Tuesday, March 6, 2007


By Ivan Trembow & Ken Pishna

Dana White, President of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, officially received his professional boxing license from the Nevada State Athletic Commission on Monday morning. The reason for him acquiring such a license was to fulfill a contractual promise that he made to professional MMA fighter Tito Ortiz.

With the license in hand, White is now cleared to face Ortiz in an exhibition boxing match that will be three 3-minute rounds in duration. All the ringside precautions will be taken and the bout will take place under the auspices of a professional boxing referee, although there will be no judges as the bout is an exhibition, so there is no scoring of rounds involved. The bout is scheduled to take place on March 24th and will not be open to the public although there are plans to air the bout at a later date on UFC.com with the majority of the proceeds going to charity.

White received his license following a 3-1 vote by the NSAC to approve him. The lone dissenting vote was from Dr. Raymond “Skip” Avensino, Jr. who after much discussion felt that he could not justify granting a license to an 0-0 professional boxer to face a fighter like Tito Ortiz that has so much experience, albeit as a mixed martial artist and not as a professional boxer.

At one point, White did say that he was doing this because he wanted to live up to his word when he promised the bout to Ortiz. Reassuring the commission, he said, “Believe me, if I thought I was going to get seriously injured… I wouldn’t do it.”

UFC Chief Operating Officer Kirk Hendrick also spoke on behalf of White saying that he really has been training for this and is taking it seriously. “This is not WWE wrestling. This is not Vince McMahon getting in the ring. We’re taking this seriously,” said Hendrick, addressing another concern of Avensino’s that this was some sort of “publicity event.”

White was an amateur boxer for years before turning to managing fighters and then to his current position as president of the most successful mixed martial arts company in the United States, if not the world.

In the end, the argument for the bout to take place won out and the 3-1 vote was cast in favor of newly licensed professional boxer Dana White.

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