After Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was sold to WME-IMG for a staggering $4 billion last year (details), company president Dana White inked a five-year deal worth an estimated $360 million to stay as head honcho for the world’s largest mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion.
So why did White — who was already a multi-millionaire — not take the money and run like many in his previous circle did?
Because he’s not in it for the money, he’s in the fight game because he loves it and if it were up to him, he would have signed a 55-year deal if he could.
“I couldn’t do that (walk away). I’m in, man. I love this. I’m not going anywhere. Everybody keeps asking me, ‘You signed a five-year deal?' I signed a five-year deal because you have to sign a deal. I would have signed a 55-year deal,” said White during an appearance on The Exchange via Yahoo! Sports.
The old adage, ‘Do what you love and it won’t feel like work,’ is one the outspoken president can relate to, as he confirmed he could've easily walked away and never “work” a day in his life. But his passion for what he does best is much stronger.
“At the end of the day, it’s not like, oh, you have a five-year deal, you have to work for five years. Nobody can make you work. If I said (expletive) it; I’m done. I’m not going to do it anymore. I could get up and walk out of here right now. Nobody can make me work. So no matter what you sign, you’re either here because you want to be here or you’re not,” he said.
“I want to continue to put on badass fights and break records. I said it a long time ago, this has the potential to be the biggest sport in the world. We have more potential now to reach more people, so that the world can see the fights.”
Despite becoming richer than his wildest dreams could've ever imagined, White maintains that he isn’t in it for the dough.
“I don’t even think about the money,” he said. “It’s not what I’m in it for. I was never in this for the money, ever.”
Once his five years are up, it will be interesting to see whether or not White sticks around for another five or if the promotion decides to go a new route. After all, the new head honchos upstairs have shown they aren’t afraid to shake things up.