MIXED MARTIAL ARTS BOSS
Before becoming president of Ultimate Fighting Championship in 2001, White, 40, managed fighters Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz
May 30, 2010
Dan Patrick:These NASCAR drivers always seem to be going at it. How would it work out if you set up an Octagon at every track?
Dana White: It wouldn't hurt the pay-per-view numbers, I'm sure.
DP:Well, you can't have them using their cars as weapons. Do you find that a lot of athletes think they can get into the Octagon?
DW: Not only athletes, but people I meet in the streets say, "Man, if I was 10 years younger."
DP:Any famous people want to get into the Octagon?
DW: Shaq's been terrorizing me. Shaq's been training for years and says he wants to fight someday.
DP:If I got you in there against Shaq, who would win?
DW: [Laughs.] Hell, no. I'm not fighting Shaq.
DP:What if Herschel Walker got in against Shaq?
DW: Herschel Walker actually fights now. Shaq's been training, and obviously Shaq has a huge size advantage. I'd probably have to take Shaq.
DP:Who is the most entertaining fighter in UFC, and is that different from asking, Who is the best fighter in UFC?
DW: Right now, the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world is a guy named Anderson Silva, who, in my opinion, hasn't been too entertaining lately. But you've got guys like Brock Lesnar—there's never a boring Brock Lesnar fight.
DP:If I put Pacquiao and Mayweather in the Octagon, can you tell from their boxing skills how they'd do?
DW: Yeah. I'm a huge Pacquiao fan, and he's a more aggressive fighter. His fights are more fun, but neither one of those guys would get beat in mixed martial arts.
DP:Do you think mixed martial arts will ever become a college sport?
DW: A lot of colleges are starting to pick up jujitsu. I believe that one day it is going to be an Olympic sport too.
DP:But the violent aspect might turn off colleges or the IOC.
DW: If you think about it, everything that we do in mixed martial arts is already in the Olympics. They have judo, wrestling, boxing, taekwando. I don't know what makes mixed martial arts more violent than boxing or anything else.
DP:But the bloodshed—do the Olympics and colleges want that?
DW: It's inevitable. This thing isn't going anywhere; it's only getting bigger. All these kids right now who are growing up with the UFC aren't going to be as afraid of this thing as the older people are today.
DP:It must be nerve-racking to be a movie reviewer and have to rate Rampage Jackson's acting ability in The A-Team.
DW: I heard he killed it. He did a great job in it. There's going to be a sequel.
DP:Is there a famous Dana White look-alike out there?
DW: Yeah, every bald guy on earth.
DP:Has anybody ever mistaken you for someone else.
DW: Andre Agassi.
DP:You're a little thicker than Andre Agassi.
DW: When you meet him in person, he's bigger than you'd think.
DP:How would you do in the Octagon against him?
DW: Pretty well, I think.
DP:Doesn't it always come down to that?
DW: [Laughs.] Yeah, it does.
Not Cuckoo For Kokomo
Kevin Love's uncle is Beach Boys lead singer Mike Love, but the Timberwolves' big man has only been to a handful of the band's concerts. "I used to have big-time stage fright," he told me. "My uncle would put a mike on me and make me sing.... Scarred me for life." When I suggested that Love was a taller version of Donny Osmond, he laughed it off: "I won't even go there. I have no musical talent."
Wizards coach Flip Saunders isn't tipping his hand when it comes to whether Washington will take Kentucky's John Wall or Ohio State's Evan Turner first overall after winning the draft lottery. "In John you have probably the most dynamic player in the draft," he told me. "Evan Turner is probably the most versatile player in the draft. I don't think we can go wrong either way."
Line of the week
Timberwolves president David Kahn didn't enjoy going to the NBA draft lottery: "They've already [picked the order] in some other room. You wait and wait and wait, and they make you chitchat. And you don't want to chitchat.... It's just a vile experience. I hope it's one I don't have to do very often."
Now Hear This
Listen to the podcasts at danpatrick.com/interviews
1. Tim Donaghy discusses game-fixing in the NBA.
2. Joe Buck ponders Brett Favre's football future.
THE FINE PRINT: The NASCAR Hall of Fame opened in Charlotte. The most popular attraction is an interactive booth where fans can pick a fight with Tony Stewart.