Here’s a Dana White gem for you, from a recent interview with Carlos Arias of the Orange County Register. This is White’s response to a question about competitors in the MMA business:
“You come over to my house this weekend and we kick back and watch TV. We put on (expletive) NASCAR. We’re like, ‘Holy (expletive). Look at all the (expletive) people at this race. All those fans and this and that. These guys got television deals and merchandise deals and all this crazy (expletive). You know what? Let’s steal two of their drivers, and let’s start our own (expletive) company. We’ll call it (expletive), you know, GASCAR instead of (expletive) NASCAR.’ That’s how (expletive) stupid it is.”
Now, I love comparing two things that are different and making them sound the same just as much as the next guy, but I find this viewpoint troubling. White’s contention here is that competing MMA organizations are “(expletive) stupid” because they hold MMA events similar to those held by the UFC, though they are not the UFC. This, in the business world, is called competition. It’s kind of like how Pepsi sells a similar product to that of Coca-Cola, though they are in fact two completely different companies.
By Dana White’s logic, that makes Pepsi “(expletive) stupid”. See? Fun with analogies.
It should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with White’s comic book-type persona to hear him argue in favor of a UFC monopoly. If you read the interview, it’s pretty clear that the OC Register’s Carlos Arias has zero problem going along for the ride with his leading questions, such as this one, doing the driving:
“Everybody says there is this big surge and rising popularity for mixed martial arts, but it seems like it’s the UFC getting this big surge and poularity [sic] rather than the sport itself? How do you see it?“
Gee Carlos, I wonder how Dana White sees it, now that you asked in so cooperative a fashion. Let’s find out:
“You’re the first (expletive) smart guy that I’ve talked to who has actually really caught that. They come out with all these demos and all these numbers and all theses [sic] things that mixed martial arts is doing. Mixed martial arts isn’t doing that, the UFC is.”
That’s called softball, ladies and gentleman. But my point is that, yes, of course Dana White thinks it’s stupid to have to deal with competitors. That’s why he bad-mouths them every chance he gets, why he does everything in his power to try and hinder them, and why he’s so receptive to a question suggesting that any success MMA is enjoying is solely because of the UFC and, by extension, Dana White.
But whatever he says, remember this, fight fans: competition is good, especially for fans and fighters. White likes to make comparisons between the UFC and other pro sports leagues. In the past, he’s pointed out that there’s only one NBA, one NFL, and so on.
But here’s where that analogy falls apart. Those are leagues. They serve to unify the different teams and help them co-promote. The NFL doesn’t decide how much Randy Moss gets paid. Because the league is made up of many separately owned and operated entities, he is free to get as much as he can (within pre-set limits) by pitting them against one another in a bidding war. The UFC doesn’t work that way. The UFC gets to tell fighters who they’re fighting, when, and for how much. The fighters can take it or leave it, but because of the competing organizations they have options.
If you take away those competing organizations, fighter salaries will come down. The UFC will have less motivation to put on a compelling product. They’ll be secure in the knowledge that if you’re an MMA fan, you’ll pay to see their fights no matter what. Why? Because they’re the only game in town.
Dana White might not want to admit it, but the increased competition in the last few years has made the UFC and MMA stronger. It’s drawn more attention to the sport and created more fans. It’s also kept the UFC, at least to some extent, honest. The UFC is without a doubt the biggest show around, with the greatest stable of fighters. But if you think they would somehow get better without competitors nipping at their heels, you’re just plain wrong. Competition is good. It’s good for fans, fighters, and — whether he’ll admit it or not — for Dana White and the UFC.
Now, who wants to come over to my place this weekend and watch some (expletive) Gascar?