by Ivan Trembow and Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com
Dana White, President of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, officially received his professional boxing license from the Nevada State Athletic Commission on Monday morning.
White was attemping to acquire such a license in order to fulfill a contractual promise that he made to professional MMA fighter Tito Ortiz when Ortiz re-signed with the UFC in 2006.
With the license in hand, White is now cleared to face Ortiz in an exhibition boxing match that will consist of three rounds of three minutes each. All of the standard ringside precautions will be taken, and the bout will take place under the auspices of a professional boxing referee, although there will be no judges or scoring of rounds due to the bout’s exhibition status.
The bout is scheduled to take place on March 24th and will not be open to the public. There are plans to air the bout on UFC.com (though not live), with the majority of the financial proceeds going to charity. There will also be a documentary about Ortiz and White’s training for the bout on Spike TV.
White received his license following a 3-1 vote by the NSAC to approve him. The lone dissenting vote was from Dr. Raymond “Skip” Avansino, Jr. who after much discussion said that he could not justify granting a license to an 0-0 professional boxer to face a fighter with as much experience as Tito Ortiz, albeit as a mixed martial artist and not as a professional boxer.
At one point, White did say that he was doing this because he wanted to live up to the word that he gave when he promised the bout to Ortiz. Reassuring the commission, he said, “Believe me, if I thought I was going to get seriously injured… I wouldn’t do it.”
UFC Chief Operating Officer Kirk Hendrick also spoke on behalf of White, saying that he really has been training for this and is taking it seriously. “This is not WWE wrestling. This is not Vince McMahon getting in the ring. We’re taking this seriously,” said Hendrick, addressing another concern of Avansino’s that this was some sort of “publicity event.”
At one point, when Dr. Avansino was saying that he couldn’t justify voting in favor of granting White a license to fight Ortiz because he felt it was a mismatch in favor of Ortiz, Hendrick said that if anything it would be a mismatch in favor of White. Hendrick said to the athletic commission that White used to “dominate” Ortiz when they would spar together.
White was an amateur boxer from the ages of 17 to 24 (which would be 1988 to 1995) before turning to managing fighters and then to his current position as president of Zuffa, which is now the most successful mixed martial arts company in the United States, if not the world.
In the end, the argument for the bout to take place won out, and the 3-1 vote was cast in favor of newly licensed professional boxer Dana White.
White said towards the end of the meeting, “Believe me, I’m never going to fight again after this.”