For Dana White and Joe Rogan It’s About the Fight, Not the Hype

November 22, 2010

UFC president Dana White at UFC 102

Dana White at UFC 102

Car Salesmen. Snake Oil Peddlers. Attorneys.

Right or wrong, fight promoters are usually lumped amongst that group when it comes to people believing the hype they spew before an upcoming fight. Only, for some reason, most people don’t just shoehorn UFC president Dana White into that group.

He’s refined his delivery over the years, especially now that he’s one of the most sought after interviews in the fight world. Constantly answering the same questions over and over will do that for you, but White has always been a believer in the product he sells.

White doesn’t have to do much, if any, hyping of the fights he promotes, because he’s truly amped up by them, and surrounds himself by staffers that are fight fans as well. He’s one of the fortunate few that has built a successful company out of something he and his business partners, Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta, are passionate about.

“We never hype things up and tell you something we don’t believe,” said UFC broadcaster Joe Rogan at a recent question and answer session he and White conducted in Germany. “One of the beautiful things about this sport is it really is exciting. I really am a huge fan of it. It’s not a job.

“When I talk about these fights, I’m very excited for real.”

“And never at any point do I go up to him and say, ‘Listen, this is what we need to get across,’” added White. “He and I literally go on camera and we just start talking about the fights. We do this all the time. We’ll talk on the phone for two (expletive) hours, going crazy about the fights that are coming up, because we’re truly excited about them.”

Anyone that has known White for any length of time – and Rogan, as well, for that matter – knows his passion isn’t a smokescreen. He could have cashed in his chips and walked away from mixed martial arts a wealthy man long ago.

And he’s as passionate about the aftermath as he is about the build-up. When UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva put on a baffling display at UFC 112 in Abu Dhabi, White was as critical of his titleholder as he usually is emphatic about singing his praises as the best pound-for-pound fighter on the planet. In fact, he led the posse that was calling for Silva’s job.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been more embarrassed in the 10 years being in this business,” said White after Silva’s fight with Demian Maia. “It’s the first time I’ve walked out during a main event and given the belt to a guy’s manager and told him to put it on him.”

White may sound rehearsed coming out of interviews with Jim Rome, ESPN’s SportsCenter, or too many national radio shows to count, but that’s only after he’s already answered the same questions in the brash, off-the-cuff manner that has endeared him to fans, making him as big a star as many of his fighters.

But that’s all inherent in his personality. When he and Rogan break down the fights, it isn’t written down what to say, nor does someone rehearse them on the details. What you see is what you get.

“There’s no preparation. There’s no, like, here’s the script. Here’s what we have to say,” said Rogan. “(I’ve) never been told don’t say this, say this, talk about that. It’s always just, holy (expletive); this is going down tonight!

“We don’t need to prep; we just get in front of each other and start talking.”