The Doggy Bag: Critiquing Dana White - Critiquing Dana

By: Sherdog.com Staff
Jan 4, 2009
Everyone answers to somebody, so we, the staff at Sherdog.com, have decided to defer to our readers. “The Doggy Bag” gives you the opportunity to speak about what’s on your mind from time to time.

Our reporters, columnists, radio hosts, and editors will chime in with our answers and thoughts, so keep the emails coming.

This week, readers weigh-in in a wide range of topics, including Dana White’s role as mixed martial arts’ frontman, Cung Le’s future in MMA and officiating at UFC 92.

Critiquing Dana

I am constantly reading ignorant yet enthusiastic Sherdoggers posting threads of remarkable similarity on the topic of UFC President Dana White and the strong comparison he has to the anti-Christ. I myself believe him to be a very intelligent businessman with a passion for the sport who at times lets his mouth get away from him. I was just curious as to how he’s perceived in the mixed martial arts world -- in this case, by someone at Sherdog -- but outside of fighters under the Zuffa umbrella or disgruntled former employees.
-- Brent in Vancouver, British Columbia


Brian Knapp, associate editor: No matter how one feels about UFC President Dana White personally, no one -- not even his staunchest enemies -- can discredit what he and the Fertitta brothers have done for the sport of mixed martial arts, in general, and the UFC, in particular. Without their efforts and investment, MMA would never have blossomed like it has in recent years.

Does White have areas upon which he could improve? Sure he does. His in-your-face approach, casual attire and liberal use of four-letter words do not project the kind of professionalism some fans might desire out of the frontman for their sport. He also allows his personal feelings to bleed into the public eye, as he has done most recently with Jon Fitch, the American Kickboxing Academy and Fedor Emelianenko, among others. His constant assault on Emelianenko’s credibility -- few can argue he ranks as the greatest heavyweight in the sport’s history -- makes White look foolish and petty and lessens the chances the Russian, still in his prime, will ever appear inside the Octagon.

Having said that, White’s also a shrewd businessman with an undeniable passion for the sport, and his decisions have shaped the UFC juggernaut into a monster moneymaker. Because he’s such a polarizing figure, he’s gotten far less credit than he deserves.

White has a softer side, too, as he showed in wake of the gruesome injury suffered by lightweight prospect Corey Hill at UFC Fight Night 17 in December. Hill snapped his lower leg when he kicked opponent Dale Hartt early in the second round and had to be stretchered out of the cage. He later underwent surgery and was hospitalized for a number of days. UFC owner Lorenzo Fertitta and White called Hill together at the Cape Fear Valley Medical Center in Fayetteville, N.C., and wished him a speedy recovery. Their goodwill did not end there.

In addition to paying for Hill’s medical expenses, the UFC left one of its employees behind to stay with him at the hospital for the first six days of his stay. When Hill was released from the hospital a week and a half later, the UFC paid for Hill and his family to remain at a hotel, so he could visit with doctors again before leaving for home.

In short, White’s about as complex and interesting a figure as we have anywhere in professional sports. Where he falls on the good-versus-evil spectrum depends on the day.

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