Dana White is an iconic figure and the man leading the largest mixed martial arts organization in the world, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Dana White’s net worth is shockingly large but when you look closer at his accomplishments, everything starts to make sense. The best estimate using public figures currently surpasses 500 million dollars, a majority of which is sourced from his proceeds from his sale of UFC stock along with salary as the company’s CEO.

Dana White started as a bouncer and in just a few years, he worked his way up the business world and became one of the most successful business people worldwide. Thanks to his keen eye, hosting abilities, and business acumen, Dana helped make the UFC one of the most recognized sports brands in the world worth billions of dollars.

In this article, we’ll break down Dana White’s net worth, his business journey, and his investment choices so that you can learn from his successes and failures.

Dana White Net Worth Breakdown: 

The exact total and breakdown of Dana White’s net worth is known only to him (and his accountant). The following breakdown of his holdings is an estimate, though it is as accurate as we could make it. White’s net worth mostly came from his former stake in the UFC and his salary as its president, but his financial journey also includes investments in art, real estate, and gambling. Here is what’s known to the public today:

Asset Contribution to Net Worth
Annual Salary + Profit Share (as UFC CEO) $20 million + 9% of UFC profits
Proceeds from UFC Sale $360 million
Art Investments $7+ million
Cars and Private Jet $90+ million
Total Estimated Net Worth $500 million

Dana White’s Early Life

Dana Frederick White Jr. was born on July 28, 1969, in Ware, Massachusetts. Now 54 years old, Dana spent his young years moving between Maine and Las Vegas. He was enrolled in Bishop Gorman High School where he met Lorenzo Fertitta, but was kicked out and changed schools.

In the end, he graduated from Hermon High School in Maine in 1987.

Not a lot is known about his father, Dana White Sr. Dana was raised by his mother and his grandparents.

White has been interested in boxing since he was young and started at the age of 17. He ended his stretch as a boxer before he fought his first official match after judging the tradeoffs and fearing CTE. While his career as a boxer didn’t last long, his influence in the world of martial arts is nearly unmatched.

Before he started managing MMA fighters, White worked a myriad of other jobs. he laid asphalt, was a bellhop at a hotel, and worked as a bouncer in an Irish bar.

Dana White attended the University of Massachusetts but finished his degree. While he was enrolled at the University, he launched a boxing program focused on at-risk children and worked as an aerobics instructor.

A few years later, White relocated to Las Vegas and started his own company, Dana White Enterprises. It was approximately at this point of his life that he started managing Tito Ortiz and Chuck Lidell and found the opportunity to become part of the UFC.

According to his family, Dana White turned his back on them when he became successful. His mother, June, said the following in a 2011 interview: “He’s not a good person. He seems to have lost his character somewhere along the way.”

Dana White’s UFC Journey

Many people think that Dana White owned or founded the UFC but that’s far from the truth.

The UFC’s story began in 1993 when it was founded by Art Davie, Bob Meyrowitz, and Rorion Gracie. The goal of the brand was to find the ultimate champion of martial arts by staging a tournament that welcomes the best athletes in various disciplines such as sumo wrestling, boxing, karate, kickboxing, grappling, and other combat sports.

The UFC was able to bring together some of the greatest fighters in the world from the beginning, likely because one of its founders, Rorion Gracie, was a legendary Jiu Jitsu fighter in his own right and a member of the most famous family in martial arts ever (the Gracies).

How Dana White Became the UFC President

Dana White’s net worth is mostly sourced from his position at the UFC, but how did he get to this point?

Dana White worked as a manager for 2 massively popular MMA veterans: Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz. During that time, he met Bob Meyrowitz, one of the founders and owners of the UFC.

Soon after meeting him, Dana White learned that Meyrowitz was planning to sell the UFC. This prompted him to contact Lorenzo Fertitta, his former high school and childhood friend and the then executive of Station Casinos. Fertitta was also the commissioner of the Nevada State Athletic Commission.

In 2001, Lorenzo and his older brother bought the UFC, made it an ancillary of Zuffa, and voted Dana White as the president.

young dana white
Young Dana White during UFC 32

The former commissioner and his brother bought the UFC for $2 million. This may seem like an incredibly low price but by that point all the UFC had left was an octagon (where fights took place), IP and brand rights, and a few contracts.

The Fertitta brothers made Dana White president of the UFC and promised him 10% of the upside of the deal. The three came together to transform MMA into an organized, controlled, and sanctioned combat sport all under their own brand.

Dana White’s Role at the Quickly Blossoming UFC

Dana White’s leadership turned the brand into one of the largest and most profitable sports brands in the world. The haphazard tournament was completely rebuilt and restructured into an organized and sanctioned sport.

Part of the reason why the UFC was so destitute in 2001 is because it was seen as too reckless and dangerous, with no mandatory gloves and only 2 rules: no eye-gouging and no biting. Adding various safety measures and controls helped bring the UFC back to TV and out of politicians’ talking points.

The mix of hard-hitting action with controlled safety made its popularity skyrocket until it was in over 1.1 billion households around the world. It was especially successful in widening its appeal to the entire world instead of just the US by recruiting talented fighters from around the globe.

In 2013, White introduced the UFC Fight Pass, a digital subscription service with all UFC fight events, unique perks, and thousands of pre-recorded fights, which made the UFC even more profitable than it was before.

ufc fight pass

In July 2016, the Fertitta brothers sold a majority stake in UFC to Endeavor (along with a few private equity firms) for an incredible $4 billion. Soon after it bought out the remaining shareholders, which included Dana White’s 9% of the business.

White received roughly $360 million for his stake. His deal with Endeavor also secured him 9% of future profits from the UFC as well as the ability to stay on as the company’s president.

In April 2023, Endeavor finalized a deal to buy WWE for $9 billion before merging it with the UFC. The biggest competitors swiftly turned into one of the strongest brands in the sports industry.

The merger involved a change of jobs for Dana White as he transitioned to be the CEO of the UFC, instead of the president. Despite this, his real role doesn’t seem to have changed all that much.

The new company that houses the UFC and WWE, TKO Group, was valued at over $21 billion immediately following the merger. However, since TKO Group has gone public, its market capitalization (an extremely rough equivalent to its valuation) has fallen to just under $7 billion.

The Ultimate Fighter & Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series

Dana White has never been your normal business president or CEO. He has an incredibly active role in UFC events and broadcasts themselves. Some of the best examples of this are his roles in the TV shows produced for the UFC, namely The Ultimate Fighter and Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series (now known as the Dana White Contender Series).

the ultimate fighter

The Ultimate Fighter debuted in 2005 and quickly became remarkably successful, thanks to Dana White’s hosting ability and the existing popularity of the UFC. The show found top fighters in 2 weight classes to compete to become “the ultimate fighter” throughout each season of the show. The winners would receive a 3-year, 6-figure contract to fight in the UFC.

Viewers felt like White’s presence was similar to Vince McMahon’s, the legendary figurehead of the WWE. The show was so successful that it’s still on the air almost 20 years later.

White started hosting another show with a similar premise for the UFC in 2017 called Dana White’s Contender Series. It hasn’t been quite as popular as The Ultimate Fighter but it still brings in a bunch of eyes to the UFC and is continuing to release episodes to this day.

dana white contender series

White’s role in these shows was likely incredibly important in the UFC’s growth in the late 2000s and 2010s as it helped bring a new generation into the sport and made it interesting to follow year-round.

Awards and Accomplishments

Over the years of working with the UFC, White has amassed an impressive number of awards. Some of the awards he won include:

  • Nevada Sportsman of the Year in 2009
  • Promoter of the Year between 2005-2013 and 2015-2016
  • Leading Man of the Year (World MMA Awards) from 2008 to 2022
  • Patriot Award by the Armed Forces Foundation in 2009

The UFC Today

The professional mixed martial arts organization now stands as:

  • Premium sports brand on a global level
  • The largest pay-per-view event provider on a global level
  • A media content company

UFC programming has over 60 global broadcast partners and is broadcast in 165+ countries. There are over 1.1 billion households that follow the events in over 40 different languages.

On average, the UFC now produces over 40 live events per year, and most of these take place in the biggest arenas in the world. Some of these fights bring in millions of pay-per-view purchases, often priced at $79.99 apiece.

ufc pay per view chart
Chart courtesy of Statista

Dana White Investments Explained

Where does Dana White invest his money? He has dabbled in many different areas of investment, including real estate, art, gambling, and much more.

White hasn’t revealed most of the details regarding his investments but there are a few things we can say about them.

Real Estate

White now owns several mansions in Las Vegas. He purchased his first Las Vegas mansion in 2006 at a price of $1.95 million. Between 2016 and 2017, he bought 3 other mansions in Las Vegas. Today, these have a combined value of over $7 million.

Here is what White spent his money on:

  • 7,700 square foot mansion for $1.8 million in October of 2016
  • 5,500 square foot mansion for $2.4 million in January of 2017
  • 4,700 square foot mansion for $2 million in March

All of these houses are located in the same area – the wealthy Tournaments Hills enclave in Las Vegas. During the 251 Press Conference at the UFC, Dana also speculated that he plans to buy a Condo in Abu Dhabi.

Because of the insane growth of the real estate market over the past decade, these properties are likely worth much more today than they were when they were purchased.

Gambling

It’s no secret that, in his spare time, White is a recreational gambler who often plays blackjack and bets on sports. One famous example of his sports betting was a massive $1 million bet in 2007 on Jermain Taylor to beat Kelly Pavlik.

He isn’t shy about his gambling. He was recently seen with one of his two sons playing cards on a yacht that he rented for his birthday at $865,000 per week.

dana white playing blackjack with his son
Source

Luxury and Exotic Cars

Dana White owns more than 15 cars (and motorcycles) including a variety of extremely expensive cars. His collection includes:

  • Custom Mercedes Maybach wrapped with logos of his whiskey brand worth $300,000
  • 1969 Chevy Camaro
  • 1969 Ford Bronco
  • 1971 Plymouth Barracuda
  • 2012 Range Rover
  • 2014 Bentley
  • Ferrari F430 Spider
  • Ferrari Testarossa
  • Land Rover Defender V8
  • 2 BMW M6s
  • Custom Harley Davidson motorcycle

To top off his collection of expensive vehicles, he also owns a Bombardier private jet, which is worth about $90 million.

Investments in Art

Over the years, Dana White has invested a fortune in art pieces, including paintings and photographs. One of the pieces that he owns, a print from the famous photographer Nobuyoshi Araki, is worth over $1.2 million alone.

Dana also owns a saber-toothed Tiger Skull worth around $200,000 to $350,000, a money gun, several Samurai Swords, etc.

saber tooth tiger skull
Source

In a video program, the UFC president purchased an ancient katana for $30K and bought a few other swords for an additional $30K. In addition to this, he bought a sword that belonged to a lord in the Japanese Civil War for a price of $9,000 and a set of 16th-century Japanese armor.

samurai swords
Source

Today, Dana White’s office is filled with swords, art, and artifacts of all kinds.

What Can We Learn From Dana White’s Story?

Dana White is quite an inspiring businessman. He built his success from scratch, working various jobs that help at-risk children, and following his passion for combat sports.

The main takeaways from White’s success are the power of dedication and the rewards that following your passions can give you. White found an opportunity to build the UFC brand from the ground up and took it. He took control of his life to follow his dreams and it turned out remarkably well.