By: John Morgan
Saturday, September 15, 2012
Las Vegas, NV
UFC President Dana White repeated use of expletives as he describes the past month of his life makes his feelings on the experience crystal clear.
One canceled event, another that was perilously close to being lost and a seemingly endless barrage of questions from reporters about how it all went down and what he was going to do to make sure it never happened again.
To be clear, White doesn't need to answer any of them. As the longtime head and part owner of the world's largest mixed-martial-arts promotion, White has made enough money to live comfortably for the rest of his days. But the UFC boss said walking away has never even crossed his mind. Instead, he's planning on shocking the world yet again.
"The past month has been a [expletive]," White told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "Canceling our first event and then all the stuff going on in Brazil. But I don't ever think about walking away.
"The way that I look at this thing is I made a commitment, and I'm committed to this. I know what we can do and the things that we're working on ? and this might sound [expletive] egotistical as hell, but it's what I believe ? I believe that if I walk away from this thing, I believe it won't happen. I love this [expletive]."
You'd likely be hard-pressed to find anyone playing a soft violin in honor of White's struggles. After all, he receives a handsome financial reward for his efforts, and he's got the best seat in the house at each and every UFC event. But his constant globetrotting has at time taken its toll on his body, and an inner-ear disorder known as Meniere's disease briefly took him out of action.
But White said he's not letting anything stand in the way of his goals.
"That Meniere's thing put me down for like four days, and that's it," White said. "I've been cranking ever since. I won't let it. ... It ain't going to stop me. Nothing's going to stop me."
There have been some milestone moments over the past year. After being completely off of even pay television a little more than a decade ago, the promotion is now airing on top network FOX. Just this year, the company has held successful events in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Japan and Sweden, and trips to China and England are still to come. The company's long-running reality series, "The Ultimate Fighter" launched earlier this year in Brazil, and an "Australia vs. U.K" edition debuts next month. Another version of the series in India was announced for 2013.
But not everything has been perfect. The company's ratings on FOX were solid but not up to White's hopes, and injuries have plagued the promotion throughout the year. Additionally, ratings for the first edition of "The Ultimate Fighter" on FX were underwhelming, despite the company making the bold move to broadcast each week's fights live.
But White insists things are just fine in the UFC's Las Vegas offices, and he believes those predicting the impending demise of his fight promotion are completely uninformed.
"Over the last year, we've had some issues in this transition to FOX," White admitted. "There were some things that I didn't see. There were some things I wanted to try like 'The Ultimate Fighter: Live' and some other things that we did. But now we're catching our stride with FOX. We're figuring out all the [expletive] we did wrong and making things better. Everything is awesome. Everything couldn't be going better.
"It seems like every day when you turn on the computer and look at it, it's like the doom and gloom. 'The UFC is a fad,' and all this other stuff with all these dumb [expletive] that don't even know what's really going on inside, what the plans are and what we've got teed up."
As you would expect, White declined to explain exactly what is on the company's to-do list. However, he promised it will revolutionize the fight game.
"We're going to shock the world again in the next two years," White said. "When you see these other organizations pop up, they basically copy everything that we do. Now the talk is that Bellator is going to do a reality show. Wonder what that reality show is going to look like and what it's going to be like? Because they have so much [expletive] fantastic original programming on Spike TV. I can just imagine what they came up with. But they're going to be going in one direction, the copy-the-UFC direction, and then we're shaking [expletive] up. We're going to change how everything works again in the next two years.
"Everything is going to change in the next two years. That's what we've been doing though. We've been trailblazing."
And for that reason, White said he feels a responsibility to his company, to his fighters and to UFC fans to stay on board no matter how stressful things may get along the way. He's had a vision since he came on board in 2001, and he doesn't intend to walk away before he sees it through.
"The stuff that's happening right now, I was saying this 10 years ago," White said. "People thought I was [expletive] crazy. Everything we're doing now, I said we would do 10 years ago. I'm telling you right here today, wait until you see what we do in the next five years. And I think that I would be pussing out and [expletive] everybody ? I think that I would be screwing a lot of people if I walked away. It would be a really selfish move, and I don't think I could do it anyway. I don't want to.
"I like what I do. I like what we do. I like what we're building. I like what we've created. The day is going to come when it's time for me to walk away. When that day comes, hopefully somebody else will jump in here that is willing to do what I've done and work as hard as I have to keep going and take it to the next level."
Just who that person is remains to be seen. But for now, White said he's the right man for the job. And according to him, no amount of stress, sickness or outside influence is going to change his mind.
"If I die tomorrow, I don't care, and I mean that from the bottom of my heart," White said. "My kids are going to be all right. They're going to do good. They're going to do just fine. But this is what I do. I'm here for however long.
"There's still a lot to be done. It's probably the most egotistical thing you'll ever hear me say, but I honestly believe it won't happen without me. If anything ever happened to Lorenzo (Fertitta), too, it would be devastating to the business. It would be devastating to the entire industry ? not just the UFC.
"Once we get it to a certain level, anybody can run it then. Then you get people in and anybody can do it. But I just fear that without us, people won't push and go to that next level. People get comfortable. 'We don't need [expletive] MMA in Turkey. There's places in the world where they'd be like, 'Who cares?' We care. We want it everywhere."