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3 Great Things UFC President Dana White Probably Learned From WWE Head Vince McMahon

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The UFC continues its unprecedented expansion and dominance in the MMA marketplace. While Bellator is a force, it isn’t in the same world as the UFC. The company recently announced its Fight Pass as part of a digital network that expands the way fans experience the UFC. MMA may not be legal in New York, but the UFC has emerged as the fastest growing sport in the world and created a new professional avenue for young athletes.

These aren’t bar fights; they are highly trained athletes who choose MMA. None of this would be possible with UFC President Dana White, whose vision and “X” factor have helped launch the sport into the American mainstream. White, whether he knows it or not, has created a UFC model that works in many ways similar to how Vince McMahon revolutionized the WWE. Here’s a look at some of the ways, White is like McMahon:

Dana White

3. Be The Star

 When it’s all said and done, the first name people remember won’t be Georges St-Pierre, Jon Jones or Chael Sonnen. It will be UFC President Dana White, the undisputed king of MMA. Like Vince McMahon is the figurehead of the WWE, particularly during its boom years, White is intertwined with the UFC brand. White knows that in order to build a brand, one needs to make people remember what it is. Good or bad, people need to know your face and they need to become familiar and comfortable with the product. When the WWE was in the doldrums in the mid-1990s, McMahon came out as the real CEO of the company and everyone loved or hated him. He was the face of the WWE. White is the face of the UFC.Dana White

2. Fire or Blast the Dissidents

Tito Ortiz, Frank Shamrock, Randy Couture, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson are all essentially persona non grata, and written out of UFC history. From White’s point of view some of them were traitors, others insignificant, but whatever the reason, White never hesitated to kick them to the curb. McMahon made a lot of money turning on his legends too. At one time,  McMahon created vignettes calling Hulk Hogan the “Huckster” and Mean Gene Okerlund “scheme” Gene. McMahon, just like White does now, made the brand more important than the original stars, and was never afraid to devalue the guys who crossed him.

Screenshot from The Ultimate Fighter.
Screenshot from The Ultimate Fighter.

1. TV Sells PPV

The UFC is all about selling monthly PPVs. Yes, the UFC has a multimillion-dollar deal with FOX, but the lifeblood of the company is PPV revenue. Although the WWE is a publicly traded company with more revenue streams than the UFC, the WWE also centers its storylines and television products around the monthly PPV build. The networks build toward sweeps weeks, but the UFC and WWE have learned that the No. 1 goal is to get fans to spend $45 a month to buy a PPV. Boxing has big PPVs about twice a year. The WWE and UFC try to do it 12 times a year.