UFC president Dana White was recently profiled in a Financial Times "Lunch with the FT" piece. In the article, Lucy Kellaway (a former British Press Award columnist of the year) sits down with White at C London for a lunch the day before the UFC's last O2 Arena card.
It's a surreal read, one that likely will endear White more to the crowd that already embraces him because of, as opposed to in spite of, his eccentricities. But it is a complete outsiders perspective of the sport and the man, and it isn't completely flattering. For reference as to how much of a fight outsider Kellaway is, she at one point tells White that she has not heard of Manny Pacquiao.
Rather than simply try to find the best part of the article to point you toward, I'll just key in on the highlights:
- White shows up to the restaurant in a t-shirt and jeans (no surprise), bringing in his own bottle of half water, half vitamin water, which Kellaway mentions was a show of bad manners. White then goes on to get a rib-eye, a veal chop on the side and two starters. For lunch.
- After rehashing the usual "fighting is in our DNA" talk along with the story of convincing the Fertitta brothers to buy the then struggling UFC, White tells Kellaway that the three highest paid fighters in the UFC have made over $30,000,000. She then adds that she learned that research showed her that lower end fighters can make as little as "$6,000 for being beaten up."
- One of the more interesting revelations was when Kellaway baited Dana into giving a valuation of the UFC by bringing up the New York Times number of $1bn. White ends up giving the figure $3.5bn, when pressed on the number Dana shuts it down after saying "We have numbers. You know what I mean?"
- At some point White begins speaking about Ronda Rousey and proceeds to inform Kellaway that women are "more emotional" and "more catty" than men.
- White admits that the Fertittas could eventually sell the UFC but for now everyone is happy and ego-free.
- He closes out their interaction by calling the 2006 columnist of the year "sweetheart."
Again, a truly amazing read.