Dana White is the president and CEO of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), the largest and most popular mixed martial arts (MMA) organization in the world. He is widely credited for transforming the UFC from a struggling and controversial business into a global sports phenomenon. As of 2023, Dana White has a net worth of $500 million and an annual salary of $20 million.
Dana White’s Background and Early Life
Early Life and Education
Dana White was born on July 28, 1969, in Manchester, Connecticut, to June and Dana White Sr. He is of Irish descent and has a sister named Kelly. White spent his childhood in various places, including Ware, Massachusetts, Las Vegas, Nevada, and Levant, Maine. He attended Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, where he met Lorenzo Fertitta, who would later become his business partner and friend. White dropped out of college twice and worked as a bouncer, a bellhop, and a boxercise coach. He also trained in boxing and Brazilian jiu-jitsu under John Lewis, a former UFC fighter.
Family and Parents
White’s parents divorced when he was young, and he was raised mostly by his mother and her relatives. He has said that he had a difficult relationship with his father, who was abusive and alcoholic. White’s mother, who was a nurse, moved to Las Vegas with her children when White was in third grade, seeking better opportunities. White has said that his mother was his biggest inspiration and supporter. She died in 2020 after a long battle with cancer.
Dana White’s Career
Rise in the MMA Industry
White’s career in the MMA industry began in 1995, when he became the manager of Tito Ortiz and Chuck Liddell, two of the UFC’s early stars. In 2001, he learned that the UFC was facing bankruptcy and convinced his childhood friend Lorenzo Fertitta and his brother Frank Fertitta III, who owned a casino empire, to buy the UFC for $2 million. White became the president of the UFC and owned 9% of the company. He oversaw the UFC’s growth from a niche sport to a mainstream phenomenon, securing lucrative TV deals, expanding to new markets, signing top fighters, and producing popular shows like The Ultimate Fighter and Dana White’s Contender Series. In 2016, the UFC was sold to WME-IMG for $4 billion, making White one of the richest people in sports. He retained his position as the president of the UFC and received a 9% stake in the new company.
Controversies and Achievements
White’s career has not been without controversies and challenges. He has been involved in several disputes and lawsuits with fighters, managers, promoters, and regulators over various issues, such as fighter pay, contracts, drug testing, piracy, and health and safety. He has also been criticized for his outspoken and sometimes vulgar personality, his political views, and his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. On the other hand, White has also been praised for his vision, passion, and innovation in the MMA industry. He has received numerous awards and honors, such as the Nevada Sportsman of the Year, the World MMA Awards Leading Man of the Year, the Sports Business Journal’s 50 Most Influential People in Sports Business, and the Armed Forces Foundation’s Patriot Award.
Net Worth and Salary
As of 2023, Dana White has a net worth of $500 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth. He earns an estimated $20 million salary per year as the president of the UFC. He also has a 9% stake in the UFC’s parent company, Endeavor, which went public in 2021 and is valued at over $10 billion. White also owns several properties, cars, and a private jet.
Relationship Status and Family
White is married to Anne Stella, whom he met in eighth grade. They have three children: Dana III, Aidan, and Savannah. They live in Las Vegas, Nevada. White is known to be a devoted family man and a loyal friend. He has said that his family and his friends are the most important things in his life.
White has suffered from Meniere’s disease, a disorder of the inner ear that causes vertigo, tinnitus, and hearing loss. He underwent surgery in 2013 to treat his condition, but it was unsuccessful. He later received stem cell therapy in Germany, which improved his symptoms. He has also revealed that he had a heart attack in 2018, which he attributed to stress and lack of sleep. He has said that he tries to take better care of his health and fitness, but he still works long hours and travels frequently.
Philanthropy and Endorsements
Dana White Foundation
White is the founder of the Dana White Foundation, a charitable organization that supports various causes, such as education, health, sports, and the military. The foundation has donated millions of dollars to various organizations, such as the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, and the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. White has also personally helped many individuals and families in need, such as paying for medical bills, college tuition, and funeral expenses.
White has endorsed several brands and products, such as Bud Light, Harley-Davidson, Reebok, EA Sports, and Monster Energy. He has also appeared in commercials, movies, TV shows, and video games, such as The League, Silicon Valley, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and EA Sports UFC. He has said that he only endorses products that he likes and uses himself.