(Photo via Getty)
By Mike Fagan
Dana White is the face of the UFC.
This isn’t a surprise, nor should it be. MMA is a sport whose elite athletes rarely compete more than three times a year. The UFC is a promotion that prefers to put the brand ahead of its athletes. Dana White is the president of that promotion, and his duties include everything from running press conferences and doing media requests to emceeing reality shows and constant tweeting. It’s no surprise that his once-balding-now-bald head, which has been ubiquitous since Zuffa’s purchase of the UFC at the turn of the millennium, is synonymous with the company.
But recently, there have been signs that White’s ubiquity is fading.
White’s video blogs were once a staple of the UFC promotional machine. These vlogs would give us a “behind the scenes” look at fight week, though this (too) often involved watching Dana White parade his wealth. The UFC hasn’t released a Dana White vlog since UFC 177.
The UFC began producing the Embedded series for UFC 173. Instead of following White around on fight week, Embedded is structured more like a series of mini-documentaries. There’s no narrator, very little of White, and a whole lot more focus on the card’s featured fighters. Unsurprisingly, it’s a more inspired, interesting, and entertaining product.
White’s also not the lock he once was on fight night. Tom Wright, who runs manages UFC operations in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, hosted the post-fight press conference for November’s Fight Night Down Under. Vice President of Public Relations Dave Sholler hosted the post-fight press conference following UFC 181. Chief Content Officer Marshall Zelaznik got the nod for the Fight Night event in Brazil on December 20. Zelaznik also hosted a press event prior to UFC 182 announcing the UFC’s purchase of various fight libraries intended for Fight Pass.