The President of the UFC, Dana White, has always talked about how much love he has for mixed martial arts in Canada. Just eight months ago, he brought UFC 129 to Toronto for the first time ever. After a record breaking showing in Toronto, White is bringing his organization back for the second time in less than a year for UFC 140. And just like so many of his cards, he has stacked it pretty good for the UFC’s second showing in the market. UFC 140 will be headlined by one of the baddest fighters in the world, Jon “Bones” Jones who will take on Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida which promises to be yet another exciting night of fights, but this time it will be inside a bigger venue.
Dana White joined The Fan 590 in Toronto to talk about the UFC coming back to Toronto, how much input he receives from fans on what fights they want to see, and how he has embraced social media.
On the UFC coming back to Toronto:
“Canada as whole, and I’ve said it for years, is the mecca for Mixed Martial Arts, but Toronto is off the charts man. It’s so cool here. I love coming here, I love the people, I love the city, and when you think about Las Vegas, Las Vegas has been the fight capitol of the world for years but when it comes to the UFC, Toronto is it baby.”
How much feedback he gets from fans on what fights he should put on at his card:
“First of all I’m huge with social media. I’m on Twitter all the time, I read chats, and I do all that stuff. I’m very in tuned with what the fans want. Believe me they let me know what they want and that’s the way it should be. I believe my position, the position I’m in is to give the fans what they want to see and I do listen. Believe me when we started building this card, and the fans get a little jumpy sometimes and they’re all over me saying we want something big and we want a great main event which I always deliver anyway, but they let me know and I give them what they want.”
On him embracing social media when so many other commissioners in other leagues and sports haven’t:
“Yeah I can tell you right now people always ask me and compare me to the other guys that run league, commissioners or whatever they may be and I always give the same answer. I’m like listen they don’t need my advice. These guys are running successful businesses on their own. They don’t need to act like me or be like me or anything like that. Yes fans might like the way I am and some fans don’t. Some fans can’t stand me and don’t want to hear anything I have to say. The bottom line is where all of them are wrong and they are dead wrong is they are not embracing social media the way that they should. It’s the future. That’s where the younger generation is and that’s where they live and that’s where they’re hanging out and I love it. Why would I not want to talk directly to our fans? It’s the way it should be. This isn’t something like back in the day when you had a website and you were trying to get peoples e-mail addresses. Well if you want to access UFC.com give us all this information, well it’s not like that anymore thank God. I have almost 1.7 million followers on twitter and they opt in to follow me. They choose to click on and want to follow. That way you are talking to 1.7 million of the people that are your hardcore and direct fans that you know want to hear what’s next and what’s going on. You’re crazy not to do it. What you said earlier about incentivizing our athletes to get on twitter it’s because every year we have this big summit where we bring all the guys in, we kinda walk them through social media, explain what it is, why it’s important for them, and let’s say Anderson Silva for instance has about a million followers right now so when he retires he’s got a fan base of a million fans that are still following him so when he wants to move on from the next chapter in his life, that’s his. He takes that away and can continue to stay in contact with his fans. As far as bonuses, guys make up to anywhere from 25,000 dollars on the incentive bonuses that we have for social media.”