What do you do when your company sells for $4 billion and you get 9% of that deal? Well if you’re UFC president Dana White, you lock yourself in a room and hideout for a couple of days. Making an appearance on popular late night talk show, The Jimmy Kimmel Show, White described his reaction after the blockbuster transaction had been signed, sealed and delivered.
“When this deal closed, it bugged me out a little bit,” said White. “I don’t know. When you make that kind of money and my partners, I’ve been with them for more than 20 years. So that’s going to change, I have new partners now. And yeah, I kind of Howard Hughes’d myself up into a hotel room for a couple of days. I couldn’t eat or sleep; it kind of freaked me out a little bit.”
Having known Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta since high school and being in business with them for so long, essentially building the UFC we know today and in many respects, saving the sport of mixed martial arts from the brink of non existence, moving on was tough but $300 million made it a little bit easier. But how does one receive that amount of money?
“What they do is, when you do a deal like this, it has to go through a bunch of regulation,” White said. “But once the regulation is done and the thing finally closes, I guess you just get a cheque, that’s how it works.”
Now working for new owners WME-IMG, the UFC president looked to the future, well beyond the new five-year contract he recently signed.
“I’m 47 and I love this sport and I love what I do for a living,” White said. “And I would have signed a 55-year deal with these guys. So, I’m in.”
When Kimmel asked White if he thought the fighters liked him as a boss, he pretty open and transparent with regards to the types of relationships he has with the 400+ roster, comparing it to anyone, in any walk of life, working for any company under management.
“Who likes their boss?” White conceded. “It’s one of those things, at the end of the day; our fighters are independent contractors, so I can’t make anybody fight. So I put together fights. I build a platform, I do all the bells and whistles and they have to show up and deliver. But I have a good relationship with most of the guys. There are some guys I can’t stand. We don’t have to love each other to do business.”