Love him or hate him, UFC president Dana White has been a busy man over the past decade.
He has accomplished more than any other promoter in mixed martial arts. He has created the biggest promotion in the sport’s history. He has worked tirelessly to take that success and make the sport bigger and more visible.
And he doesn’t see failure heading the UFC’s way anytime soon.
On UFC Tonight, White took a look back at the incredible growth of the UFC.
“There are a lot of things I’m really proud of,” White told Ariel Helwani on UFC Tonight. “We’ve revolutionized the fight business. We’ve done things in the fight business that nobody has ever done in the history of combat sports, including health insurance for fighters. We’re tweaking and fixing things. It seems like every way you turn, someone is waiting for you to fail. I tell you what: they’ll be waiting a long time for this one to fail.”
With the promotion as big as its ever been, reaching the largest audience it ever has, the criticism still remains. In fact, outcry from fans has arguably been at an all-time high, as the UFC is under seemingly constant fire, whether the complaints relate to weak cards, the promotion’s business model, or even music involved in the broadcasts.
White has not shied away from responding to these complaints, and he even believes in constructive criticism. The “moron” fans are the ones that seem to drive him crazy.
“I’ve been hearing these things for 12 years. I’m actually one of these guys who listens to the fans. I talk to them on Twitter and on The Underground. Some fans have great ideas and some are complete morons. Sometimes you hear some good feedback and other times you hear stupid things. When you start critiquing stuff like music, stupid stuff like that, go start your own MMA organization.”
The dream of creating an MMA promotion has not exactly worked out for most in recent history, however, which is perhaps a good way to put the UFC’s success in perspective.
While so many promotions have folded, and others have been acquired by the UFC itself, White’s product seems like the only sure thing, the only constant, in the crazy world of mixed martial arts. And that is likely a result of his ambitious tactics.
A good example of how that ambition has paid off is this weekend’s event, “UFC on FX 5,” as well as last weekend’s “UFC on FUEL TV 5.” The two cards are the latest product of the UFC-FOX broadcasting relationship, which began just under one year ago.
And that relationship is something White must be very proud of. While ratings have not been skyrocketing for the FUEL TV events, nor have they been great for “The Ultimate Fighter,” the future is still bright.
And White say there haven’t been any lessons to be learned, just that the partnership is still in its blossoming phase.
“I don’t think there’ve been any lessons. I think we’re learning how to work with each other. This is a different deal for FOX than they’ve ever been in before. We control the production and we’re on three different networks – FUEL TV, FX, and big FOX. So there are a lot of things that we needed to tweak, but we’re in a really good place right now. I’m feeling really good at the end of the year.”
As he should. After all the FOX deal is the one thing White takes more pride in than any other accomplishment.
“The FOX deal, without a doubt, (is the biggest achievement). There are so many things we’ve accomplished over the years, but the FOX deal is definitely the biggest.”
Check out all our “UFC on FX 5” news and interviews