UFC president Dana White is certainly a polarizing figure. He has been known to indulge in invective-riddled rants against journalists and fans. The MMA community is also split down the middle on Dana's character; some aren't too keen on the way he conducts business with his fighters and structures bouts in the UFC — namely when he reneges on "promised" title shot offers in favor of big money fights.
Others don't like that he has a buddy-buddy relationship with President Donald Trump.
There's also been a lot of discussion about the "fair" compensation of UFC fighters, especially when it comes to sponsorship deals. Once upon a time, UFC fighters were making big bucks plastering their shorts with various company logos that made them look like NASCAR drivers.
They'd make money wearing a variety of different t-shirts during their walkout entrances to the octagon. Not only did the UFC start taking cuts of that money, a percentage that increased over time, but they also did away with them.
But for all of the criticism Dana's received over the years for his "money-grubbing ways," liberal usage of profanity and oftentimes vindictive attitudes towards the media (just ask Ariel Helwani), he's also helped make a lot of progress to promote fighter safety and further the UFC, and MMA, into a more legitimate combat sport.
People often forget that mixed martial arts was seen as a "savage" display of barbarism and it was actually illegal in many states, which is no longer the case.
Which could be why Donald Trump invited Dana White to be an economic advisor at the White House.
The President put together a bunch of sports business leaders in an attempt to help revitalize the economy by offering them advisory roles in the White House and Dana was one of them. Here's the full list of Trump's picks:
- Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban
- WWE owner Vince McMahon
- Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones
- NBA Comm. Adam Silver
- NFL Comm. Roger Goodell
- NHL Comm. Gary Bettman
- MLB Comm. Rob Manfred
- Patriots owner Robert Kraft
- UFC President Dana White
Additionally, Trump's brought on executives from the NASCAR, MLS, PGA, and LPGA. Consultations will either occur on a one-on-one basis while some business leaders will be on a group call.
Dana White's been pretty vocal about his support of Donald Trump, well before the 2016 election, and let's not forget that the President was once featured on WWE programming and even beat up Vince McMahon during a live pro-wrestling broadcast.
Vince McMahon is still putting on WWE events during the coronavirus pandemic.
While Dana White was beholden to the wishes of the Mouse, which tries to avoid negative PR and controversial headlines at all costs, Vince has had no problem maintaining WWE programming. Wrestlemania 2020 was a huge hit despite being pre-recorded, and RAW, SmackDown, and NXT shows are continuing without a hitch.
Undoubtedly, there's certainly an aspect of showmanship in Trump's decision to name the following individuals as economic business advisors, as they're highly public and somewhat controversial figures who are synonymous with being at the top of their respective industries.
What do you think of Trump's move?