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Dana White vs Tony Khan: A Tale of Two Press Conference Tapes

December 20th 2023, 18:23 GMT

Dana White’s iconic at press conferences. Pic:

Two sport promoters held a press conference last weekend. One needs to take a lesson from the other.

MMA juggernaut UFC’s president Dana White is friends with major sports franchise owner Tony Khan. The latter owns Premier League team FC Fulham, NFL franchise Jacksonville Jaguars and in 2019 Khan launched pro wrestling organization AEW to compete with the biggest wrestling company in the world, WWE.

Khan promised wrestling fans more sports based presentation than their competition offers. With that, AEW introduced press conferences to the pro wrestling industry and mr. Tony Khan can take credit for this.

In combat sports, UFC president Dana White has made post-fight press conferences after big PPV’s a must see occasion. Dana gives his honest opinion about recently fought battles in the octagon and provides updates about upcoming fights. Dana’s outbursts are super entertaining and it is no wonder why his friend Tony immediately incorporated the press conference as a part of his product.

Unfortunately for pro wrestling fans, Tony Khan’s pressers aren’t nearly as entertaining as Dana’s. In fact, Tony’s press conferences have caused harm to his business: Everyone who follows pro wrestling remembers how CM Punk looked like the boss of Tony’s own company while trashing other AEW wrestlers publicly, Khan sitting right next to him. Now imagine that happening under Dana’s watch.

This caused so much harm beyond repair within the AEW locker room that Punk was eventually fired by Khan himself. CM Punk is currently the hottest act in his competitors side.

Tony’s thing is that he likes to give long monologues in his press conferences where he mostly rambles about AEW’s success compared to the WWE. Given the more carnival-like environment surrounding the pro wrestling industry compared to UFC’s real sport atmosphere, the numbers could be fixed like the fights.

But that isn’t relevant. It’s how you can use a press conference as a tool to grow your audience. Dana White and Tony Khan press conferences can both cause controversy. But the big difference is that for Dana this ends up doing positive business meanwhile for Tony Khan’s side of the fence everyone is expecting what goes wrong this time around.

UFC 296 was held in Las Vegas, Nevada December 16th 2023. Leon Edwards defeated Colby Covington. Dana White was in the headlines after he called out Colby for looking “old and slow” in the fight.

That’s what Dana White does: He gives his honest opinion and either this causes Colby to get fire under his a** preparing for his next fight or agitating a known loudmouth fighter to a conflict with Dana. In both scenarios UFC will generate more box-office at Colby’s next PPV fight.

Tony Khan is more conflict avoiding type of a person. He gives speeches so long that you have forgotten the topic long before he has finished his answer. In fact, after a Ring of Honor(a wrestling promotion under Khan’s sports empire) PPV’s press conference a day before Dana hosted his one for the UFC 296, it took Tony Khan over 9 minutes to answer his first question when he was left alone in front of the media.

In nine minutes Dana White had answered 21 questions. During that Dana had addressed fight week biggest controversies, given his opinions about fighters and created headlines.

It seems to the fans that long ramblings from Tony is kind of a way to protect himself. Tony is like the opposite version of Dana when it comes to handling hot topics.

MMA reporter Ariel Helwani, who is known for having a beef with mr. Dana White himself, interviewed Tony Khan in October of 2022. This interview was, according to Helwani, one of the most frustrating interviews during his career. Tony gave Ariel “No comment” as an answer to the most debatable topics, and didn’t even want to answer a softer opinion-based questions.

Last Friday after the Ring of Honor PPV some wrestling fans tuned to Youtube just to see how Tony does this time in front of the media. And during a long opening speech in his personal portion of the conference after almost an hour and a half of the conference behind us, you just sat still startled how Tony can talk for so long and give so little.

Weekend Press Conference Statistics:

Tony Khan’s press conference 15th of December

Duration: 34 minutes 15 seconds

Questions answered: 7

Dana White’s press conference 16th of December

Duration: 31 minutes 40 seconds

Questions answered: 61

Old William Shakespeare quote seems applicable in this case: “Brevity is the soul of wit.”


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