(Sub Scott Coker in for Mase and Dana White in for Diddy and you’ll have a winning formula, guaranteed.)
If there’s anything MMA history has shown, it’s that to be a successful promotion, you need to have a hype man. That’s why some promotions never make it past the plateau of mediocrity they are stuck on.
Don’t believe me? Check out the evidence.
Before Zuffa purchased the UFC back in 2001, the company really didn’t have a face like professional wrestling and boxing did with Vince McMahon and Don King, which is what was holding the promotion back from mainstream success.
Reinventing himself with a Headblade, a vintage t-shirt and a “Do you want to be a fucking fighter?” speech, a bell boy-turned-boxercise instructor from Boston cracked the code giving MMA promoters the formula for how to be successful: reinvent yourself and become a bigger enigma than your fighters or your promotion.
Here’s the break down of how The Baldfather became THE quintessential MMA promoter in the game:
When he came to the realization that Dockers, blazers and penny loafers weren’t commanding the respect Dana had seen heaped on countless geography teachers and accountants, White turned to a fashion stylist to give him that, “I just grabbed a t-shirt off my bedroom floor,” look. The truth is, many of Dana’s “vintage” shirts are expensive re-creations costing anywhere between $150-300.
Interesting fact: Dana only wears each shirt once before donating them to charity.
Taking a page out of McMahon’s book, Dana also found out the hard way early on in his tenure as UFC president that muscles gain you respect. Countless wedgies and several airplane rides administered by his fighters made White start weight training, which became his obsession for a year or two.
Dana’s workout circa 2008, courtesy of The Garv:
Working out eventually lost it’s lustre, but Dana saw that Gary Shaw was a fatty and he seemed to do pretty well as a promoter, so he hungrily traded in his protein shakes and early morning workouts for Pinkberry and late night partying.
You would think that he would be jollier.
Since he couldn’t bring himself to wear sweat pants and leer at his ring girls, White decided to ditch the “Shaw Effect” in favor of the tried and tested Don King methodologies. Combining equal parts gangsta-chic and manufactured tough-guy image with the determination to fuck anybody who stepped in his path, White had finally found his perfect persona.
Interesting fact: Dana has never been in a fist fight and is secretly an avid fan of General Hospital.
The problem is, he actually started to believe he was a black hype man.
Hopping on stage earlier this year at a Snoop Dogg concert, Dana forgot that he didn’t own any of the rapper’s CDs and that besides his stock of unopened Hot Topic Public Enemy shirts, he really wasn’t into Rap until it was too late. It seemed like a good idea at the time to him since Ryan Sheckler was doing it, but society seems to turn a blind eye to rich white kids pretending they’re street…40-something white dudes, not so much.
Luckily for Dana, he quickly figured out if you just repeat Snoop’s name over and over, you’re bound to get a the words right eventually.
MMA promoters take note….THIS is how you run a promotion, son.