Who is going and who is staying? That question has been asked many times since it was announced that the UFC would be sold to Entourage inspiration Ari Emanuel and a consortium led by his WME-IMG agency. When the deal was made, the Fertitta brothers announced they were all out and president Dana White would be staying on for a transitional period. But how long would that be? Six months? A year?
It turns out that White isn’t going anywhere any time soon. During a guest appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, White revealed that he’d signed a lengthy contract with the new overlords of combat sports.
“I have a five-year deal,” White told Kimmel. “It’s one of those things, I’m 47 and I love this sport, I love what I do for a living and I would have signed a 55-year deal with these guys. So I’m in.”
Dana is in. Joe Rogan is in (for a year). The fighters aren’t going anywhere. So welcome to the new UFC, same as the old UFC. And that’s exactly what WME-IMG probably wanted to show: that the promotion wasn’t going to radically change and that fans of the sport need not worry.
Any tweaks and changes to the current system will probably come in slowly. Any fighters trying to leverage the recent $4 billion deal to up their pay significantly will be slapped back down. And the UFC machine will continue to roll along with a pay-per-view every month and dozens of shows on cable television. All of this will happen with the foul mouthed but extremely effective Dana White at the helm, guiding the ship like he’s been since becoming president of the UFC in 2001.