Thursday, 17 December 2009

Outsized Pesonality?

So recently I noticed that Dana White, the president of the UFC, had been named number four in their list "The Decade's Outsized Personalities"

Dana is certainly a passionate and opinionated person and has, on at least one occasion, crossed the line with commentary that drew universal criticism. It's clear that he operates in a rare and very direct fashion and that candor is what polarizes opinions of him and lends his personality to be included on such lists.

Here's a case good illustration of Dana as I know him. My very first event was UFC 70 in Manchester. I didn't know anything about mixed martial arts or the UFC at that time, hadn't a clue who the atheletes were or whom was in charge. In essence, I was as green as I could be.

After the pre-fight press conference had wrapped up, I approached Dana and asked if he'd pose for a quick portrait. He stood, posed and then laughed, saying aloud "Man, I never know how to be during these f---ing things..."

I said "Just relax, be yourself and natural..."

"Be natural?" he asks, "Okay..."

And bing, he jokingly flips the bird to the camera very quickly. At that same instant I trip my shutter and the flash pops. I freeze for a moment, wondering what his reaction will be but he just laughs and shrugs it off. UFC UK president Marshall Zelaznik then joins him for some shots together and I more or less forgot about it.

Later whilst editing my shots, I notice that I'd snared the 'bird' frame perfectly... but something in me tells me not to wire it in. It's the sort of picture that only papparazzi agencies shop around and the outfit I was with at the time, Camera Press, are most certainly not a 'pap' agency.

Some months later at UFC 72 in Dublin, I got a chance to speak to Dana and told him I had something for him. I passed him an envelope and waited for his reaction as he opened it. The surprise and laugher that followed were quite genuine. "Man, I gotta get that put in my office!", he said, and then shook my hand to thank me.

To sum up: I've dealt with many celebrities and personalities in my five years working as an editorial photographer, most of whom are cosseted by their PR or management and are told what to say, how to act and what they can and can't do infront of the press.

Love or loathe Dana White, there's no denying that he's one of the most accessible and approachable personalities in the sports and entertainment industry today. Larger than life? Sure. Outspoken? Definitely. Polarising? Without a shadow of a doubt... but I wouldn't want that to change one little bit.


  1. The shot of him flipping the bird is fantastic. Keep tweeting when you make a blog post; it not only helps me kill time at work, but it's good stuff!

  2. Martin are those pics for sale? I'm a huge Dana fan and your experience with him was outstanding to hear!! TKS ;)