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Morning Report: Dana White details nearly leaving UFC during WME purchase: ‘I don’t see myself walking away from this’

UFC 273: Volkanovski v The Korean Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images

There’s no longer life post-UFC for Dana White after nearly departing alongside the Fertittas when the company was purchased by WME-IMG in 2017.

The MMA leader was sold by Zuffa LLC helmed by Loreno and Frank Fertitta with White for a historic $4 billion that very year. Change for the UFC was a guarantee going forward, it was just a matter of how drastic it would be.

According to White when speaking on The Pivot Podcast, it was very close to being the end of his time as the frontman of the promotion, too.

“It was actually a really bad time for me, I didn’t want to do it,” White said of the deal. “The Fertittas were ready to get out and they had a sit down with me. They were basically like, ‘We have everybody in here going through with the deal.’ Everybody was in here kicking the tires looking to buy it. From ESPN to Turner to all these different funds and groups from all over the world. They sat me down and said, ‘We’re gonna sell this thing and we’re ready to go but nobody will take it unless you stay so you have to do this.’

“I was kind of in a weird place because I had done this thing with them, these are my best friends, we’d done it together and I got a little f***** up. I took off for a while, went up into a hotel room, and didn’t come out for a few days. I was a little f***** up over the whole thing. Then I snapped out of it and got my s*** together.”

Imagining the UFC without White in charge certainly seems like an impossibility at this stage and it very likely is after going through such an experience.

The UFC has only grown to find greater and greater success with each passing year and it doesn’t appear to be slowing down any time soon according to the boss himself. If White had left the UFC when the opportunity presented itself, he may not have vanished from MMA or combat sports entirely as some other past figures have. There was the attempt at Zuffa Boxing after all, which could always still be a thing eventually. But as White has made it clear over the years, as well as in very recent times, boxing is a trickier pool to dive into than where he already finds himself swimming within the MMA landscape.

White doesn’t need to keep working and would have been well off financially had he decided against maintaining his role during the sale. Yet here we are in 2022 and he now has no intentions of leaving his spot as UFC President. Ever.

“The sale happened and what I was saying was if I have to stay, don’t put me with some f***** up group of people,” White said. “Ari [Emanuel] was going at this thing hard and I wanted to be with Ari so it worked out perfect and Ari’s been incredible to work with. It couldn’t have turned out any better. I still love it, I’m still having a blast. I get over my little phase, the money hits the bank and it’s a weird thing. I had already had money for 15 years but then you get that kind of money.

“I don’t walk away [at this point]. Going through that transition with the Fertittas to WME was a good experience for me and it reminded me how much I really love this business and love what I’m doing so they’re probably gonna have to come f****** drag me out of here. I don’t see myself walking away from this.”


TOP STORIES

Debate. Dana White blasts boxing salaries: ‘All those f****** guys are overpaid.’

Caution. Kayla Harrison sends a warning to media pushing for Julianna Pena fight.

Breakdown. Israel Adesanya breaks down ‘key’ to Justin Gaethje’s attempt to dethrone Charles Oliveira at UFC 274.

Rivalry. Joanna Jedrzejczyk predicts ‘first-round finish’ for Rose Namajunas at UFC 274, would love trilogy fight with her in NYC.

Nonsense. Glover Teixeira ‘would rather watch birds sing’ than argue over Corey Anderson’s No. 1 claim.

Fight. Marlon Vera calls out Dominick Cruz after failed past attempts at booking the fight.


VIDEO STEW

UFC 274 Embedded 2.

Warrior Code: Justin Gaethje.

Khalil Rountree on JRE.

Bad blood at Bellator 280.


LISTEN UP

Fighter vs. Writer. MMA Fighting’s Damon Martin chats with Beneil Dariush and Kayla Harrison.

Heck of a Morning. MMA Fighting’s Mike Heck discusses if Justin Gaethje is overlooking Charles Oliveira ahead of UFC 274, Marlon Vera’s title hopes, and more.


SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE

Paulo.

Let’s get it on.

Not bad.

Good ol’ Sato.

Bo Nickal looms.

Fun.

Wholesome Ayaka content as per usual.

Colorful.

Champ camp.

Champ ink.


FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Sam Hughes (6-4) vs. Elise Reed (5-1); UFC Vegas 55, May 21

Tony Gravely (22-7) vs. Johnny Munoz (11-1); UFC Vegas 56, June 4

Joaquin Buckley (14-4) vs. Albert Duraev (15-3); UFC Austin, June 18

Robbie Lawler (29-15) vs. Bryan Barberena (17-8); UFC 276, July 2

Sean O’Malley (15-1) vs. Pedro Munhoz (19-7); UFC 276, July 2

Anthony Smith (36-16) vs. Magomed Ankalaev (17-1); UFC 277, July 30

Jessica Penne (14-5) vs. Brianna Fortino (9-3); UFC Fight Night, July 16


FINAL THOUGHTS

Thanks for reading!


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