FORT CAVAZOS, Texas — Ultimate Fighting Championship President Dana White delighted UFC fans during a meet and greet event Nov. 30 at the Fort Cavazos Main Exchange here.
White was in the Central Texas area for the UFC Lightweight bout Dec. 2 at Moody Center in Austin, Texas, and stopped by Fort Cavazos to visit with Soldiers before he made his way south.
The crew from Fort Cavazos’ Great Big Podcast sat down with White to talk about his steadfast dedication to the armed forces and his philosophy on life and success.
White began with a declaration of his support for the military that would echo throughout the remainder of the podcast.
“I’m a huge military and law enforcement guy so anytime that I can ever do anything, no matter what it is, I’m all in,” he expressed. “The level of respect that I have for military personnel, it’s unexplainable. I’ll probably say it 30 times during this podcast, I love the military. I have so much respect for people who defend this country.”
When asked how it felt to be at Fort Cavazos, White replied, “To meet the people who actually are here, doing it and willing to defend our country, there’s no place that I would rather be than here today meeting them and shaking their hands.
“These are the people that are the real heroes and the real superheroes,” he continued. “When you are willing to dedicate a massive portion of your life, and sometimes your entire life, to protecting others and protecting your country, it’s one of the things that I respect the most in a human being.”
White recounted the early days of trying to establish the UFC and the mantra that inspired him then and still pushes him to achieve great things today.
“People thought it was crazy, what I wanted to do. The idea of going head-to-head with boxing. Boxing was massive and was sort of cemented in over a hundred years of history in the United States, and when you say that you want to start what I wanted to start and do what I wanted to do, it seemed impossible and could never be done. Nothing is impossible and everything can be done,” he declared.
“People out there who have an idea and it seems too big and it seems too crazy and other people think you’re nuts, none of that’s true,” he continued. “Anything is possible and anything can be done.”
White talked about his work with the Fisher House and his immense respect for the organization and its efforts to support the military.
“We’re huge supporters and I don’t know if anybody’s done more than the Fisher family for the military,” he said.
Before wrapping up the podcast, White reiterated his support for service members.
“I would literally do anything,” he asserted. “I met a couple of guys here today and I gave them my cell phone number already, I’ve been here 10 minutes … you know if you ever need anything from me or the UFC, whether it’s fundraising, people showing up to bases or any type of support that we could possibly give, I’m your guy, I’m all in.”
Spc. David Briseno, 1st Battalion, 9th Cavalry Regiment, was one of a group of Soldiers who met White and took photos with him before the meet and greet.
Briseno recounted memories of watching UFC bouts on television with his father and seeing White ringside. He said he never imagined meeting him and described the encounter as, “truly a once in a lifetime experience for me.”
“These big people in Hollywood, they care about guys and girls like us,” he said. “That truly makes us feel special and makes us really want to keep working and doing our best to protect this country.”
Spc. Falecia Long, 1st Bn., 9th Cav. Regt., agreed.
“It makes you feel special,” she expressed. “I think it’s cool that he supports everything that we do. There’s a lot of people that support the military, but it was nice to have someone that’s super big to be like, ‘You guys are doing great stuff.’ It made me feel important.”
Dressed in a black t-shirt with green letters that read “ARMY,” White’s appreciation of the armed forces and his humble and friendly demeanor were on full display as he posed for photos and laughed and talked with Fort Cavazos leadership, Soldiers, Main Exchange staff and VIP guests before greeting throngs of fans awaiting his entrance.
“I was just outside and there’s a line probably a hundred yards long of Soldiers in uniform, out of uniform, waiting patiently to come see him,” said Col. Kevin Brown, command engineer, Army and Air Force Exchange Service.
Brown explained that White’s visit embodied AAFES’ long-standing slogan.
“AAFES, we go where you go, and this is one time he came where we are,” he said. “For Mr. White to come here and meet our Soldiers and family members in our main store, is awesome.”
Brown added that the event was a great way to usher in the holidays for Soldiers and their families.
“This is a really good morale boost for the beginning of the holiday season,” he conveyed. “They have something here to kind of break up the monotony, to give them something to look forward to and have fun.”