana White helped build it into a multibillion-dollar conglomerate, as well as the biggest MMA promotion on the planet.
With all this said, White, as a public figure, has never been the most professional of a businessman. He has openly mocked and verbally attacked those who oppose him, and that does not even scratch the surface as far as some other shady facts about the man. There is a lot about the President of UFC that a lot of his fans either ignore or have forgotten about over the years.
20 Ran Out of Boston by Whitey Bulger's Gang
Long before UFC was even a thing and Dana White was still just a boxercise instructor, he ran into infamous criminal Whitey Bulger Winter Hill Gang in South Boston. They propositioned him $2,500 for protection. As he recalls, White refused and then immediately booked himself a flight to Las Vegas. He's been there ever since.
19 His Biggest Regret
In 2013, Dana White said that his biggest regret was failing to sign Fedor Emelianenko to the UFC. The main difficulty was trying to strike a deal with Fedor's shady management group headed by Vadim Finkelstein. White actually recalls nearly signing a big money fight between Fedor and Brock Lesnar, but right before deals with UFC were finalized, Fedor's father died and was convinced to retire.
18 He Has Meniere's Disease
Meniere’s Disease is a rare condition that causes who ever has it to suffer dizzy spells (i.e. vertigo), a ringing sound that lasts for hours in the ear, and occasional hearing loss. It's something that a person gets from getting punched too hard. While he never took up pro fighting, Dana White is one of those few people in the world who suffers from the disease.
He even had to miss a UFC show in 2012 for emergency surgery on his ear in 2012. But thanks to the help of Alex Rodriguez (of all people), he was able to go to Germany to have it treated via an Orthokine procedure.
17 WWE Chairman's Son Almost Bought UFC
Long before wrestling promoter Vince McMahon challenged the UFC President to a match at WrestleMania, the WWE Chairman's son, Shane, almost bought UFC himself. It was reported in 2009 that Shane McMahon had a meeting with Dana White and when asked by Bleacher Report what the meeting was about, Dana said "No comment."
Coincidentally, right before the meeting, he sold his stock in WWE and resigned from his old man's company. Apparently, Shane didn't have enough of his own money to buy UFC from White and couldn't convince Vince to buy it for him, but the future of MMA was something that Shane saw early on was worth investing in.
16 Once Said Women Will Never Compete in UFC
When confronted by TMZ in January 2011 after leaving an event, White was asked if he would follow the suit of competitors Strikeforce and Bellator by introducing a women's division to UFC. White defiantly and quickly answered "never," which is funny considering that White introduced women to UFC nearly two years later on December 2012 with Ronda Rousey as the face of the entire UFC.
15 Banned Ariel Helwani from UFC
Before Dana White and Co. could announce that Brock Lesnar would be making his surprise return to the octagon at UFC 200, journalist Ariel Helwani broke the news. Helwani had always had a strong relationship with UFC when covering them, but for this one instance, White was furious enough to publicly ban Helwani for life from any and all UFC shows; he can't show up backstage or even buy a ticket to an event.
14 "Eskimo Brothers" with Ronda Rousey's Ex
It has been a long standing rumor that Ronda Rousey was once romantically linked to Dana White during their business relationship while she was signed to the company. She addresses those rumors in her book and denies the claim, but her ex-boyfriend Brendan Schaub once tweeted that he and White were "Eskimo Brothers." Anyone familiar with the term should be raising an eyebrow reading that.
13 He Has a Gambling Addiction
This is something even his own mother has accused him of having in her book, Dana White: King of MMA, where she asks “Dana can lose a million dollars gambling in a few hours and just shrug it off, but he can’t help out his 93-year-old grandmother?” In addition, he's been reported to bet $50,000 per hand in blackjack and not walk away from the casino until he makes $5 million.
12 Refused to Let Randy Couture Out of Contract
In 2007, Randy Couture tried to sever ties with UFC despite being Heavyweight Champion. The reason being because of complaints about pay. White would not only publicly deny Couture's pay claims, but refused to release Couture before his final fights. Eventually, Couture did finally leave UFC and after some years, they squashed their beef before Couture could return to UFC for one final run.
11 Openly Hates Bob Arum
Bob Arum, a boxing promoter, publicly questioned whether or not UFC purchasing Strikeforce violated the United States anti-trust laws. This drew the ire of White ever since. Most memorably, in an interview with MMA Fighting, White accused Arum of "copying everything [UFC does]." He then called Arum a crybaby.
10 Took Randy Couture Feud Out On His Son
At the height of his beef with Randy Couture, Randy's son Ryan signed to the UFC because it was always his dream to fight there. While Dana White promised that he would not make Ryan suffer for how things went with him and his father, but White still refused to let Randy stand in his son's corner during Ryan's UFC debut. The lack of emotional support from his dad led to Ryan losing at the event.
9 Hates Ref Steve Mazzagatti
Dana White is verbally ruthless with a lot of people, but especially with referee Steve Mazzagatti. More memorably, White gave a nine-minute post-fight conference rant on the ref for not ending a fight between Demian Maia and Jon Fitch immediately after Fitch had been clearly knocked out cold during their UFC 161 fight.
8 Reebok Controversies
In 2015, UFC signed an exclusive apparel sponsorship deal with Reebok. Fighters are expected to make an additional percentage off of their Reebok merch, but fighters have criticized Dana White for striking the deal to police how fighters use their sponsorship money and how much they can make from it. Everyone from Vitor Belfort to Joe Rogan criticized the makings of the deal.
7 Fired Ref For Speaking Against Reebok Deal
One very vocal member of the UFC roster who spoke on the Reebok deal was long tenured referee Jacob "Stitch" Duran. Stitch spoke on how refs were not even factored into these deals despite wanting to make extra money from sponsorships. To send a message to anyone against the Reebok deal, Dana White fired Stitch on the spot.
In an interview with Fight State, speaking on his decision to fire him, White went further to throw Stitch under the bus by saying "Stitch was never my friend.
6 Beef with Matt Riddle
Before he transitioned into professional wrestling where he competes for WWE now, Matt Riddle was a fighter in UFC with an 8-5 MMA record. He's also a very pro-4/20 enthusiast and when he tested positive for the stuff, White was furious. So furious that he fired him, overturned his split decisions into losses to hurt his MMA record (he should be 10-3) and publicly admonished Riddle, calling him a "weak-minded dummy" on FOX Sports in 2013.
5 Beef with Tyron Woodley
At UFC 214, Tyron Woodley retained his Welterweight Championship, but during the post-fight press conference, Dana White made some scathing remarks about how Woodley performed. Enraged, Woodley appeared on the MMA Hour podcast demanding a public apology from White. He added that if he didn't get that apology, he'd release some embarrassing secrets.
Shortly after, White went to TMZ Sports to say that he and Woodley were "cool now" and he didn't mean anything he said because he was angry. They might be cool now, but we still want to know what Woodley could have leaked if White didn't apologize.
4 Beef with Loretta Hunt
Dana White has never been a fan of journalists exposing his business - most business promoters don't - but he especially is not a fan of journalist Loretta Hunt after she wrote an article for Sherdog about UFC agents having their backstage access restricted. White was so furious by her report that he recorded and posted an explicit YouTube video calling Hunt all kinds of profanities.
3 Compared Cris Cyborg to a Man
Before she finally walked away from UFC earlier this year, Cris Cyborg has never had the easiest of working relationships with President Dana White. Most infamously, their relationship is best remembered for White, in an unprovoked comment during a press conference, publicly said Cyborg looked like another UFC fighter, "Wanderlei Silva in a dress and high heels."
2 Beef with His Own Mom
We do not usually hear about Dana White's family tree, but that's by design. Truthfully, White's mom, June, hates her son's stinkin' guts and in 2011, gave a tell-all interview to explain why. The interview (which can be found on YouTube) was done to promote her book, where she made even more claims against her son.
In short, basically, she accuses her son of breaking promises, cheating on his wife with ring girls, and losing his morals in becoming a millionaire.
1 Ongoing Beef with Tito Ortiz
Dana White and Tito Ortiz's animosity towards each other has been well documented by this point. Considering that as recently as last week, Ortiz went on Barstool Breakfast to talk about how White "sabotaged" the making of his 30 for 30 ESPN doc, the bad blood still seems to be there.
The bad blood got bad to the point some years back that they agreed to fight in a legit boxing match in 2007. White was all game to fight, but Ortiz never showed up to the weigh-in. Since then, the only jabs these two have thrown at each other were verbal ones in interviews.
Sources: TMZ, YouTube, Forbes, fightstate.com