The UFC head honcho takes us on a brawl crawl through his old stomping grounds
Dana White, president of the UFC, was born in Connecticut. But he's deeply proud of his post-adolescent Boston roots, and often boasts that he honed his rogue-plated charisma on the backstreets of Southie. Mixed-martial-arts fans may already have heard some of the legend: how he trained at the McDonough Gym while managing local boxers, and was fired from his job as a Faneuil Hall bouncer for whupping a patron. What's not common knowledge is the degree to which the trials White endured here — from the mundane and blue-collar to the wild and violent — helped him become the mogul he is today. Having lobbied to get MMA sanctioned in Massachusetts, he now brings a top-notch UFC bill to the TD Garden, plus a weekend-long fan festival to Hynes Convention Center. On the eve of this triumphant August 28 homecoming, White waxed nostalgic with the Phoenix about how Boston is the Pat Morita to his Ralph Macchio.
THE BLACK ROSE, FANEUIL HALL "At the end of the night [circa 1998] the bouncers had to stock the bar while everybody was cleaning up. We had to go downstairs, get the cases of beer, and carry them up. So I'm getting ready to stock it, and somebody came in who I knew so I started talking to him. Well, one of the female bartenders comes over and tells me to stock the bar, and then says, 'I'm not going to tell you again — stock the bar,' and I looked at her and say, 'Who the fuck do you think you're talking to?' And some hero patron at the other end of the bar says to me, 'You don't talk to a lady like that,' and I say, 'Get the fuck out of here — we're closed.'
"Then he goes crazy and starts calling me all sorts of names, and I'm young and dumb. He puts on this big fucking ordeal, and then he goes over to that big red door, opens it, and with his hand gestures for me to step outside. I stay behind the bar for a second, and he yells, 'That's what I thought, you pussy,' and slams the door. From there I jump over the bar, run outside, and kick the guy in the stomach and punch him once before he starts running down the street. When I come back inside, all the people who work there are looking at me like I'm a fucking jackass, and one of the guys who works with me says, 'Man — you'd better go home.' Sure enough, the police came right after I left, and the next night I got fired."
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