Way back in 2001, we met the new president of the UFC. His name was Dana White. Maybe you’ve heard of him.
At the time, White was just a young man—with a lot less experience in the combat sports business and a lot more hair. See the UFC boss’s first appearance on camera, which was recently released from the UFC archives, below.
— UFC (@ufc) April 21, 2020
“Thank you very much James, I appreciate it,” White said after being introduced on the first UFC broadcast under his leadership. “We’re very excited. We’ve got a sell-out crowd here, 5000 people, revved and ready to go.
“We want to make this the Super Bowl of mixed martial arts,” White added when asked what the future held for the UFC. “We want to make it more fan friendly, we want to get the crowd involved, and we want to bring back the best fighters in the world.”
It’s hard to deny Dana White has succeeded on his mission. MMA is now more mainstream than ever before, thanks in large part due to his efforts as the UFC President.
Since White has taken the reins, the UFC has set up shop in new territories like Canada, the United Kingdom, Brazil, China, Japan, South Korea, Germany, Singapore, Russia, and many others. The promotion has also signed hundreds of fighters and created legitimate sports superstars like Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey. White has also helped the promotion seal broadcast deals with platforms like FOX and ESPN, and a controversial sponsorship deal with sports apparel giant Reebok. While he receives a fair share of criticism, there’s no denying he’s turned the UFC in a massive success.
What are your thoughts on Dana White as the UFC President?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 4/23/2020.