dana-white-88.jpg(This story first appeared in today’s USA Today.)

UFC President and co-owner Dana White wasn’t a part of the Ultimate Fighting Championship for its 1993 debut, but he is unquestionably one of the primary reasons – along with fellow owners Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta – that the organization has grown from near extinction in 2001 to a billion-dollar company a little more than a decade later.

In hindsight, it’s interesting to note that White nearly became the leader of another mixed martial arts promotion instead.

“I actually got offered an opportunity probably a month and a half, two months before we bought the UFC,” White tells USA TODAY Sports, though he wouldn’t name the company. “So I went to Lorenzo, and I was like, ‘Listen, I got this opportunity. What do you think?’ He looked at me like I was out of my mind. He was like, ‘I thought we were going to do something together.’ I said, ‘Alright. Done.’ So I didn’t take that other opportunity. Two months later, the UFC falls in my lap. I call him up and I’m like, ‘Dude, this is it. I think we should buy this thing.’”

And so the Fertittas did, purchasing for $2 million a promotion that was struggling after years of political battles and dwindling financial returns. White, who was given 10 percent of the company and appointed president, immediately set out to change public perception that the spectacle was indeed sport. The process, though, didn’t come quickly.

“I always believed we could be the biggest sport in the world,” White says. “I always thought that this did translate into other countries. How different can we really be than everyone else? It’s (bleeping) exciting. It’s (bleeping) awesome. I always believed we could do this.The question always was, ‘Is the timing right?’ Great idea, but could it be the wrong time? It actually ended being perfect, thank God.”

It would be another four years before White knew the timing was right. With more than $40 million in losses suggesting otherwise, the UFC struck gold with “The Ultimate Fighter,” a reality competition series that was a surprise hit on Spike TV in 2005. It culminated with one of the UFC’s most memorable bouts with Forrest Griffin vs. Stephan Bonnar.

But in a rare instance of recollection (White insists he doesn’t have “nostalgic moments”), the UFC boss admits TUF is a perfect example of how many things along the way have fallen exactly into place.

“I don’t look around and say, ‘Oh, look what we’ve done,’ but this 20th anniversary thing kind of made me look around,” White says. “I was thinking how that first season of The Ultimate Fighter wouldn’t have been what it was if we didn’t have the exact cast we had. It was the perfect mix of the right guys. Bobby Southworth was a huge part of that with his clash with Chris Leben and Josh Koscheck, and the big beef we got into when he told me to get out of his (bleeping) face – everything was the right place, right time with the right people.”

On Saturday, the UFC celebrates 20 years of producing the world’s premier MMA event, and “UFC 167: St-Pierre vs. Hendricks” will be available in more than 1 billion homes worldwide and in 30 different languages. White and the UFC have accomplished more than most thought possible, but the fiery exec insists it’s just the beginning, and he doesn’t intend to walk away anytime soon.

“I couldn’t cash out,” White said. “I’m partners with the Fertitta brothers. They made me the president. They gave me 10 percent, and I’m in this thing until the end with them. There’s no cashing out, no quitting. There’s no nothing. We still have a lot of big plans.”

For more on UFC 167, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.

view original article >>

Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

Dana White Says it Looks Like Jon Jones Took ‘Something Else,’ Could Be Good News

  • 10 days ago
  • 107 views

Dana White on Tuesday appeared to back Jon Jones' recent statement that he could be back really soon. read news >>

Dana White Says Conor McGregor Must Defend or Vacate the Featherweight Title

  • 6 days ago
  • 7 views

Dana White appeared on both SportsCenter and the UFC post-fight show on Fox Sports 1 after the conclusion of UFC 202 to speak about the main event between Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz. White did not read news >>

Dana White Reacts to UFC 202 Finishes and Diaz-McGregor Main Event (Video)

  • 6 days ago
  • 188 views

UFC president Dana White appeared on the Post Show on FS1 following Saturday's UFC 202: Diaz vs. McGregor 2 pay-per-view event in Las Vegas. read news >>

Is Ronda Rousey Pregnant? Dana White Squashes the Rumor

  • 28 days ago
  • 24 views

UFC president Dana White's job is never ending and never the same. Thursday night, he spent his time squashing a Ronda Rousey pregnancy rumor. read news >>

Dana White Video: UFC Sale ‘Kind of Bugged Me Out a Little Bit’

  • 28 days ago
  • 92 views

The sale of the company he helped build, has UFC president Dana White "kind of bugged out." read news >>

Video: Dana White Gives His Immediate Reaction, Breaks Down UFC 201

  • 27 days ago
  • 314 views

Dana White gave his immediate reaction to UFC 201, a card that saw Tyron Woodley take out Robbie Lawler in the first round to win the 170-pound title. read news >>

Dana White 'Would Love' Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz in Poland

  • 27 days ago
  • 16 views

Karolina Kowalkiewicz all but assured her title shot with a split-decision victory over Rose Namajunas at UFC 201. Kowalkiewicz entered as the No. 5-ranked strawweight with Namajunas holding the No. read news >>

Devin Powell Intends to Impress Dana White, Who is Looking for a Fight

  • 22 days ago
  • 45 views

Devin Powell won't say Friday night's NEF fight is now or never, but knows he needs to impress UFC president Dana White, who will be in the audience. read news >>

Dana White: Lookin’ for a Fight Picked Up by Netflix

  • 18 days ago
  • 38 views

Dana White: Lookin' for a Fight was originally available on UFC Fight Pass and YouTube, but will soon be available on Netflix to its 83 million subscribers. read news >>

Conor McGregor was Happy for Jose Aldo’s Victory, but Undecided if He’s Next (UFC 202 Video)

  • 15 days ago
  • 66 views

Dana White has said that, win or lose, featherweight champion Conor McGregor is going to defend his belt next. McGregor, however, isn't nearly as certain. read news >>