Discover more from Tej Dosa
The Dana White Story
I skipped my exams to hunt down Dana White...
On June 11, 2011 the UFC came to Vancouver, Canada.
I was in high school at the time. Last year.
And obviously wanted to go.
But didn’t have the funds.
Plus, I had school. And provincial exams were going down which was a really big deal because you needed to get a high grade to get inside certain universities here in Canada (or some shit like that - I honestly forgot).
And it was all the teachers kept talking about.
"This is such a deciding factor in your life…"
"Study really really hard for these exams…"
"It’s do or die…"
In between their rants, my friends and I came up with a crazy idea to cut school and hit up downtown Vancouver to track down Dana White at the weigh-ins. And ask for a Free Tickets lol (at the time Dana used to give away a fuck ton of Free Tickets).
One of our provincial exams was on the exact same day/time as the UFC weigh-ins.
Choices, choices. To hit up the UFC weigh ins. Or to go to school and take the provincial exam.
It was a no-brainer. Fuck the exam.
"Let’s go hunt down Dana White."
So 10 of us decided to cut the exam. And skip school (you can clearly see where my head was at the time. Like I mentioned in other emails, my grades were complete trash in high school. Didn’t give a single fuck.)
We decided 3-4 days beforehand.
And it was set in stone. No backing out now.
But… a day or two before the BIG day, some girl told the teacher what we were planning. And the teacher told us point blank:
"I know what you guys are planning, do NOT do it or else there’s going to be serious consequences."
Out of the 10 friends who were planning to skip school to track down Dana White in hopes of getting a Free Ticket (lol), 6 backed out after hearing the teacher’s "threat".
And only 4 remained.
Guess who was part of the 4?
So fast forward a few sleeps later and the BIG day was here:
Time to skip the exam… hunt down Dana White... and get Free Tickets to the UFC event that was going down the next day.
We caught the train into downtown.
And watched the weigh-ins.
They were happening outside (Canada Place area - if you’ve been to Van - you know what I’m talking about).
And they were cool.
But not what we had come to see.
Our mission was to find Dana White.
So that’s what we tried to do.
Figure out where the hell Dana could be (we didn’t see him at the weigh-ins I don’t think).
So we looked around. And found a fancy building next to the weigh-ins that was blocked off by a ton of security.
They weren’t letting anybody through.
"He’s probably in there." Somebody said.
"Let’s get inside."
How did we do it?
Parking lot entrance.
Everybody forgets about the parking lot entrance.
Not us. We snuck inside.
Ducked and dodged security.
And started our hunt.
It went on for minutes… then hours… then nothing (huge hotel building if I remember correctly - memory is a bit fuzzy).
By the end of the hours, we were defeated.
"F it man… we tried."
We said to one another with defeat pumping through our arteries as we looked into the future and imagined the consequences awaiting us once we got back to school.
"Let’s just go through those doors and get some fresh air."
We did. Opened the closest door. Stepped outside.
And started breathing in the fresh air while looking out into the horizon.
Then we turned back, ready to head back home.
And guess who we saw walking our way?
Dana White and his buddy/security guard (if you’ve seen his old school video vlogs, you know who this is - he’s always with Dana).
"No fucking way." We thought.
But it was real (they always say "success" hits you right after you’re about to give up).
Dana walks over to us (he had to pass us to get inside lol) and says, "What’s up boys?"
We talk to him for a bit. And tell him the story.
Then one of my buddies lays forth the million dollar question…
"Yo Dana, can you hook up some Free Tix?"
Dana looks at us. Then to his buddy/security.
"Give these boys some fucking tickets, man."
His buddy pulls out a wad of tickets, breaks off 4 (prime seats), and hands them to us.
Just like that:
We hit up the UFC event the next day.
And it was surreal.
I’ve been to NFL games… NHL games… NBA games… but watching a LIVE UFC event beat them all. The vibe… the energy… the chaos in the building was just next level.
And I fell even deeper in love with the sport.
Fast forward 8 years and the UFC was back in town for a Fight Night Event.
My buddy texted me when it was first announced.
"Yo, you down?"
Didn’t think twice.
We went. Enjoyed the fights. Had a great time.
And the next event?
I’ll go again. And again.
What was the marketing lesson here?
Many, but here is the one that sticks out in my mind...
When Dana gave my friends and I free tickets (plus thousands of other people he used to give free tickets to back in the day), he didn’t just give us Free Tickets. He gave us a powerful Lead Magnet. A powerful lead magnet allows you to get a taste of the product. And realize it’s some killer shit. And makes you want to buy more.
This is what those Free Tickets did to me.
They gave me a taste.
Sold me on UFC Live Events.
And turned me into a Customer for life.
That Free Ticket I got over the course of my life will turn into a ton of $$$s paid to the UFC in return.
Isn’t that funny?
That’s the power of a great lead magnet.
Most marketers give away shitty lead magnets.
What a terrible mistake (you’re attaching "low value" to your name and prospects won’t buy your products)
Don’t be most marketers.
As the OG marketer Eben Pagan used to say:
"Give away your best stuff for Free. And watch how quickly people come running to you to buy."
That’s what Dana did. And it worked.
I’ve been applying this philosophy ever since.
And it’s been paying off handsomely.
Perhaps you should try it?
P.S. What happened once we returned back to school?
1. We were the talk of the school. Our Dana White story quickly circulated throughout the halls lol.
2. 6 of my friends who backed out were filled with regret.
3. I don’t even remember what the consequences for skipping out on the exam were.
This goes to show you…
Sometimes you just gotta say "F it" and take the risk.