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Dana White interview
Dana White UFC President Part 1
By Arnold "The Sushiboy" Lim
Dana White: How are you?
MMARR: Good thank you, I know you are a busy man. I appreciate you spending time with us today.
DW: My pleasure buddy. ****Yawns****
MMARR: Are you a little bit sleepy today?
DW: I am a lot a bit sleepy…
MMARR: Didn’t get much sleep last night?
DW: Nope, haven’t been getting much sleep at all for the last three years…
MMARR: First of all I wanted to talk a little bit about the UFC. It has been approximately three years since you took over the UFC. Where have you seen the sport gone in the three years since Zuffa has taken over [The UFC]?
DW: Sanctioned, back on PPV, first ever time on free T.V, Selling out major arena’s, getting major media attention, Jay Leno, Carson Daly, Jimmy Kimmel etc... we are on our way.
MMARR: In your opinion if you had to grade the job that you yourself and Zuffa has done with the UFC since you guys have taken over, what grade would you give yourself?
DW: I don’t know, as far as grading myself. We have done everything that we have set out to do almost, the TV deal is the last piece of the puzzle. All the goals that we set for ourselves in the first five years, once we secure a TV deal, we will have achieved every goal that we set out to achieve in the first three years. As far as grading myself, I have always said this before, mixed martial arts is in it’s infancy right now, Zuffa, myself and everyone who is involved right now is a very, very, very small part of a big picture. It is going to take years and years and years for this sport to become big and mainstream. I wouldn’t grade myself. As far as goals that we have achieved that we set for ourselves for the first five years, we have achieved them all already except for the TV deal.
MMARR: Is a TV deal essential to the UFC and MMA in North America or is there any way that MMA or the UFC specifically can reach profitability and or the Main Stream Media without a TV deal?
DW: It can be done without a TV deal but to really make serious, serious money and make this thing really work we need a TV deal.
MMARR: In your opinion… I think it is widely known that the UFC at this point is not a profitable business. How long do you feel that it would take, I know that there is no timetable, but before MMA and or the UFC specifically can become profitable?
DW: There are some shows out there that are making money. I know promoters out there that are making money right now. We have got this thing dialed in pretty close right now with the UFC, the biggest thing that we have always done is we have always paid the fighters more then this market will support. We have always taken good care of the fighters. But we almost got this thing dialed in, we have got the UFC almost running at a break even or making some money right now.
MMARR: Can you talk about any specific shows that were profitable and or extremely unprofitable?
DW: What do you mean? Talk about which shows were profitable which shows…
MMARR: Were there any specific shows that you guys did really well on, and any that you did really poorly on?
DW: That is hit or miss sometimes, what I found out in the last three years is it depends on what Market you are in. We never did well in Bosier City [Louisiana] , we never did well in Miami. We do very well in Las Vegas, we did very, very well in Atlantic City, the last time we were there, and we did well in the Mohegan. So those are the three places that I will do shows in now. If you see me doing shows somewhere else, something is going on. We got a great deal or something is up if I go anywhere other then New Jersey, Mohegan, or Vegas.
MMARR: You spoke about going to those other places. Is there any chance of…. being a Canadian myself I would love to see you in Canada. I know that Canada isn’t the biggest place, and might not be on the radar anytime soon but…
DW: They are on the Radar…. I would love to go to Canada. The problem is the exchange rate right now. So that is really what would keep us from going to Canada.
MMARR: So the exchange right now has been advantageous for Canadians going to America right now, so if the exchange rate closes or changes the way it has in the past, can we expect you to come to Canada and if you come to Canada, what city would you be interested in coming to?
DW: I don’t know that, I haven’t investigated it that deeply yet, but I am interested in going to Canada. If the exchange rate did change then yes, I would probably be interested in going to Canada.
MMARR: There is also probably the biggest market in your area and where a lot of the fighters come from the L.A. area. We all know that there are some problems getting out there, what are the chances of seeing the UFC in L.A. or any time soon or in the future?
DW: Say that again?
MMARR: I understand that the L.A. area is something that the UFC would be interested in going to, it is a big area, and I have heard the numbers were approximately 60% of the Vegas crowd come from the California area. What are the chances of seeing L.A. on the UFC radar any time soon and what is stopping you guys if anything?
DW: When California does open, the UFC will be the first show to do it. The first MMA show to do a show there.
MMARR: What will it take for California to open up and why is California not opening up?
DW: There is a lot of political **** that is going on right now that I would rather not get into but California will open up.
MMARR: In your opinion since you have taken over, or should I say Zuffa has taken over, what is the best thing that Zuffa has done for MMA and or the UFC?
DW: Say that again? I am having trouble hearing you…Ok there now I can hear you…
MMARR: I am going to move closer to my phone, since, the UFC or Zuffa took over the UFC, what in your opinion was the crowning achievement in Zuffa’s stay as the owners of the UFC. What is the best thing that you guys have ever done?
DW: I don’t know… we have done a lot of things, all the mainstream coverage we get now, being back on PPV the first ever free TV show, sanctioning, we have done a lot of things, it is all good.
MMARR: What in your opinion would be the biggest mistake or the biggest regret that the UFC has.
DW: The biggest mistake that we ever made was going over on the PPV for UFC 33. It still sticks in the back of my mind and I worry about it every show.
MMARR: Speaking of the PPV, you have a lot of the “Hardcore” fans complaining about the preliminaries being hit and miss. Sometimes they are shown sometimes they are not, even if there may or may not be a little bit of time available for that. Are you guys saving the prelims or is it something that you have planned to do or something that just didn’t work out.
DW: No, we are not saving the prelims for anything. Sometimes things work out sometimes they don’t. I can’t make everybody happy all the time but I will always try.
MMARR: Jens Pulver was a champion in the UFC, we saw him over quite a few years doing well. He left the UFC under somewhat dubious circumstances; will we ever see Jens Pulver back in the UFC?
DW: That is a possibility, if Jens gets a couple of key wins, beats a couple of top guys in his weight division you can definitely see Jens Pulver back.
MMARR: So it is more of a matter of his two losses rather then any sort of so called blackballing that people have talked about?
This is the end of part one. In part 2 Mr. White talks about Eddie Bravo and Marijuana, Lee Murray and Tito Ortiz in England, and more... Special thanks to Mike "Kenpoman" Torres for being the MMARR editor for a day.
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