Renowned mixed martial arts journalist Ariel Helwani disclosed some insight regarding Dana White’s role as the president of the UFC. Helwani said that White doesn’t get too involved when it comes to arranging matches.
Dana White was voted as UFC president after Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta acquired the UFC in 2001. Since then, the 52-year-old has been the face of the organization. Many fans and athletes believe that White is the sole owner of the UFC and every major decision is made by him.
During the recent episode of his podcast The MMA Hour, Ariel Helwani claimed that the UFC president is rarely involved in UFC matchmaking. The 39-year-old shared his speculation on who is handling what in the organization. He said the vice presidents Mick Maywnard and Sean Shelby handle the majority of matchmaking while White only handles big fights.
“Mick [Maynard] has heavyweights, light heavyweights, and middleweights and I believe welterweights,” Helawani said. “[Sean] Shelby has, I think, ’25, ’35, ’45, ’55. Mick also has the women. And then for the really, really big fights, obviously Dana and [Hunter Campbell] are involved.” Helwani said.
Helwani said that the Executive Vice President and the Chief Business Officer Hunter Campbell is the one who is handling negotiation for matchmaking, especially for big fights.
“The one who is probably involved the most, especially in the big fights, is Hunter. Hunter is the one doing the negotiations. He’s the one really on the phone lines, especially for the big fights. Like the Nate Diaz situation, you know, the Jon Jones and Stipe [Miocic] – all of that is Hunter. It’s very, very rare that Dana gets involved in the negotiations. It’s very rare that he’s on the frontlines, that he’s getting his hands dirty.
Ariel Helwani and Dana White had their history with a number of disputes. In 2016, Ariel Helwani was permanently banned from receiving press credentials and from covering the UFC in person. This was due to Helwani breaking the news on two huge fights without confirming to the UFC beforehand. The ban has since been overturned but Helwani is asked to leave any time White is in the same building.
A little while back Helwani brought up the time Dana White “crossed the line” regarding their feud. Ariel reported that he got really angered when White mentioned his kids during a UFC podcast.
“Anyone can say whatever they want, but he was on a podcast – I think it was UFC [Unfiltered] – and he was talking about the episode where I got emotional and he said… ‘One day his kids are going to look at him on camera and see him crying and see what kind of a weak person he is’… and nothing p****d me off more than that. Don’t mention my kids, don’t mention my family. I have never mentioned yours.”