Dana White Defends UFC Crushing the Competition, Has No Problem with Bellator

October 13, 2011
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Dana White

The UFC and company president Dana White have garnered a reputation over the years for crushing the competition… or at least buying them out.

Cases in point: Affliction, Strikeforce, Pride, WEC, WFA, etc.

Other promotions have fallen to the wayside in the long shadow cast by the MMA juggernaut; the IFL and EliteXC chief among them.

White, however, says it’s typically not a case of the UFC going on the offensive with other fight promotions… at least not until they get poked with a stick. Despite some legal wrangling, which is fairly normal in business, he points to Bellator as a prime example of a promotion that the UFC is happy to co-exist with.

“You never heard me say a bad thing about them. I have no beef with them whatsoever. They’re doing their thing and we’re doing our thing,” said White.

“I’ve went after the promotions that come after me. When you come out and you talk a bunch of (expletive), talk about our company and how we’re doing business, and how you’re gonna take us down and you’re gonna beat us; now you’ve picked a fight. And now we’re gonna fight until somebody wins and somebody loses.”

White has never been afraid to admit that he can be your best friend or your worst enemy with little time for those that fall somewhere in the middle. But he currently doesn’t appear to have any issues with Bellator, the next best contender to the UFC now that Strikeforce is under the same roof and is on course to be swallowed up by the UFC.

“The people from Bellator have never said anything about us. I have nothing to say about them either. They’re out there. They’re doing their thing. Good for them.”

Boxing promoter Bob Arum… now that’s another story altogether.

  • Of course he has no problem with Bellator. Pride, Strikeforce, EliteXC, all had events that had comparable numbers (or better) to UFC ones. Bellator hasn’t come close. If they ever get to that point, I’m sure it will be war.

  • wonggfan

    “The people from Bellator have never said anything about us. I have nothing to say about them either. They’re out there. They’re doing their thing. Good for them.”

    LOL! The issue is not that talking shit. The issue is competition. I just love it when Dana gives dumbed down explanation for his fanboys.

  • reactorrob

    I can understand the Dana White but let’s be factual. Strikeforce and Elite XC NEVER, NEVER, NEVER had comparable numbers of viewers. To make that statement is inspired ignorance.

    Affliction went out of business because they bleed themselves red. They way overpaid Fedor, Sylvia, Arlovski & others and didn’t get close to the revenue they needed. The never had one iota of a chance to compete with the UFC, because the had a HORRIBLE business model.

    Pride was the only true competition for the UFC and was the better quality promotion for many years. Unfortunately you had the Yakuza getting involved an other internal issues that contributed to the downfall of Pride.

    Actually Bellator is the only company that could, in time, be a realistic threat to the UFC. They are slowly building a base by virtue of having exclusive contracts for their champions & top fighters. You associate Lombard and Alvarez with Bellator. If they move over to Spike and gradually build their name and quality of fighters under contract, they could become a healthier “Strikeforce”.

    • Your post is either misleading or you yourself are ignorant of MMA history. Those organizations never had the same number of viewers over time, which is why they got bought out, but as I said they had events that performed better. EliteXC has the record for the most watched fight on US tv, not the UFC. And Strikeforce has also had television events that have beaten UFC ones. Bellator’s main events routinely get beaten by UFC prelims.

      • jared499

        Your post is also a bit misleading. It needs to be mentioned that the this is for tv fights only and does not include PPV events. The UFC does not offer that great of cards on free tv to even be a contender here. Most of the televised cards are undercards or prelims. I will be interested to see what the numbers are for the Cain v JDS fight on FOX. IF 7.6 million tuned in for Kimbo v Thompson, then this should blow out that figure.

      • reactorrob

        While that is true that one or two shows here & there did better, so what? Elite XC was a one trick pony; The Kimbo Slice Show! After he lost to Seth Petruzulli, we heard to thuds; Kimbo and Elite XC hitting the mat, out cold.

        Pulling in the greatest amount of tv viewers for that one show really paid off didn’t it. Ratings mean squat, when you aren’t making any money from your TV contract. I don’t think the Fertitas or Dana White lost much sleep over Elite XC’s ratings, knowing they were drowning in debt.

        Bellator isn’t getting huge ratings, but that isn’t their biggest priority. Keeping costs to revenue manageable, consistently putting together shows on a regular schedule, developing champions/top fighters associated with Bellator (Lombard, Alvarez, etc.) are their top priorities. If/when Bellator comes to Spike, you’ll see a significant increase in ratings and they’ll have a financially more sound promotion than Strikeforce. Mainly because they know that unless you follow a prudent business model, the greatest rating in the world won’t save you.

    • jared499

      Agreed, the business model for all of these promotions were flawed. And the sad part is that they all seemed to follow the exact same plan even after the promotion before them failed using that plan.

      Prime example is StrikeForce. When Zuffa bought Affliction eveyone started talking about how SF was now #2 promotion. Dana made this same comment about how he liked Scott Coker and that he had no issues with StrikeForce. Then SF went on the offense and started picking up fighters at high salaris, Fedor and Hendo to make the move to the next level. And the same thing happened, except StrikeForce sold out to Zuffa, like Pride did.

      Hopefully Belletor learns the leason and does not go out and overspend on fighters and keeps the business model that has worked to this point

      • wonggfan

        You sound so ignorant. Let me guess. You do not have a college degree huh?

        Business Model? Lol at MMA fanboy discussing business model over the internet.

        Strikeforce owners sold their shares at a premium. Strikeforce in no way were forced to sell to the UFC on shit terms. Signing Fedor & HWs was the best thing the promotion ever did.

        Affliction was never bought out by the UFC. Affliction folded and UFC assumed some of its contracts. Affliction paid its fighters way more than Strikeforce ever did.

        • jared499


          Sorry if this sounds ignorant to you. But let me say that I simply agree with what the origional post stated, that these Promotions “Bleed themselves Red” Which means that they spent more then they were able to generate, and this is the most simple example of a poor business model. By signing the big name fighters, most of which were declining (Arlovski and Sylvia), to huge contracts from the start, it made it almost impossible to have a long term plan. They forced themselves into a situation were the shows have to generate a high level of revenue to put on the next show. By buisness logic, they made themselves “cash poor”.

          As far as Strikeforce is concerned. Do no make excuses, make no mistake they were forced to sell. The stake holders may have recieved a premium for their shares, but if they were able to continue to produce their own shows, they would have never sold. They could have made much more money running their own business then they did selling it. Which means that they could not afford to continue or were getting very close, and by selling now the value of the business netted a larger return on sale versus waiting until they were completely broke, like Affliction.

          You are right in your commment that I do not have a degree. But I own a successsful business and multiple properties in Seattle, so needless to say, I am not hurting, and neither are the almost 100 people I employee.

          You are always bullying people in your comments, calling us “fanboys” and such. Were you bullied as a child and trying to gain a bit of that dignity back by being a “Keyboard Warrior”. Grow up man and realize that you are not always correct and people have to right to their own opinion, even if it differs from yours.

          • wonggfan

            (1) You are a horrible writer.

            (2) You do not employee 100+ people.

            (3) SF sold their shares at a premium.

            (4) After signing all those HWs, SF all of a sudden became relevant.

            (5) LOL @ MMA nerd discussing business models on MMAWEEKLY!! Hilarious!!

        • reactorrob

          @wonggfan the signing of Fedor, while creating a great deal of buzz, was in many ways more trouble than it was worth. Negotiating with M-1 was a nightmare; they dictated who Fedor would fight and when. They paid M-1 through the nose for Fedor to fight and never made a penny from him because of the pittance they got from Showtime.

          If you’re trying to say that Hendo was a big draw, I don’t know what to tell you. It was a name signing, yes, but by himself he doesn’t bring in lots of viewers. In all of his pre-Zuffa Strikeforce fights, the revenue (or lack thereof) created was much less than he was getting paid. Was this Hendo’s fault? No, it was Coker and the San Jose ownership groups.

          You can’t sign big contracts to fighters, even if only 2 or 3, if you can’t be reasonably certain that your revenue streams will increase enough to make it profitable.

          Your pointing out that Affliction paid more than Strikeforce for their fighters only makes our point. Affliction stupidly paid top dollar for fighters in a startup promotion that 0% chance of coming close to making a profit. Once Affliction died, Strikeforce believed it could get some of the Affliction fighters and compete with the UFC.

          Because of the non-exclusive fighter contracts, poor marketing, lousy network deal, and cross promotion with M-1 Strikeforce was doomed to the same fate as Affliction and Elite XC. As Jared said, atleast the ownership group was smart enough to sell before they ran themselves into the ground.

          • wonggfan

            Nice story.

            Tell me something. Those companies you mentioned. What were their revenues, gross profit margin, and gross income like???

          • jared499


            Revenues (money company brings in during a period of time

            Gross Income (receipts and gains from all sources less cost of goods sold)

            Gross Profit margin (financial measurement used to assess financial health by revealing the proportion of money left over from revenues after accounting for the cost of goods sold

            Probably could find out if you are that interested, but my guess is that Affliction’s GI and GMP were non-exsistent considering that they had to shut their doors after one failed event. As far as revenues go, I think that it is pretty safe to say that they had less money coming in then they the had going out

            As for Stikeforce, as I said earlier, the GI and GMP was probably positive at this time, but they saw the writting on the door and got out before it went to shi* so that they could recoup something from the company. Again, revenues were definately higher then Affliction, but they again must have seen those numbers falling or they would not have sold. The smart thing that SF did, that Affliction did not do, is that they saw the end and got out before it was too late. They probably could have dragged it on longer, but if they did, those holding shares would not have recieved the premiums you are so intent on talking about.

            Question for you, when was the last time a flourishing company sold its buisness to it’s main competitor when they were financially solid?

    • wonggfan

      I don’t think you understand what competition means. In the econ sense, a competitor is anyone in the same market.

      You are using the word “competition” to mean “equals.”

  • reactorrob

    How many baseball pro leagues are their in the US?
    How many in football, basketball, and hockey?

    While I understand that those are team sports and MMA is different, it doesn’t totally invalidate the comparison. The USFL and the WFL tried to compete with the NFL and failed. Did Pete Rozelle do everything he could to quash those leagues? Of course. The only difference is that Pete Rozelle was polished, PR savvy guy and Dana White is a hothead that fans love to hate. Otherwise there is no difference, just the packaging. Hell, the USFL won a court case against the NFL, but the judgment was for 1 buck. How’s that for punishing a monopoly?

    Meanwhile, there is Dream, M-1, BAMMA and Pro FC internationally and Bellator plus several regional organizations in the US.

    • wonggfan

      Umm….what about Apple vs IBM?

      • jared499

        That comparison is not adequate because you are comparing companies that sell manufatured merchandise to a much larger consumer base, to sporting promotions that are limited in the fighters (if they run out of a fighter they can not simply make 1 miliion more to meet the demand). There would be no issue of “competition” between MMA promotions if the product was manufactured and sustainable over longer periods of time (MMA can not just come out with upgrades/patches to better the fighters).

      • reactorrob

        That is a spurious comparison; the only true comparisions are sports entertainment, which have always been treated very differently from typical business monopolies.

        • wonggfan

          Not really.

          • jared499


            Wow great argument. I compare it to the “because I said so” one my father used to use.

  • reactorrob

    Talking about Elite XC like it meas something is silly until they can prove the can last beyond 3 years. Dana White and the UFC didn’t kill those other MMA promotions, they committed financial suicide.

    What some people don’t realize that ratings for a MMA show are not the be all end all. Strikeforce signed a lousy TV contract with Showtime; they were showing fights for peanuts. Even when Strikeforce had a good night with ratings, it meant nothing. Absolutely nothing. If you’re locked into a bad TV contract for 3-5 years and you’re losing money with every fight, how does one great show’s ratings help?

    The reason that Bellator is much more relevant than Strikeforce, Elite XC and Affliction ever was is that they’re making sound business decisions. Bellator is smart enough to know that they can’t compete head on with the UFC. They are taking baby steps, trying to build up their name over the long haul. The tournement format was a smart move to start their promotion. Eventually, you would believe once they’re on solid financial ground there will no longer they need to use that format. Perhaps, if they are smart and lucky, in 3-5 years Bellator will be a real competitor for the UFC.

    The reality has always been that the UFC hasn’t had any competition since Pride. Elite XC, Affliction, and Strikeforce were jokes from a business sense. Putting on one or two nifty shows is meaningless, when the UFC has put together 140 major shows.

    • jared499

      Again well said. Completely agree.

      Now Wonggfan remind me again how big of an idiot i am.

  • jared499


    1. Don’t really care what you think of my writting skills, unless you name is Mr Stefan or Ms. Parsons (Rhetoric and English teacher).

    2. You are correct, the actual number is 86. And I said almost 100, so your reading level is about the same as my writing level. You never did answer what you do, emabarassed.

    3. SF put themselves into a position that they needed to sell because they could not run the company themselves, even if they recieved a premium for their shares, still failed. And in the end it is why they will be swalloed into the Zuffa/UFC brand, lawsuit or not.

    4. SF did become relevant by getting those HW’s (although only for the short term and could not maintain that for the long term because).

    5. This is an open forum, were else would you like him to comment about what is on his mind. Maybe we should keep it up tp your level and only discuss what idiots others are.

    6. Still think you were picked on, possibly beat up as a child. It is ok, get over it, you are an adult now (well maybe).

    As always just my opinion.