Dana White reveals story behind heated negotiation with UFC sponsor: ‘Take your money … shove it right up your ass’

Dana White loathes cancel culture so much that he’s finally reached a breaking point with any sponsor choosing to work with the UFC.

The UFC CEO, who erupted on Peloton bikes after learning that the company told comedian Theo Von to pull down an episode of his podcast featuring controversial politician Robert Kennedy Jr., famously revealed that he blasted one of his own sponsors after they demanded that he remove a post on social media featuring ex-President Donald Trump.

White now says that’s not the first time a sponsor has tried to police his behavior or what happens in the UFC, which is why he’s developed a zero tolerance policy for those kinds of requests. Whether it was his support for Trump or UFC color commentator Joe Rogan facing criticism after past episodes of his podcast surfaced where he used racial slurs numerous times, White refuses to cater to those kinds of demands from sponsors.

“I was with some sponsors, too, that called and I was like, ‘Go f*** yourself. Take your money, roll it up in a little ball and shove it right up your ass, because I’m done,’” White told Sage Steele on her podcast. “I don’t want your money. I don’t want this kind of money.

“[They’ve come after me for] lots of things. They called me when I posted a video on my own social media about Trump, they called me about Joe Rogan, they called me about going through COVID. If somebody stubbed their f****** toe, they called me, and finally it got to the point I said, ‘I’m f******* done, guys.’”

White declined to reveal which sponsor his tirade referenced, but said it was during a renegotiation of a deal that was coming to a close, and the two sides were discussing a possible extension.

He claims a representative from the sponsor arrived in Las Vegas to discuss future business with the UFC, and that’s when the conversation went from bad to worse in a hurry.

“When our contract was up, there was a big number on the table and I said, ‘Take that huge number, roll it up into a little ball, and shove it right up your board of directors’ ass,’” White said. “I don’t know what they did with the money, but I didn’t take it. I don’t know if he shoved it up his boards’ ass or not, but I didn’t take the money.

“This guy that I’m talking about is a guy that I respect and I like him. We’ve had a good relationship. Him personally, I like him. Literally walked into my office during the negotiations and said, ‘My board of directors is losing patience with you,’ or something like that. I said, ‘These arrogant motherf******.’”

“I said have a seat, I walked through the whole history of our relationship,” White continued. “He said, ‘But Dana, there’s ‘X’ amount of money on the table right now,’ and that’s literally when I said, ‘Here’s what you do — get back on the plane, you fly back to where you’re from, you roll that big deal right up in a little ball and shove it right up your board of directors’ asses. F*** you, I don’t want your money. I’m not taking your money.’”

White knows that particular company isn’t alone in making demands like that, but he’s not interested in partnering up with anybody who tries to police him or the UFC.

“I think there’s a level of arrogance with these people,” White said. “Peloton guy, could you be more f****** arrogant? These guys, too. There’s lots of people out there, they have money, and they think that they have a certain level of control and that they can come in and tell a guy like Theo Von or the UFC [what to do], or me or many, many other companies out there, I’m sure.”

White’s tactics might seem brash, and that puts him at odds with potential sponsors, but it certainly hasn’t hurt the UFC’s bottom line.

At the end of 2023, the UFC reported sponsorships increased 18 percent for the year, which was at $196 million — a new record for the company.

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