Dana White's love of gambling is nothing new to anyone who has followed the UFC and its president for any length of time. White is known to spend long nights at the blackjack table, making bets that seem extreme to those of us without millions in our bank accounts.
At Monday's media luncheon White discussed some of the more extreme situations he has found himself in, including having to bring his own trash bags to carry his winnings and beating the casinos fo as much as $5,000,000.
"I'm like, are you serious? We're going to get killed," White said. "They don't have some kind of suitcase where they put the money in. ‘You just beat us, here you go.' That's really the attitude. They just stack it all up there and go ‘thanks, have a great night.' We've had trash bags, we got to the point we started bringing our own bags."
"It's the rush and excitement of all rushes," White said. "What would you do if you put a $50,000 hand up there and you have to split ’em? There's nights I beat the casinos for $5,000,000."
Way back in 2010 White was talking about his blackjack playing with the Vancouver Sun:
Canwest: How many times have you had to go home after one of your all-night blackjack sessions and had to explain to your wife that you didn’t have a good night at the tables?
White: She doesn’t bust my balls at all. Not one bit, believe me when I tell you. I have a lot of all-night blackjack sessions. I have nights where I’ll f***ing come home and I’m like, ‘Holy s***. The kids are gonna be up in two hours.’ So I get two hours sleep and then get up and take them to school and then go to work. But blackjack is my thing. I like to do it.
Canwest: When you withdraw cash from an ATM, do you ever look at your account balance and giggle?
White: (Laughs) I haven’t been to the bank in 10 years. I don’t go draw cash out of an ATM. And I try not to think about how much money I have cause it will f*** you up (laughs). And I was actually afraid, I was nervous and worried, when I made my first million dollars. I was like, ‘I don’t know about this, man. I don’t know if this is gonna be good for me or bad for me.’
White's talk of throwing down $50,000 on a single hand of blackjack looks far less extreme when you get outside of thinking through things as a "normal guy." Conservatively we can assume White pulls in $5,000,000 a year. A $50,000 bet would amount to 1% of his annual income. Or the equivelent of a $500 bet from someone making $50,000 a year. A risk, for sure. But not one that is likely to make or break anyone, as long as they have their gambling in check.
There's no rush without risk.
Where the gambling has had an impact on the UFC in the past is when White reportedly pulled all UFC events out of the Palms after they cut his credit line in half.
And, rather than some sort of dangerous gambling addiction, one of the bigger issues some may take with the bragging about his high stakes gambling is with the calls for the UFC to pay more to the fighters. It will always be hard for some to swallow the idea of the UFC president dropping $50,000 on a single hand of blackjack while fighters talk about struggling to even put food on their table on their UFC paydays.