Sports Biz with Darren Rovell

One-on-One with UFC’s Dana White


Fresh off UFC 113this weekend in Montreal, we decided to get an update on the state of the premiere mixed martial arts organization with UFC president Dana White.

UFC president Dana White
Getty Images

Darren: You just came from Montreal and your last fights were in Abu Dhabi. I know you’ve been committed to growing internationally. How are things on that front?

White: Great. We sold out and set records in Australia, Abu Dhabi was sold out and (UFC CEO) Lorenzo (Fertitta) is leaving soon to check out what we can do in China, South Korea and India.

Darren: I know you are private, but how about other business metrics you can share.

White: Our video game last year with THQ sold more than four million copies and the one that comes out this summer is going to be better. We’re also now in the top four percent of all men’s magazines in terms of sales at retail. UFC Magazine sells more copies per issue than Esquire, Men’s Journal, Details, Sports Illustrated, ESPN The Magazine and WWE on newsstands. (Note: UFC is bi-monthly and does not sell subscriptions).

Darren: You’re big on Twitter. You have more than 1 million followers. What’s the best thing about Twitter?

White: I love when people ask me how I quantify it. How do you quantify a billboard? If I wanted to make an appearance somewhere we’d have to do a lot of advertising for us to reach the right demo. With Twitter, it’s free and it works. It was 11:30 p.m. in Montreal and we had just gotten up from dinner and were across the street at an ESSO gas station.

Darren: You tweet: “Here we go! I am at the esso station on the corner of St. Laurent and Sherbrook! C u soon.”

White: And within 36 seconds there are five people there. In four minutes, there are 100 people there.

Darren: Kimbo Slice lost this weekend and he’s done with UFC. Do you think this is the end of Kimbo in the public eye?

White: I think Kimbo is going to have opportunities to make more money. He deserves them. I thought he was the guy who was on YouTube and that’s not who he is at all. He stepped up to the challenge we had for him and he evolved as a fighter.

Darren: You quickly kicked Paul Daley out of UFC after sucker punching his opponent Josh Koscheck at the end of the fight this weekend. Why did you do that?

White: Paul is a tough guy and had great potential, but as soon as he did it I knew that was it. There was no pressure at all. This is my world and I’m not going to be freaking lenient when a guy sucker punches another of my fighters who is not protecting himself. Koscheck was hurt badly. It was a big shot. And that’s not going to be tolerated.

Darren: Daley had one more fight on his contract. Did it cost you any money to cut him?

White: No. As soon as he lost, he could be cut.

Questions?  Comments?