Dana White has never faced an opponent in the octagon, but he nevertheless has a reputation as fighter willing to go to the mat for his friends and to do whatever it takes to crush his enemies. It is well known within the ranks of UFC that it is always a bad decision to cross the boss, but over the years White has found himself in the middle of brawls with punches being traded in the media. Fighters, agents, promoters and celebrities have all experienced his wrath for one reason or another. The sheer number of beefs White has engaged in should make us wonder if it’s often just about him wanting to scrap with someone for the fun of it.
15. Where’s the Beef?
UFC president Dana White has been in the middle of a number of feuds with fighters, but his 2016 “beef” with Nate Diaz was unlike the others. Diaz posted footage to his Instagram account showing him delivering a Stockton Slap to White. If this had been real it would have undoubtedly sparked a major escalation. it looks like Diaz and White both got what they wanted from their little stunt: publicity. One has to wonder how many of White’s beefs are motivated as much by a desire for publicity as a genuine need to pursue a grudge.
14. I am Legend
Frank “The Legend” Shamrock is one of the old school MMA fighters from the early days of UFC. he has had an on and off feud with Dana White for more than a decade. They have traded insults for years and at one point Shamrock said he wanted to fight White in the octagon. The feud continued to fester in public, then in 2014 the two men were able to come to an understanding and move on. This surprising turns of events took one beef off the table, but left White with several more beefs still simmering.
13. The Full Nelson
The official story is simply that bearded heavyweight fighter Roy Nelson and Dana White never got along. However there have been rumors around MMA that Nelson has intentionally instigated a beef with White to raise his profile by playing to the segment of UFC fans who dislike White. Both Nelson and White have dismissed the idea of a ploy, but can we put it past either of them? The UFC is an entertainment business and White’s collection of ongoing feuds have been entertaining and lucrative.
12. In the Lion’s Den
Most of Dana White’s beefs amount to a war of words, but his feud with Team Lion’s Den champion Ken Shamrock was a little different. In 2006 Shamrock filed a lawsuit against UFC’s parent company. The suit was unsuccessful, but the feud lingered until 2014. The two men were able to bury the hatchet after a 45 minute phone call in which they both had their say. The details of the call were not released, but both men were satisfied that the move was a good thing for UFC.
11. Helwani Takes the Heat
In an unusual move in sports media, reporter Ariel Helwani was banned for life from covering UFC fights. Dana White, the president of UFC was adamant when asked about the fate of Helwani for releasing a couple of MMA stories without clearing it with UFC first. Reporting stories seems like a fairly trivial reason to ban a reporter, but White’s reputation for confrontations with the media is well-deserved. Helwani’s lifetime ban from UFC will serve as a warning to other reporters considering leaking stories and running afoul of White.
10. Pride vs. White
It was fun for UFC to have a rival MMA organization like Pride to battle. Dana White seemed to get a kick out of feuding with Pride and using the shenanigans to ratchet up interest in the fights. Of course UFC fighters didn’t always beat their Pride opponents such as the 2003 matchup between Chuck Liddell and Quentin Jackson. Whether all of this drama was ultimately good for UFC television ratings and for ticket sales is unclear because UFC’s parent company went and bought Pride in 2007 for $70 million. Buying up the competition is one way to make sure the competition doesn’t beat you, but it also ended an epic beef.
9. Elite Rival
Some people need a nemesis to battle and for Dana White one of these was Gary Shaw. Shaw was president of Elite Extreme Combat, a rival MMA organization that competed with UFC from 2006 to 2008. Although the rivalry was short-lived it generated a lot of heat between the two outspoken executives. Shaw argued that his company treated fighters much better than the UFC did its fighters. People disagree whether this stance was simply clever marketing or an accurate description of the state of affairs. Either way White did not take the criticism lying down so a very public beef ensued.
8. Going to the Wood Shed
Tyron Woodley is UFC’s hard hitting welterweight champion, but this apparently wasn’t good enough for Dana White so he trashed his fighter in the media and questioned whether MMA fans even wanted to see Woodley in the octagon again. An ugly feud ensued in the media with threats and accusations traded and Woodley promising to reveal damaging secrets about White. But before this beef could escalate any further Woodley apologized. This important gesture allowed both men to move past the dispute and again focus on beating people in the octagon.
7. Wandering into a Fight
Perhaps Wanderlei Silva’s credibility isn’t what it used to be since he was slapped with a lifetime ban from MMA by the Nevada Athletic Commission for evading a mandatory drug test in 2014. However, his situation hasn’t stopped Silva from sounding off about a number of issues including UFC president Dana White. Silva, along with other fighters, has called out White over what he considers ill treatment of UFC fighters, the deal White inked with Reebok to provide equipment to fighters and public denunciations of fighters such as Jose Aldo. White doesn’t take these charges lying down and continues to make his case in the media in the strongest terms possible.
6. Bellator’s Master of the Universe
When Gjorn Rebney, the CEO of Bellator, was asked about his rival UFC he’d didn’t pull any punches: “I do have an opinion. The UFC has set the bar pretty high in terms of tasteless comments. The recent comments on Georges St-Pierre are some of the most tasteless comments they’ve made in some time.” Rueben was referring to, among other things, they way he felt Dana White has treated MMA stars like Georges St-Pierre. There certainly appears to be genuine animosity between the two MMA chiefs, but it’s also true that their very public beefs are a good way to keep interest in the sport between fights. It seems we’ve reached a point where many fans expect and want this kind of drama in MMA.
5. Gambling Man
In of the more colorful feuds in MMA Ricco Rodriguez was banned from UFC for betting on himself in a match while wearing a henna tattoo of the casino where he placed the bet. Rodriguez won the fight and raked in a $500,00 payday from Golden Palace casino. Dana White was understandably incensed by the fighter’s behavior and White has seen to it that he doesn’t fight for UFC. Interestingly, Rodriguez has publicly stated that he doesn’t blame White for his grudge so this one is not quite the usual running beef fans are used to when dealing with the likes of White.
4. Huntington Beach Bad Boy
Former light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz and UFC president Dana White were scheduled to face off in a boxing ring in 2007, but the bout was eventually called off. This ill-fated match was agreed to after several years of feuding between the fighter and the executive. The fight fell through after Ortiz failed to appear at the weigh-in without any explanation. Ten years later the two men still appear to be nursing a beef. The exact origins of this feud are unclear, but the two have traded barbs and accusations for more than a decade. Although Ortiz hasn’t been a part of UFC for most of this time there doesn’t seem to be a way for the two men to bury the hatchet once and for all.
3. Afflicted to You
Affliction and UFC have been direct competitors in the world of MMA so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the two organizations would not always get along. But when you throw UFC president Dana White into the mix you get a whole next level of feud. Affliction was created by Affliction Clothing in 2008, but was run as a separate organization and held only two highly publicized pay-per-view events before folding in 2009. The short-lived upstart was never a threat to UFC so Dana White could have simply ignored Affliction, but his combative personality would not allow him to stand pat when he had the opportunity to take some shots.
2. Unluck of the Irish
The feud between MMA star Colin McGregor and UFC president Dana White was about money on the surface. McGregor refused to go to Las Vegas to promote UFC-200 because according to him he’s paid to fight not to promote. As some critics pointed out McGregor was either misinformed or being dishonest about the situation. This beef erupted after a feud was already simmering for some time behind the scenes between these two big personalities. Neither White nor McGregor is disposed to back down which is part of the reason these feuds fester. We also can’t totally discount the possibility that much of this is just free publicity for the UFC.
1. Out of Sync
In an interview with Sports Illustrated magazine in 2013 Dana White went out of his way to call out Justin Timberlake for supposedly ignoring White’s children backstage at a Nickelodeon award show. Even for White this beef seems like a petty squabble designed solely to get his name mentioned in the same sentence with Justine Timberlake. White referred to the former ‘N Sync star as a “d–khead” for failing to acknowledge his children in the manner he expected. If nothing else this particular feud reveals a certain amount of entitlement on White’s part. But don’t worry because Timberlake reportedly reached out to White and smoothed the situation over to everyone’s satisfaction.