Dana White has long been a polarizing figure, but one thing we know is that his brash personality has never affected his bottom line. As president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), he took a fringe sport once described as “human cockfighting” and turned it into a multi-billion dollar brand. Not bad for a working-class boxercise coach from the streets of Boston. But exactly how much did he earn from his investment in mixed martial arts? Dana White’s net worth might surprise you. Learn all about UFC’s growth under his leadership—and how he’s enjoying the fruits of his labor.
Dana White Started Out As A Hotel Valet
White, 51, has organized crime to thank for his current fortune. In a 2014 interview with Forbes, he said he was working as a 19-year-old hotel valet when he had an epiphany.
“I’m standing in the lobby one day, and just thinking, ‘What the hell am I doing here?’…I make cash every day, plus get a check at the end of the week, got great benefits…but I’m not happy here,” he said. “So I literally walked out the front door, told my buddy I was quitting. Of course he told me I was nuts and [asked me], ‘What are you going to do?’ And I said, ‘I’m gonna get into the fight business.’ And that’s it…That’s what I did.”
White, who was based in Boston, dove into every facet of the sport: training, managing other fighters, and even teaching cardio classes to housewives. But one day, goons working for notorious mob boss Whitey Bulger came knocking at his door. They demanded $2,500, or else…
“That thing went down where they were trying to get money from me, and I got the phone call one day, and they were basically like, ‘You’ve got until Sunday to pay us’… [and] I left everything I had,” he continued.
White claims he immediately booked a Delta flight to Las Vegas and never looked back. There, he reconnected with childhood friend Lorenzo Fertitta. Lorenzo and his brother Frank were already making names for themselves by running Station Casinos; in 2001, they used their clout (and fat bank accounts) to purchase the UFC.
“I got no hard feelings, everything worked out for me,” said White. “The worst thing that ever happened to me ended up being the greatest thing that ever happened to me.”
He Became President Of The UFC In 2001
The Fertittas acquired the UFC—then a failing promotion on the verge of collapse—at White’s recommendation. As a result, he was installed as president and given nearly a 10 percent stake in the company.
White turned their $2 million investment into a bottomless pot of gold. The promotion went mainstream through a hit reality series, The Ultimate Fighter. And by 2006, it made $200 million in pay-per-view revenue—outshining both boxing and professional wrestling.
MMA—once seen as a savage, no-holds-barred quasi-sport—achieved legitimacy via White. But the president never rested on his laurels.
“You always think that there’s gonna be that day when, if we get to this level, then we can kind of cruise a little bit and kick back, [but] there’s no cruise,” said White. “There’s no kick back. This thing is just a beast and it just goes and goes and goes and goes.”
He Helped Sell The UFC in 2016 For $4 Billion
In July 2016, it was announced that talent agency WME-IMG, along with a number of business partners, purchased a majority stake in the UFC for $4 billion. As part of the deal, chairman Lorenzo Fertitta stepped down from his post. Other minority owners, such as the government of Abu Dhabi, retained their share of the company.
As for White, his nine percent stake was increased. He also remained the foul-mouthed face of the organization.
And his fortune just keeps growing. In March 2021, the majority owners—operating under the name Endeavor Group Holdings—announced plans to buy 100 percent of the company. As part of the buyout, previous owners of UFC will be entitled to company stock.
Endeavor introduced its IPO earlier this month with an opening price of $24 per share; at the time this article was written, it already increased to $31.
What Is Dana White’s Current Net Worth In 2021?
As of 2021, Dana White is estimated to be worth $500 million. This includes his $20 million annual salary, as well as his returns from being a minority owner of the UFC.
And he’s not shy about spending it. White lives in a massive Las Vegas mansion, which was built on the sit of three bulldozed homes. It includes a basketball court, arcade, and a pool that looks like it belongs at a luxury resort. Check out glimpses of it in this video from Haute Living:
White also has an extensive car collection. Some of his most luxurious rides include a Ferarri F430, a 1969 Chevy Camaro, and a Bentley.
Finally, he spends some of that money on good causes. In 2017, he donated $1 million to victims of the mass shooting in Las Vegas. And in 2019, he matched UFC’s Khabib Nurmagomedov’s $100,000 donation to Dustin Poirier’s charity, The Good Fight Foundation.
There’s no word on how the latest UFC buyout will impact his current fortune. But White’s not one to take a loss very well, so we expect the number to continue ticking upward.