Dana White has been removed from the president’s role at the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). The move comes just days after World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and UFC merged to form a new entity TKO. White, however, will not be stepping away from UFC. White will now reportedly work under the banner of TKO as the new CEO of UFC.
“I’m excited about the future and what we’re going to do. And I always am, regardless, but after this merger, we’re just so much more powerful than we were yesterday. Everything that goes on here I determine. Nothing has changed. We’re going to continue to kick ass like we do every single year. For people that are fighters or media or whoever, this just takes this whole thing to another level. It’s so much bigger and so much more powerful. When you think about all the things that I want to do before my time is up here, today made that a lot easier and a lot more doable,” White had said at the UFC “Contender Series” press conference.
Dana White, 54, has been handling duties at UFC since 2001. During his association with the promotion, he did an exceptional job to transform UFC from a company facing a near bankruptcy into a strong force in the field of combat sports. White played a key role in building the current status of UFC. While talking about his new role, White said that “nothing has changed.”
“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,” White was quoted as saying by USA Today.
The merger of WWE and UFC was first announced earlier this year in April. Endeavor, the parent company of UFC, will own 51 per cent of the newly formed entity TKO, which started trading on the New York Stock Exchange earlier this week on Tuesday. The TKO Board of Directors will reportedly be led by Vince McMahon as the executive chairman of the board. The board is understood to be consisting of 11 members. Meanwhile, shareholders in WWE will own 49 per cent of TKO.
According to media reports, Vince McMahon will be the executive chairman of TKO. Endeavor’s Ari Emanuel will assume the role of CEO in TKO. Mark Shapiro, representing Endeavor, will be the president and chief operating officer of the new company. Speaking to ESPN, UFC senior executive vice president and chief operating officer Lawrence Epstein had previously stated that White will be running the daily activities in UFC.