Dana White could live anywhere. The Ultimate Fighting Championship president has grown his business into a global phenomenon—not only is his face synonymous with his industry, but it has become one of the most recognized in all of sports. But White, who grew up in Boston and Maine, has chosen to plant the UFC flag—and himself—here because, quite simply, he loves Las Vegas. In honor of Vegas Seven’s Best of the City issue, and the fact that July 28 is his 42nd birthday, we thought we’d let the outspoken boss count the ways …
What’s your favorite restaurant in town?
I can only pick one? I have a different favorite restaurant for each style of food, but if I had to pick one type it would be Italian, and the restaurant would be Terra Rossa in Red Rock Resort. I have eaten Italian food all over the world, and Terra Rossa is right up there with the best cities like New York and Los Angeles.
The place to go to get away from the office?
I go and play blackjack at the Palazzo. It’s where I go to clear my head. They have private rooms over there that you can play in and hook up your iPod, play some cards and de-stress.
The best bar?
The Roadrunner [the one at Interstate 215 and Flamingo Road] because there is a great vibe in the place, they have great bar food and every time I walk into the Roadrunner there are at least 10 people I know. A lot of people who grew up in Las Vegas go there. I like to go to Roadrunner and drink my favorite drink: Grey Goose and cranberry.
The best building?
The Bellagio because it looks good from the outside and is beautiful on the inside. It’s a great hotel.
The public figure you most admire?
Mr. [Frank] Fertitta [Jr., founder of Station Casinos]. He came to this town with nothing, built an incredible business and raised an incredible family here. Anyone who ever met or knew Mr. Fertitta has nothing but good things to say about him.
The place you most like to take your three kids?
There is not a lot to do with my kids here, which is my only beef with Vegas, but I would have to say the Red Rock [Resort]. You have the food court, the arcade, the movie theater, the pool, and you can go bowling. I spend a lot of time with my kids at Red Rock.
You’ve said before that you would never move. What’s the No. 1 thing that keeps you here?
I have been to a lot of cities all over the world—you name the country, I have been there; you name the city, I have been there—and there is no city on earth like Las Vegas. It’s the greatest city in the world.
The thing that makes it better than every other place in the world—even New York City—is it is 24 hours. You can do anything anytime you want to. If you want to get up and go eat late at night, you can go eat. You can go gamble late at night. You want to go to a bar, it’s open. You can go to a nightclub. Or if you want to just get up and go to the grocery store, the grocery store is open!
I have a house in Laguna Beach [Calif.] and it’s nice to be in Laguna, but everything shuts down. Nothing shuts down in Las Vegas. You can go for days. The other thing that’s great about Las Vegas, though: You can live a total quiet, normal life and be home by 8 o’clock, watch TV and go to bed. You can do or live however you want in Las Vegas.
I have houses in other places, but I am always happy as hell to get back to Las Vegas!