How is the Net Worth of Dana White $500 Million?

July 13, 2021

Have you ever wondered what the net worth of Dana White is? While known as a successful executive, White’s fortune may surprise you. As President and minority owner of the UFC, Dana White has grown the company to a multi-billion dollar organization. Dana White’s annual salary and equity stake in the UFC have allowed his net worth to skyrocket to $500 Million. In this post, we’ll explain how White accrued his wealth.

Early Life

Dana White was born on July 28th, 1969 in Manchester, Connecticut. His parents, June and Dana White Sr. identify as Irish American. White began his schooling in Connecticut and then attended Hermon High School in Maine. While he enrolled in college twice in Massachusetts, it never lasted longer than a semester.

From a young age, White was interested in boxing and MMA. White spent a lot of time in local gyms getting to know fighters and coaches as a teenager in Massachusetts. He enjoyed the sport and was enamored with the rise of boxing during the 80s and 90s. These decades included the stardom of fighters like Mohammed Ali, Mike Tyson, and others.

White would continue living in Massachusetts and working in the fighting industry until a conflict with a local mobster caused him to flee. He would abruptly leave Massachusetts for Las Vegas, where his career representing fighters would begin. 

UFC Manager

Dana White and Chuck Liddell
Source: SportBible

While in Las Vegas in the late ‘90s and early 2000s, White would serve as the manager to Tito Ortiz and Chuck Liddell. As the manager for two popular fighters, White’s influence on the business began to grow. Additionally, his role allowed him to build relationships with company leadership at the UFC. These connections would be the catalyst to him hearing about the opportunity of a lifetime.

UFC Purchase and President

White began to hear rumors about Semaphore Entertainment, the parent company of the UFC, wanting to sell the company. This sprung White to action and he contacted a childhood friend, billionaire Lorenzo Fertitta. 

Fertitta, part-owner of Station Casinos, and his older brother Frank, a restaurateur, agreed to acquire the UFC for $2 Million in 2001. When they bought the business, it had little assets or intrinsic value and it represented a huge risk. As a result of his vision and desire to grow the brand, White was chosen as President and given a 9% ownership stake. This can be considered “sweat equity” since it served to incentivize White as President to grow the business effectively.

At the time of the purchase, White’s stake was worth less than $200,000.

UFC Growth

Dana White smiling while holding a UFC belt
Source: People

Between 2001 and 2016, White was able to grow its revenue exponentially. The company achieved over $600 Million in revenue in 2016 alone. With White’s leadership, the UFC has held events in over 175 countries and its pay-per-view content has reached tens of millions of households globally. Additionally, it is home to some of the biggest fighting personalities in the world today such as Connor McGregor, Anderson Silva, and Jon Jones.

White has been praised for his work in not only reviving the failing brand but for turning the UFC into the largest Mixed-Martial Arts (MMA) organization in the world.

In July 2016, the UFC was sold to multiple investors in WME-IMG, for $4.025 Billion. White’s stake at the time was valued at over $360 Million. Soon after, it was announced that White would continue as President and was given a new ownership stake.

In 2019, White announced a new 7-year contract to remain as President of the UFC. This deal is estimated to be at ~$20 Million/year.

Dana White Net Worth 2021

As of 2021, Dana White has a net worth of $500 Million. As the UFC’s brand value has drastically improved over recent years, so has White’s net worth. A lot of the brand’s growth can be contributed to specific starfighters like Conor Mcgregor and Rhonda Rousey. With the dramatic growth of the company, the UFC has now catapulted to one of the top 10 most valuable sport business brands in the world.

In 2016, White sold 9% of his stake in the UFC and now currently commands a $20 Million a year salary as president of the UFC. His salary along with the ownership in the business means that White’s net worth will only continue to grow over the years.

Key Takeaways

  • Prioritize equity over earnings: White was able to secure an ownership position in the UFC in 2001 without a monetary investment. Not only did this incentivize White to grow the brand, but it allowed his net worth to grow alongside the business. There are many stories about entrepreneurs or investors who chose money in the present over the upside of an equity stake. When possible, and if you’ll have influence in growing the brand, consider the equity stake and its upside, and believe in yourself.
  • Do what you love: White is a lifelong fan of MMA and fighting. He’s been around the sport for decades and his passion allows him to truly do what he loves. As a result, White is known for loving Mondays. Unfortunately, this is such a contrast in our society since many of us dread our work. Be willing to pivot and pursue the career that will bring you joy!
  • It won’t always be pretty: Whether it’s a new venture, online content, etc., chances are that you’ll see little traction at the start. Consider the early stages as the perfect time to figure out what works for your consumer base. It won’t always appear as if you’re on the right track but continue to focus on your audience and be willing to pivot along the way!

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