Darren Rovell on Dana White: “He Plays a Character”


Darren Rovell went on Russillo & Kanell on Thursday (h/t Fansided), and they asked him about his most recent dust-up with Dana White.

“He thought, even though he was getting that big boat of cash, that he didn’t want fans to know that they were openly selling the UFC,” said Rovell. “I think he is a character. I think he plays a character – I think that’s one of the reasons he has the followers that he has. Much like Vince McMahon. I respect him, I think he privately respects me. Some of this is an act, and he thinks it benefits him.”

Rovell said he wouldn’t fight White in the Octagon, but then reversed course and said he’d do so for the right price.

Below, verbatim, is what we wrote on Wednesday about the feud between White and Rovell:

In May, ESPN sports business reporter Darren Rovell broke the news that UFC ownership was in “advanced talks to sell” the league for a price between $3.5 and $4 billion. White responded that the UFC was “not for sale” and Rovell was “not a fan of facts.”

Rovell tweeted that “once you hire an investment back to give out your financials, it’s hard to say you’re not for sale,” and “We had three different independent sources that said that UFC volunteered a full year EBITDA of in between $200M & $250M to investors.”

Fast forward to today, and Rovell weighed in that the reported $4 billion UFC sale to WME-IMG, news of which emerged on July 11th, is not going swimmingly; White responded curtly:

The UFC has had a very public predicament since the sale. Brock Lesnar, a major draw who was granted an exception in drug testing protocol at the front end of his return to MMA, nonetheless failed two USADA drug tests. The first was drawn on June 28th. But, for reasons that still have not been explained by any one of the institutions involved, Lesnar and the UFC were not notified until July 15th, after both his fight against Mark Hunt and the announcement of the UFC’s sale. (Jon Jones’ failed drug test ahead of UFC 200 was certainly not a comfort to anyone, but it was at least publicly announced before the acquisition was finalized.)

After the acquisition was announced, Rovell reported that White cashed out his 9% equity stake in UFC for $360 million, and that White’s “new deal is for five years and for nine percent of the company’s net profits.”

As far as it pertains to this Twitter squabble between Rovell and White, the latter is pretty confident he could beat the former in the Octagon: