UFC president Dana White touted his company’s accomplishments this year during the global pandemic and also suggested the media wasn’t recognizing those things nearly enough after the UFC’s tremendous year in 2020.
“There was all this celebrating of the NBA last week,” White said per BT Sport. “They had an 8.8% positive rate and everybody thought that was incredible. Ours is 0.08%.”
White touted the practices and procedures his team helped put together with local Abu Dhabi officials to turn the UFC’s Fight Island idea from a dream into reality.
“We flew 1,500 people into Fight Island…from 40 different countries around the world and when you look at our positive rate it’s pretty phenomenal,” White said.
White said the UFC spent “over $17 million in COVID-related expenses” during 2020, and that his company’s success at navigating the global pandemic helped keep his entire UFC roster employed.
White Claps Back at ‘Naysayers’
White isn’t wrong about all the people who were quick to point out how the UFC should shut down its business earlier this year when the COVID-19 pandemic began.
White pointed out that all the blowback he got from the media when the pandemic hit and MMA journalists around the world were going ballistic on him for trying to keep fights going was fuel for the fire.
“Oh, I love the naysayers. I love the people who say you can’t…the people who are begging for you to fail,” White said. “I love that stuff. That’s what I feed off of.”
White said seeing all the vitriol spilled out at him was part of what fueled his desire to succeed.
“You tell me it can’t be done? I’m going to show you why you’re wrong,” White said.
White: ‘Don’t Ever Listen To the Media’
Additionally, White touted his company for being able to keep its roster full during a time when most other companies around the world were laying off large numbers of employees and contractors.
“Nobody got laid off. No salaries were cut. Then, when you look at the fighters, every fighter contract was honored,” White said.
It wasn’t a new lesson for him, but White said all these things reaffirmed his belief, or lack thereof, in the media’s ability to offer reasonable suggestions.
“One thing that rang loud and clear like it always did is don’t ever listen to the media,” White.
“Don’t ever listen to the media. Don’t ever listen to anybody else try to tell you what you should do in your personal and professional life. Ever.”
White offered his personal opinions about the media.
“They don’t know anything. Just because they write for some paper or they’re on TV doesn’t mean they know what they’re talking about or they have any of the answers,” White said.
It’s clear White wasn’t thrilled with all the Op-Eds done around the world during the first part of the pandemic about how White and his company should stop putting on fights.
“Quitting is never the answer. It’s never the solution. I was just blown away by how many people were willing to just quit. It’s fascinating to me,” White said.
UFC President for U.S. President?
Finally, White also revealed his political aspirations. Rather, White revealed he didn’t have any.
Despite being told it was suggested by someone that maybe White should consider running for the highest office in the U.S. someday, White passed on that idea.
“Hell no,” White said.
Still, the UFC president talked about all the things he learned in 2020, and why it was a memorable year for him.
“It was definitely the toughest year of my career, but very unique and cool in a lot of different ways,” White said. “I like solving problems. I like doing things people say can’t be done. So it was a challenging, good year for me.”
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