Dana White Makes Startling Casino Admission

UFC President Dana White is a very wealthy man indeed, and it is a good job he is based on his latest revelations.

He made a significant amount when he sold his share of the company when it was acquired by WME-IMG for $4bn, which was the largest ever acquisition in sport at the time. White remained as president of the brand but was also set up for life on the proceeds of the sale, of which he took an estimated $360m, as well as 9% of any future profits.

That wealth has allowed him to become a high roller not only in the world of MMA, but also at the blackjack tables. It is a little-known fact that he is a skilled and competent player, and was long before the big sales, who is not afraid to put his wealth on the line when it matters.

“This is like my part-time job,” he said in a 2014 interview. “I work in the UFC all day and play cards at night.” Indeed, he has even won a trophy for playing blackjack, something he once claims he wants to be buried with, such was his pride at seeing off 50 other competitors.

White was so good, that one casino even gave him an ‘undisputed championship’ belt, just for him to stop playing at their casino! “I had beat them for $1.6m,” he said of the Palms Casino in Las Vegas. “Then as soon as the Palms sold, the people who came in asked me to stop playing there!”

When the casino was sold again he was invited back, but not for long. “Then it sold again,” he added. “The new ownership said we want you to come back and I beat them for $1.6 million again. Instead of just asking me to leave the way that they did, they gave me this [the title].”

UFC commentator Joe Rogan has even suggested that White has lost as much as $1m in a single sitting, but could have won as much as $7m through his blackjack career. Whilst the Palms may not have wanted White back, many casinos would welcome a high roller such as him, and the prestige which the UFC brand he oversees brings.

In fact, UFC and White have been hugely beneficial to physical casinos, which are fighting hard against the rise of online gaming providers. Traditional establishments are having to adapt as the online gaming industry grows, and one way of doing that is to appeal to the high roller. CDC Gaming Reports claim iGaming revenue was up 730% between December 2019 and December 2020, with many gamers able to compete for good prizes in their own homes. And the amount of innovative sites out there nowadays means there is so much to choose from for gamers. For example, the range of live games on Gala Casino, such as Mega Fire Blaze Roulette and Crazy Time, offers casual players a chance to win big, but when the likes of White want to start throwing seven-figures around that must be done in person, and a physical casino can accommodate such players. High rollers need looking after, personally, and they have the means to improve a casino’s fortunes overnight.

Also, the UFC brand has been good for casinos in recent years. Palms Casino Resort hosted The Ultimate Fighter: Undefeated Finale, whilst Valley View Casino Center in San Diego had UFC 327, and Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Florida hosted UFC 324. Foxwoods Resort Casino, Revel Casino Hotel and Hard Rock Hotel and Casino have all hosted events, as those physical locations look to bring people through the doors in ways which an online provider cannot challenge or threaten.

The only stipulation, one would imagine, is that White does not get a few hours around the blackjack tables and take away any financial benefit they might have gained with his own card skills!

Severe MMA Staff

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