My friend Ben Arment posted this a few weeks ago and I have thought about a few times so I figured it was worth sharing with you all my fellow leadership addicts…
Dana White is the president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. He was an aerobics instructor, training some boxers, when he saw an opportunity to buy the fledgling company in 2001.
He contacted his childhood friend Lorenzo Fertitta, founder of Gordon Biersch and commissioner of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, who put up the money. White became president.
Some leadership lessons from Dana White…
1. Create a New Industry
In America, mixed martial arts fighting was blue ocean. No competition. He brought a new sport to America and made it mainstream. It’s now a $1 billion industry.
2. Apply Best Practices
He took the theatrics of pro wrestling and combined them with the serious fighting of kickboxing. The reigning heavyweight champ is Brock Lesnar, a former WWE wrestler, who is constantly put in check for his showboating.
3. Remove Barriers for Growth
Cable companies wouldn’t air the fights. So Dana made sure the sport was safe enough enough for national airtime. He created additional rules to make this possible. UFC has had zero deaths in the octagon so far, unlike boxing.
4. Give Customers Access
Dana has over 1 million twitter followers and has made the fighters accessible. He created a TV show called The Ultimate Fighter to expose the fighters as real people with dreams.