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Dana White - Authentic Leadership Characteristics. Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) - Research Paper Example

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This paper examines White’s authentic leadership characteristics, his sense of purpose, strong values for right action, how he establishes trust and demonstrates self-discipline, and the astounding passion that drives this extraordinary man. …
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Dana White - Authentic Leadership Characteristics. Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC)
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Dana White - Authentic Leadership Characteristics. Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC)

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There is a lot of biographical information, fan praise, gossip, statistics, and anecdotes available about Dana White, CEO of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).. What I found most revealing, however, are the stories that provide brief glimpses into his life. They are not mainstream stories, meaning they are not about love and marriage, tragedy and dashed dreams. They are not about an individual with a nine to five kind of life. They are stories of extraordinary purpose, strong values for right action, establishing trust, demonstrating self-discipline, and astounding passion for the core elements of his life: MMA (mixed martial arts) as a sport, the UFA and its fighters and fans. The picture that emerges from these stories is of an authentic leader, a man who, though surrounded by fans and fighters, often stands alone; lives fearlessly, acts heroically, wants to be free and true more than anything else, takes unconditional responsibility for himself, faces everything and avoids nothing, lives for a higher purpose, has insight, demonstrates initiative, exerts influence, has impact, and exercises integrity. Understanding UFC Purpose Dana White rescued the UFC, when it was basically worthless, disrespected, and badly organized around a sport most states did not even allow. He arranged, with investors, to buy it for $2 million, with him as president. In less than a decade, he has guided the UFC to astounding success and put mixed martial arts onto the map and into the mainstream (Hyson, 2011). Time Magazine estimated UFC’s net worth to be over 1 billion dollars, and it out-performs boxing and wrestling in pay-per-view revenue (Hyson, 2011). For Dana White, however, the UFC is about more than money. It is about generating and sustaining respect for a sport he loves. After arranging the purchase of the UFC, White implemented safety rules and medical exams, re-structured the image of UFC and the sport, taking pride in the education and intelligence of the fighters, as well as their physical qualities. He marketed fighter’s athleticism and personalities by producing a highly successful, quality television series about them (Hyson, 2011). He carefully controls the image of mixed martial arts, as a now respectable sport, and he requires positive fighter-fan interaction (Hyson, 2011). In addition to seeing the role of the UFC as generating and sustaining respect for the sport, Dana White further sees the role of the UFC as maintaining the top brand status in the sport. He keeps only the best fighters and is therefore not intimidated by the competition. He says, “We’re the Super Bowl of mixed martial arts” (Hyson, 2011). Dana White is an authentic leader because he demonstrates the qualities of insight, influence and impact. These qualities are three of five which denote authentic leadership (Hyatt, 2010). He influences UFC fighters and fans to keep a respectable image. Actually, Forbes magazine recently listed him as one of the most influential people in the world (Koapaka.org, 2011). He has demonstrated insight into how to restructure his organization to support that goal, and how to market that improved image while building a tremendous fan base. His impact on the sport of mixed martial arts fighting is enormous. Andrew Cohen, founder of EnlightenNext, lists eight behaviors that characterize authentic leadership. Two of these are: “Want to be true and free more than anything else” and “Live for a higher purpose” (Cohen, 2011). Dana White demonstrates both of these qualities as he continues to raise the quality of the sport. He and UFC are already the best, yet he continues to strive for better. He ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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