Dana White is getting paid.
Late Sunday evening the news broke that the UFC had been sold to a group of private investors for somewhere in the neighborhood of $4 billion. It was also revealed that UFC President Dana White would be staying on in his role with the company. Since the announcement, the MMA community has been rife with speculation as to what the texture of White's role going forward will look like and whether new ownership may attempt to reign in some of his less polished moments. While there is plenty on that front still to be determined, yesterday Darren Rovell of ESPN gave a glimpse into the new era of the UFC for Dana White with a report on his deal with new ownership.
"Sources tell ESPN that White's new deal is for five years and for nine percent of the company's net profits. The deal also gives White incentive to further grow the business instead of having a locked-in salary.
"Sources confirmed that White owned nine percent of the UFC, which would mean he'd be receiving roughly $360 million from the organization's recent $4 billion sale to agency WME-IMG when the deal closes. It was not immediately known if White is retaining any percentage of the new company."
Though the details are still hazy, White's 5 year contract could put him on par with other major sports commissioners. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell makes about $21 million a year, former NBA Commissioner David Stern also reportedly made $20 million a year, and current commissioner Adam Silver is speculated to make nearly $10 million a year. As ESPN goes on to report, White's pay may end up being in the same ballpark (octagon?).
"Figuring out what the business actually nets after all expenses is an inexact science, but based on a ballpark estimate of what other entertainment businesses net after costs, the UFC's bottom line could be in the $200 million range. That would make White's yearly take about $18 million to start."
It should be noted that the UFC reportedly has regularly paid dividends to shareholders, so White has likely been receiving this 9% of profit incentive before this new deal. Also, though much of the numbers for the UFC are inexact, 2015 was one of the UFC's best years on record with the company reportedly making a profit of about $158 million. Considering that, ESPN's suggestion that the company will be in the $200 million range is ambitious; going off of the 2015 numbers though, White would still be making $14 million a year, no small sum and roughly commiserate with other similarly situated sports commissioners.
And there is also the matter of the looming television deal. The UFC's TV deal with Fox ends February 2019. In the new era of television, live sports have shown to be incredibly valuable and TV deals have been enormous. The amount of live content the UFC can produce for a network that simultaneously appeals to the coveted 18-49 male demographic is a valuable commodity and, once they sign a new deal, the company will likely see a tremendous upswing in profits.
All in all, not bad for a guy who bought the UFC for $2 million dollars with some childhood buddies.
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This achievement meant more to me than I can put into words. pic.twitter.com/pJoiimc5Gu
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TODAY IN MMA HISTORY
2002: Matt Hughes defeated Carlos Newton to defend his UFC welterweight title in the main event of UFC 38. This was a rematch of their contentious earlier bout where Hughes won via KO (slam) but also appeared to have been choked unconscious.
2013: Cristiane Cyborg knocked out Marloes Coenen to win the inaugural Invicta FC women's featherweight championship.
There is a Fight Night card tonight and it is actually a pretty good one, or at least a well matched card. Unfortunately it is going completely unnoticed because of the ridiculous amount of MMA that has been available the past 7 days. But this card does bring up a point I've often thought about: would it behoove the UFC to start putting on bi-weekly MMA cards on a Tuesday or Wednesday night?
The expanding roster of the UFC and the ability to get everyone fights is a pretty well covered topic and I've just often wondered if there would be value in the UFC owning a day. In the United States college football owns Saturday and the NFL owns Sunday and Monday night. Wouldn't it be worth it to stake a claim to Wednesday when there isn't a lot of set competition? I used to think of this for Bellator, who has tried to carve out Friday as their day, the only problem being that Friday night people often want to do things that don't involve watching past their prime fighters collect a paycheck. Now, that can change if you're putting together excellent (or at least notable) cards. But for a company like the UFC with ~500 fighters, you have a lot of pretty blase fights that you kind of need to make. Might as well package them together on a Wednesday evening.
Or maybe not. Dana White is a phenomenally successful promoter and has done just fine without my ideas.
Anyway, feel free to call me a jackass in the comments or discuss the merits of my proposal (I say mine but I'm confident others have proposed this long before I). Have a good day M.Rmy. See you tomorrow.
If you find something you'd like to see in the Morning Report, just hit me up on Twitter @JedKMeshew and let me know about it. Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram and add us on Snapchat at MMA-Fighting because we post dope things and you should enjoy them.