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Dana White's Impact on UFC Is Staggering

Congratulations to Sharon Robb of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel for writing one of the best mainstream media pieces I've read about mixed martial arts. After the idiocies of the Associated Press and Fox News and the Washington Post, it's nice to see a well written MMA piece in a daily newspaper.

What I like best about Robb's article is the way it details just how much the sport has grown. And in looking at that growth, it's hard not to think that UFC President Dana White deserves a huge amount of credit for it. Consider, from Robb's piece:
It has been frequently outdrawing NBA and baseball games among the coveted 18- to 34-year-old male demographic and women ... UFC 82... generated a sellout crowd of 16,431 spectators and live gate of $2.2 million...

the UFC has grown from five live events in 2001 with an average ticket price of $81.45 to 10 events in 2008 and average ticket price of $273.68...

the top pay-per-view television attraction in the country, pulling in more than $200 million last season....

The UFC's Web site has doubled its traffic to more than 2 million hits a month in the past year.
That's not all attributable to White, but it's more attributable to him than it is to anyone else. UFC was on the verge of bankruptcy and MMA was on the verge of illegality before White took over. I've been critical of White for his demeanor, but you can't argue with his success, and everyone who likes the sport owes White a debt of gratitude.

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