I've spent all day digesting the announcement, and listening to various takes on it. Regardless of whether or not this is a "demotion" for Dana White, the real point is that Lorenzo Fertitta gave up his lucrative position at Station Casinos to run the UFC with Dana White.
For months there were rumors that the Zuffa would sell the UFC. They were doing great numbers, but their top draws were leaving or retiring, and the future was uncertain. Today's announcement signals that they are in it for the long haul, and that is a great thing for fight fans. Nothing scared me more than the possibility of a media company running the UFC. This is a unique business, it takes intricate knowledge of the fight business to make it work, and the people at Zuffa are among the few that can actually do it.
The international expansion so far has been little more than a trial balloon, albeit an expensive one. With Lorenzo now dedicated to it, I expect that we will see television deals for the UFC all over the world popping up over the next year. The dream of a worldwide PPV for Dana White may actually come true.
More than anything else, this announcement signals a re-dedication to MMA for Zuffa, and a sign they are in this for the long haul. They are sending in the biggest gun they have to grow the sport, and it should be fascinating to watch.