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UFC president Dana White had to flee his hometown after run-in with mob boss

Nasir Jabbar

Published 
| Last updated 

UFC president Dana White had to flee his hometown after run-in with mob boss

Dana White once revealed the insane story of how he fled his hometown to escape notorious gangster Whitey Bulger, which prompted him to get involved in the UFC.

In the mid-90s, south Boston was under control of Bulger who led the Winter Hill gang.

White owned a boxing gym in the city, with Bulger's enforcers entering the property and demanding a payment of $2,500.

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"We used to bring kids in from all different areas to come in and box and we wanted these kids to meet each other and respect each other through boxing. It was great and a great thing to do for the kids, but you don’t make much money doing it - it was a charity thing we were doing," he explained.

"So, to pay the bills, we used to bring in businessmen, housewives, whoever it was and train them to box and we were basically like personal trainers, but you did boxing. Through that, we started going out into the health clubs and teaching in the health clubs and our classes became huge all throughout Boston."

One of Bulger's associates, however, barged in on White's training session and told him he had 24 hours to pay the mob.

The threat prompted a young White to leave his gym for Las Vegas, leaving everything behind him as he looked to start a new life.

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Whitey Bulger with Kevin Weeks. Image: Getty
Whitey Bulger with Kevin Weeks. Image: Getty

Recalling his encounter with Bulger's right-hand man, White said: "He basically said, 'You owe us money'. It was like $2,500, which was like $25,000 to me back then, and said, 'You owe us money'. It was actually a guy named Kevin Weeks, who if you saw the trial he's Whitey's right-hand man.

"I'm sure he's very prominent in the movie, but yeah basically said I owed him some money, and I didn't pay him.

"This went on for a while and one day I was at my place and I got a call and they said, 'You owe us the money tomorrow by 1 o'clock'.

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"I literally hung up the phone, picked up the phone and called Delta and bought a ticket to Vegas."

After setting up shop in Las Vegas, White got involved with the UFC, teaming up with Lorenzo Fertitta to turn the MMA promotion from being a struggling brand to a thriving, multi-billion dollar company.

The 54-year-old has based himself and the UFC in Sin City, forging a powerhouse of a company.

While he doesn't spend much time in Boston nowadays, he does have a holiday home in Maine where he spends his vacations.

Featured Image Credit: Getty

Topics: Dana White, UFC

Nasir Jabbar
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