Dana White: Good or Bad for the Sport?
Love him or hate him, you can’t deny that Dana White is one colourful character. The man never has any inhibitions about sharing what’s on his mind at any given time – and typically uses very little tact in the way that he expresses it. Dana always speaks from the heart, and many of his decisions are based on his passion, mood or mindset at the time. Every once in a while you even see him back peddle on something he said during a particularly heated moment. So the question that is often posed is: Is a man with such a volatile (and at times low brow) personality really a good spokesperson for the sport?
Personally, I love Dana White. On many levels I think he has been great for the sport. There is little denying that UFC, let alone MMA, wouldn’t be as legitimate as it is today if it wasn’t for Dana and his savvy marketing abilities. He operates much the same way Vince McMahon did/does for the WWE – the only difference being that Dana’s personality is “Dana” and not an act.
Aside from these rather humanistic attributes that give Dana some appeal, there is one thing that he brings to the table that no other sports organization head does: He gives the people what they want. Like a Roman Emperor appeasing the masses, when people speak, Dana listens and does something about it. When people started talking about a BJ Penn/GSP super fight (partial catalyst goes to BJ himself), Dana listened – even though, it would tarnish the reputation one of his top fighters, regardless of who won. People wanted a rematch BJ vs. Edgar after the first fight, he gave it to them!
The main reason for Dana playing to the masses is his vested interest in the sport and the company – he is a part owner of the UFC, so of course he wants to see this thing succeed. At times it can seem like commissioners of other sports (Gary Bettman in particular) are almost antagonistic to the fans doing the complete opposite of what the people want; It almost seems like a stick measuring contest at times. Bud Selig, being an owner has always vexed me; how he can always be so clueless to his target. Dana speaks in a language that is understood by his core demographic target… ”He gives them blood and they love him for it”.
If you want to familiarize yourself with DW, just watch a post-fight presser after the next card and all will become clear. As long as he continues to run the UFC in the manner in which he has (as long as he doesn’t supersaturate the sport for the public), I say he is not only good for the sport, but rather the best thing for it. He is to MMA, not just the UFC, what Steve Jobs was to Apple.
… and that is the last word.