Las Vegas, NV — A beaming Dana White addressed the media following week six of Dana White’s Contender Series Season 7, proclaiming that “every fight tonight was awesome.”
“I don’t even know what to say, other than it was an amazing day,” White told media outlets including Cageside Press on Tuesday.
White handed out five contracts on the show in week six, with every winner on the night coming away with a UFC deal. He also awarded a trio of losing fighters their win money— Kasey Tanner, Patricia Alujas, and AJ Cunningham.
While White didn’t go as far as signing any of the fighters coming off a loss, he pointed out that with another win, Tanner in particular is the sort of fighter the UFC would bring in for a short-notice opportunity.
There might have been an external reason for Dana White being in such a good mood. White, known for years as the UFC’s President and one of the faces of the company, is now its CEO. The much-talked about merger of WWE and UFC, under a the newly created entity TKO Group Holdings, became official Tuesday morning, with the faces behind the property (jointly owned by UFC parent company Endeavor, and the WWE’s shareholders), White included, ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange.
TKO stock finished its first day of trading up 2.6 percent. Nothing is changing for White, despite the new CEO label he carries (WWE’s Vince McMahon himself sits as the Executive Chairman of TKO Group, with Endeavor’s Ari Emmanuel serving as CEO).
“I’m just going to keep doing what I do, and we’re going to keep doing what we do at the UFC. At the end of the day, this is one of the biggest mergers in the history of sports, We’ve been kicking ass for a number of years now, the WWE is doing well. I say this to you guys every year, but this just takes the whole sport and everything to a whole different level.”
As for the NYSE appearance, “I flew out to that thing last night and did it this morning, and it was actually really, really cool. It was cool to be a part of, and I’m excited about the future and what we’re going to do,” said White. His next words were perhaps more telling when it comes to that excitement. “I always am [excited] regardless, but after this merger, we’re so much more powerful than we were yesterday.”
Vince McMahon made headlines for ensuring that his position of Chairmain is til death, incapacity, or resignation, but White made clear that for himself, it’s business as usual. “I don’t give a sh*t about that kind of stuff. Even the CEO thing, it’s a lateral move for me. I run everything that happens here. Everything that goes on here, I determine. So nothing has changed, it’s just three letters instead of— I’m the CEO and President of the UFC now. But nothing changes. We’re just going to continue to kick ass like we do every single year.”
Noting that the change could make endeavors like opening more UFC Performance Institutes easier, White later added that “This just take this whole thing to another level, and so much bigger and so much more powerful. When you think about all the things I want to do before my time is up here, today made that a lot easier and a lot more doable.”
Watch the full DWCS 62 post-fight press conference with Dana White above.