UFC president Dana White admitted to being a “degenerate” gambler and recalled losing a $1-million bet on a boxing match nearly 15 years ago.
White recently spoke to ESPN Sports Betting about the role that gambling plays in the modern sports world. In White’s view, the legalization of gambling across more states and in more countries is only a good thing for MMA, since betting on sports can generate more fan interest. The UFC bossman admitted in the interview that he keeps his eye on the betting lines for the UFC events himself and also said that he’s glad ESPN started showing live betting lines on the broadcast. For White, the more gambling on UFC fights, the better.
“I’d say it’s about time. I like it. It’s obviously a thing people love to do. It makes whatever you’re watching a lot more fun, a lot more interesting, so I’ve always been for it. But I’m from Vegas,” White said.
“I always (gamble). On every sport that I’m interested in. On every game on Saturday, If I want to know what the line is, if it’s college or pros, I always look at the line on fights.”
White is a self-admitted gambling fanatic. The UFC bossman is a high roller on the Las Vegas strip, particularly when it comes to table games, which he admits to loving.
“I play table games too much. I’m a degenerate if you’re not getting it. I’m a degenerate, yes. I love to gamble,” White said.
In addition to table games, Whtie also said he likes to bet on boxing. He even admitted that he once bet $1 million on Jermain Taylor in 2007 to defeat Kelly Pavlik. Instead, White was out his $1 million when Pavlik pulled off the upset and got the TKO win.
“Oh my god. What was the kid’s name? Jermain Taylor. And who did he fight? I know this for the ass-whooping I took. He fought the tall, lanky, white kid from Ohio, Kelly Pavlik. I bet $1 million on Taylor and he got destroyed. It was the first time I ever bet $1 million dollars because I was so confident Taylor was going to win that fight,” Dana White said.
With sports betting being something that can bring newer fans to the UFC product, and current fans even closer to it, expect White to continue to lend his support for its state-wide and global legalization. It doesn’t hurt that White is a gambling fanatic himself, though it’s worth noting that he can’t bet on UFC fights.