Yesterday, UFC President Dana White sat down with entrepreneur, Tony Robbins to discuss all things business. They covered a multitude of topics including a few questions asked by the audience.
All in all, this was a fascinating talk. Watching it from start to finish, there were plenty of things one could take away from this talk beside the $7 billion number drop when White discussed the value of the UFC following their new TV deal with ESPN.
Among the talks of humble beginnings, including his decision to move away from his job in South Boston to pursue the fight game, his roller-coaster business venture with Lorenzo Fertitta, and the daily grind of managing the UFC’s expansion into the global market were small nuggets of insight into White’s psyche, as well as events on the horizon.
You cannot expect an interview with Dana White about the UFC’s history without mentioning the sports household names: Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey.
During a holiday in Ireland, White hit the local pubs and got word from the patrons that he should sign McGregor. When they finally met, White saw a truly distinct personality in the Irishman. His laugh, his demeanour, the way he carries himself, all pointed to the young man being a driven individual. White stated that Conor mapped out exactly how his career will go. A man with an ambitious vision and a personality to match is exactly what White was looking for to take the UFC mainstream.
It’s the same thing the UFC president saw in Rousey. Meeting her after a fight, Dana saw the same drive. He realised that having this particular character trait, the awareness to map out your career and put it into motion, is what elevates you to the next level. What made those meetings more memorable was the authenticity that came with the ambition of both fighters.
Dana brought the point home answering an audience member in a Q&A about bringing someone into your company who is a quiet individual. He said to just be you. As long as you’re putting in the work, that’s all that matters. White jokingly added that being something you’re not in this industry is indistinguishable from someone in the WWE.
When observing UFC fighters during the Money Fight era, you can see the rise of call-out culture and trash talking on various social media accounts. One would not have to look far to see how it developed. Fighters as prolific as McGregor and Rousey and their success at gaining publicity doing just that, coupled with their performance in the ring, made a bold addition to MMA culture.
Fighters today attempt what they did thinking that is what will get them to the top of the sport, all the while missing the point of how and why it is effective. World champions Stipe Miocic and GSP break that mould by being themselves without having to indulge in that particular aspect of MMA culture, and it works for them because they are authentic without it. This appears to be Dana White’s point. Being yourself, getting the job done, and mapping out your career are the keys to allowing a fighter to transcend the world of mixed martial arts.
Now, everyone will, of course, have their own takeaways from this interview. Mine is that there is a lot which is unknown in the world of business. Another golden nugget Dana talked about was his efforts to expand the UFC’s global appeal. The first ever fight night in Moscow will act as something of a barometer for Russian enthusiasm for the UFC’s brand of MMA.
White also revealed he has plans to revisit South Korea and China for Fight Night events in the not too distant future. What made this worth highlighting above anything else was the tease for a new prospect superstar fighter. The UFC president claimed that he has found a fighter in China who he believes has the potential to be a champion.
That said, UFC fans are all too familiar with Dana’s record of hyping fighters. Notable fighters like Francis Ngannou who lost in the least well-received heavyweight fight in UFC history against Derrick Lewis and Gokhan Saki who was knocked out in the first round against Khalil Roundtree.
With that in mind, will this Chinese fighter become as big of a star as White proclaims? It is hard to say, but time will tell.
Being the curious person I am, I decided to do some snooping and see who this mystery fighter might be. The best guesses I have at this stage are active fighters Meixuan Zhang and Sai Wang who are ranked 9th and 16th on Tapology’s China P4P rankings. Just to throw a curve ball out there, Aliyar Sarkerov, a Dagestani born, fights frequently in Chinese promotions and against Chinese fighters. ‘The Tiger’ is still active and is set to defend his title at OFS 13.
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✅⚠️🏆🏆🏆OFS-13 "THE RETURN"🏆🏆🏆 Самое тихое время – короткое затишье перед бурей. Промоутерская компания "Octagon Fighting Sensation" (OFS) представляет тринадцатый турнир смешанных единоборств "OFS-13 – The Return", который пройдёт 29 сентября в ледовом дворце АРЕНА-2000 г.Ярославль, на родине лиги OFS. Предстоящий турнир соберет файткард из сильнейших представителей смешанных единоборств из России, Армении, Беларуси, Бразилии, Таджикистана, Афганистана. Известные по предыдущим событиям OFS безусловные фавориты лиги традиционно разделят октагон с новыми именами. В этот вечер вас ждёт 12 захватывающих поединков, главный бой вечера в полулёгком весе состоится между действующим чемпионом OFS Алияром "ТИГРОМ" Саркеровым и претендентом на звание чемпиона, бойцом из Бразилии, Антонио Карлосом Ребейро. Бой за защиту пояса лиги также проведет временный чемпион OFS в легком весе, Николай "ЧЕРНЫЙ КОТ" Каушанский. Промоушн также представит бои своих трех перспективных бойцов, ярко зарекомендовавших себя в предыдущих турнирах: в октагон выйдут Багаутдин Абасов, Антон Горун и Айк Казарян. Следите за новостями в социальных сетях и на сайте лиги, и не пропустите мощное бойцовское событие, призванное украсить начало осени! 📲ПОДПИСЫВАЙТЕСЬ ➡ OFS И СЛЕДИТЕ ЗА НОВОСТЯМИ! ___________________OFS______________________ . . . . . . . .CHALLENGE THE BEST. . . . . . . . . #ofs#ofs13#ofsmma#mma#ярославль#yaroslavl#сентябрь#россия#russia
Now, it could equally be the case that it is a fighter unknown to anyone. Time will tell.
It seems likely this mystery will not be revealed until next year, with 2018 planning to conclude on the highest of notes. For now, I’ll take these insights into Dana White to heart and see how, and if, they manifest.