A What’s YOUR Fight? interview you won’t want to miss. Cameron Conaway connects with Dana White‘s mom, June White, about her new book “Dana White -King of MMA -an unauthorized biography.”
September 3, 2011
Cameron Conaway interviews Dana White’s mom, June.
CC: June, let’s start from scratch. At what point did you know in your heart that youhad to write this book? How long had the idea of writing a book been brewing in youbefore you took the step to make it happen?
JW: It was only recently after Dana’s grandmother died that I knew I had to write thebook. People who know Dana and I had been telling me for a number of years Ishould write a book about him but I hadn’t really given it any serious thought untilabout 8 months ago, but after her death I knew I had to write the book.
CC: Aside from the many stories about Dana (literally from the moment you saw himat birth), you also include plenty of information about the history and evolution ofMMA. The book is a quick-read but is packed with information. How long did it takefrom the book’s inception to its final product? What unexpected struggles did youexperience throughout the writing and publishing process?
JW: It didn’t take me very long to write the book, a few months, I had started it butwhen my mom became ill I went down to Florida for 4 months to take care of her, Ifinished it when I returned home. I didn’t have to do any research on the subject soit went quickly. I was surprised that the publishers all said they had no interest in the book becauseit had no commercial value, that it wouldn’t make any money. Talk about ademographic that has no knowledge of mixed martial arts or it’s huge following. CC: The crafting of the book is certainly a difficult process. You mentioned on manyoccasions throughout the book that your reason for writing was to set the story straight. Do you feel you’ve done this? How did other family members respond when you told them you were writing it?
JW: For myself I do feel I’ve set the story straight. There are a number of stories outthere about Dana and how he had grown up on his own without adults around,these stories are not true. I worked hard to provide a good life for Dana, (he went toprivate school, that’s how he knows Lorenzo) and he was never left alone as a childin the mean streets of South Boston and Vegas. My sister and one brother knew I was writing the book and they were supportive.
CC: There have been plenty of mixed reviews of your book (and of you) within theMMA industry. Some say the book is a must-read, some say it’s a silly attempt to getexposure. As this is your first book, and really your first time out in the “public eye”regarding all of this, how have you handled the newfound publicity and attention?Any crazy stories to share?
JW: I certainly wasn’t prepared for a lot of the more negative comments directedpersonally at me by individuals who don’t know me and didn’t read the book. Idon’t believe silly comes close to the words some people used. Some of thecomments directed at me or directed at Dana were extreme and some actually scary,but the majority of people who have contacted me about the book have been verynice. A story; Bloodstain Lane had made a youtube video about the book speaking toDana, (he said he would be Dr Phil). A friend had e-mailed me the video. I didn’tknow who BSL was and at first I was actually afraid to even watch the video, butonce I did started watching the video I found it funny. BSL has a unique sense ofhumor. I have now added BSL to my bff list.
CC: June, now that the book has been out for over a month, what are your thoughtson it? Do you have any regrets, any learning experiences to share? If you had thehindsight, is there anything you would have changed?
JW: I don’t have any regrets, but one thing I did learn was that I should have hadsomeone with a good editing back ground check the book before it went to print.The Fight Nerd did a book review and stated the typos were an assault on his eyes,(that was a good one) beyond that he did like the book. The other item that I foundinteresting was the different perceptions of what people thought the book wasabout. One person said they saw it as a rags to riches story, a man from Southie saidhe couldn’t finish the book because he felt Dana was disrespectful, (Southie boyslove their mamas) and then an old girl friend of Danas called me and said she lovedthe book, it was right on.
CC: Lastly, what has been the best part of this entire experience for you?
JW: I don’t know about that question, for now I would say it’s been people I havemet because of the book.
CC: Thanks for the terrific interview, June! We wish you the best of luck!
Cameron Conaway is the author of Caged: Memoirs of a Cage-Fighting Poet.