UFC president Dana White doesn’t see a bright future for Barstool Sports after being bought out by Penn Entertainment earlier this year.
During a Wednesday appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show,” White appeared to disapprove of Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy’s decision to sell the company to Penn Entertainment and explained why bringing in corporate “suits” is bad for business.
It came one day after Portnoy revealed on “The Kirk Minihane Show” that his contract is up in 20 months, and he’s not sure if he will reach an extension with the parent company.
“I would much rather do this show than any of the linear TV shows out there,” White said of “The Pat McAfee Show,” which is moving to ESPN in a multimillion-dollar deal expected to begin in the fall, The Post’s Andrew Marchand reported. “It’s much, much better.
“Let me tell you what, once you start to get suits involved in your business and these f–king corporate guys who think know what they’re f–king doing… and most of them don’t know jack s–t.
UFC president Dana White on “The Pat McAfee Show” on May 24, 2023. Twitter
“… You’re gonna see it with Barstool over the next couple of years too. They came in and they bought it out, they bought Portnoy out.
“I had a situation yesterday with Barstool and it’s turning into a corporate f–king s–t-show too. It’s what happens when you get these f–king suits involved in your business.”
White and his former business partners, Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta, sold UFC to Endeavor in 2016 and partnered with ESPN on a blockbuster TV deal in 2019.
Dave Portnoy of Barstool Sports is seen in attendance during the UFC 281 event at Madison Square Garden on November 12, 2022 in New York City. Zuffa LLC
White’s comments sparked rumors that he ended his relationship with Barstool Sports, and the UFC boss cleared the air during a press conference for his TBS competition show, “Power Slap.”
“No, that’s not true,” White told reporters on Wednesday. “Listen, what I said today on Pat McAfee was not about Barstool Sports it was about Penn Gaming.
“Basically what I’m saying is, when you build a company like Barstool Sports, the way that it was built with a guy like Dave Portnoy, once you get a bunch of suits involved… it just changes the dynamic of the whole thing. Ask Vice how that went.”
Dana White speaks with the press following the event at UFC Apex for UFC Vegas 73 – Dern vs Hill event on May 20, 2023, in Las Vegas, NV. Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Penn, a brick-and-mortar casino company, acquired 36 percent of Barstool Sports from The Chernin Group for $163 million in early 2020 and bought the remainder of the company for an additional $388 million in February 2023.
Prior to White’s Wednesday appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show,” Portnoy played coy about his future with Barstool Sports while discussing its parent company.
“Who knows where I’ll be in 3-5 years,” Portnoy said. “I think Dan [Katz], which I would say is very good for Barstool, is clearly locked in for a very long time. He’s creating this huge fantasy factory there. I think it’s great for Barstool.”
Portnoy said he has no end-date in mind for his time at Barstool, adding that his contract is up in 20 months from May.
“There’s been some talk about it. Like you said [previously], who knows what they’re thinking at this point,” he said.
Portnoy — who founded Barstool Sports in 2003 as a free print tabloid for transit commuters in the Boston area — previously addressed backlash that he is a “sellout” following the controversial firing of host Ben Mintz for rapping a racial slur on a live stream.
“So I got every Tom, Dick and Harry since this Mintzy thing saying, ‘Pres, you’re a sellout. Hey Pres, you sold out,’” Portnoy said in a video on Twitter, admitting that’s exactly what he did. “You’re just figuring that out? I started a company and I f–king sold it the f–k out. Made hundreds of millions, made millions for everybody that grinded.
Warning: Explicit Language
“Yeah we sold the f–k out because that’s what you do when you’re an entrepreneur. You start this little company you dream one day and you sell it the f–k out. Still means this decision sucks. I hate it, it makes me want to puke.
“But guess what, when I sold out, a couple words, a couple things is very clear: you say these things, those decisions are no longer mine. I can’t protect you, you know why, because I sold out.”
Portnoy previously said he disagreed with Penn CEO Jay Snowden about the decision to fire Mintz, adding that the move could be a “death blow” to Barstool’s reputation.
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