Love him or hate him, Dana White is a big reason there is a UFC 100 and is going to be written about a lot by the websites and newspapers who don't cover MMA on a regular basis. The UFC president can be overbearing, relentless, a rough boss and obnoxious to some but his hustle over the years has turned the promotion into a real player. He demands that his 110 employees work like he does, always with the eye on the prize. It's all about competition for the 39-year-old.
Matt Youmans from the Las Vegas Review-Journal chronicled a day in the life of White. Oddly enough, it started at 1:30 in the morning with White 'competing' at a Las Vegas blackjack table. White is a real company man, playing his 21 at the Fertitta-owned Palace Station (Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta are also 90-percent owners of the UFC). That desire to scrap has helped White take the UFC from a $44 million dollar hole just over four years ago to a 100th where it's expected that the pay-per-view buys alone will gross well over $60 million. Yet White says he's still just scratching the surface and is frustrated that he can't work more than his current 14-16 hours a day:
"The only thing that's holding this business back right now, the reason we're not growing faster than we already are, is because there's not enough time in the day, and other people have to sleep. That's really our biggest enemy right now is time. I sleep probably three to six hours a night. The great thing about me is I don't require a lot of sleep. I don't like sleeping. It actually bothers me. I wake up a lot. I'm always thinking about what needs to be done."
White, who had an absentee father, does make sure that he's part of his family's life each and everyday:
"I don't care if I get home at 5 in the morning, I wake up two hours later and get the kids ready for school, eat breakfast and I drive them to school every day. My kids are my greatest accomplishment. People who don't have kids don't understand. There isn't anything you could ever buy or anything you could ever earn or anything you could ever do that's better than hanging out with your kids."
Don't his wife Anne and three kids miss out on a lot because of all the time he does spend working?
"My family and my wife have become very used to it. They get it, they know. I get to do and they get to do a lot of great things because of what goes on at the UFC. Is it a negative that I'm not home all the time? Sure it is. But I could be a guy who's out working three jobs trying to make ends meet. You've got to look at positives, man, not the negatives."
There were some interesting personal nuggets in the story. White, who met the Fertittas at Las Vegas' big money school, Bishop Gorman High School, didn't make it all the way through his senior year. He also had to attend two public high schools in Vegas because of disciplinary action and finished his senior year back in Maine. Why? His mother was fed up with White's partying as a teen. He crashed a girlfriend's car one night after hanging out at an all-ages club. Pouring salt in the wound, there was a girl in the car that night but it wasn't his girlfriend.
The story wraps up with White back at the blackjack table. He plays $10,000-$25,000 per hand. Is that a lot? The LVRJ says that he's worth an estimated $200 million now. Not bad for a guy who at one point had his buddies the Fertittas $44 million in the hole.