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September 18, 2014

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Chase for the Golden Nerf:

Celebrity/Media NFL Picks Week 16: Dana White says, ‘There isn’t one thing about being involved in the UFC that sucks’

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Dana White talks during a news conference to promote UFC 168 Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013.

Most people get excited about the holidays, but for UFC chief Dana White, it’s an entirely different kind of euphoria.

“To say that I’m excited about Dec. 28 is the understatement of the decade,” White said. “I literally cannot wait for Anderson Silva-Chris Weidman. I couldn’t wait for that fight two minutes after the last one was over. I’m very excited.”

There’s a lot to be excited about with the UFC year-round these days for White, who is preparing for next weekend’s UFC 168 pay-per-view at MGM Grand. Who knew that 20 years after its inception, UFC would become such a global phenomenon?

“You know I had hoped so. I thought (UFC) had the potential to become this big, but you never know if the timing is gonna be right,” White said. “There are so many things that could have happened along the way, that if it didn’t line up, (UFC) wouldn’t have (been this big). But it did. ... I always thought it had the potential.”

Between the TV series, live events, the build-up, the travel, the fighters themselves, the fans ... what gets White revved up the most?

“All of that gets me excited. I like that we’re such a young, fast-moving creative company. We make decisions at the drop of a hat. We are constantly figuring out new ways to deliver our product to our consumers, and the growth is a huge factor in what makes this company fun. Trying new things and going new places. So all of it. There isn’t one thing about being involved in the UFC that sucks. Not one thing,” he said.

Las Vegas has hosted more UFC events than any other city, and White explains why it’s an ideal site for top mixed martial arts events.

“It’s the fight capital of the world; it’s the entertainment capital of the world; it’s the party capital of the world,” White said. “You come into Vegas and you can see any great show. … Tons of performers, the UFC, boxing, the rodeo. … There are so many things to do here. Or you can gamble or go to dinner. There are so many options. There’s no other city on Earth like Las Vegas.”

The octagon of the UFC is clearly White’s passion, but he’s also a fan of the gridiron.

“As far as sports go, behind the UFC would be boxing, and behind boxing would be football. My favorite team is the Patriots, who are hanging in there this season despite not having the team they had last year,” he said.

White also has the ability to take a punch himself, as evidenced in his record in the Chase for the Golden Nerf. After an abysmal 3-15 start, White has been respectable since, with a record above .500 after that point.

“I must say that I am pretty embarrassed by my showing in the football picks,” he said. “I could have just thrown darts at the wall and done better than this. It’s pretty embarrassing. I’m getting smoked by a guy who does puppets for a living – basically every celebrity on the Strip destroyed me in this football pool.”

Sal DeFilippo’s picks (21-23-1):

Saints +3 at Panthers

Seahawks -10½ vs. Cardinals

Cowboys-Redskins over 53½

•••

The media/celebrity picks:

Andrew Freeman, "Raiding the Rock Vault" performer at LVH (26-19)

Chiefs -6½ vs. Colts

Rams -5 vs. Buccaneers

Dolphins -2½ at Bills

•••

Marc Savard, comedy hypnotist at Planet Hollywood (23-18-4)

Panthers -3 vs. Saints

Rams -5 vs. Buccaneers

Bengals -7 vs. Vikings

•••

Donny Osmond, Flamingo headliner (23-20-2)

Patriots +2½ at Ravens

Saints +3 at Panthers

49ers -12½ vs. Falcons

•••

Terry Fator, Mirage headliner (23-21-1)

Broncos -10½ at Texans

Chiefs-Colts over 44

Cowboys-Redskins over 53½

•••

Carla Pellegrino, celebrity chef and owner of Bratalian (23-21-1)

Dolphins -2½ at Bills

Seahawks -10½ vs. Cardinals

Chargers -10 vs. Raiders

•••

Wayne Newton, "Mr. Las Vegas" (22-22-1)

Patriots +2½ at Ravens

Redskins +3 vs. Cowboys

Cardinals +10½ at Seahawks

•••

Carolyn Goodman, mayor of Las Vegas (22-22-1)

Chiefs -6½ vs. Colts

Saints +3 at Panthers

49ers -12½ vs. Falcons

•••

John Katsilometes, The Kats Report (21-23-1)

49ers -12½ vs. Falcons

Colts +6½ at Chiefs

Rams-Buccaneers over 42½

•••

Frankie Moreno, Stratosphere headliner (20-23-2)

Cowboys -3 at Redskins

Chargers -10 vs. Raiders

Panthers -3 vs. Saints

•••

Mark & Mercedes in the Morning, Mix 94.1 (18-23-4)

Broncos -10½ at Texans

Redskins +3 vs. Cowboys

Browns +2 at Jets

•••

Jason Feinberg, KVVU-TV morning personality (18-26-1)

Panthers -3 vs. Saints

Jets -2 vs. Browns

Raiders-Chargers over 51

•••

Claire Sinclair, star of "Pin Up" at Stratosphere (17-26-2)

Dolphins -2½ at Bills

Saints +3 at Panthers

Eagles -3 vs. Bears

•••

Oscar Goodman, Las Vegas ambassador (17-27-1)

Eagles -3 vs. Bears

Giants +9 at Lions

Vikings +7 at Bengals

•••

Kevin Janison, KSNV meteorologist (17-27-1)

Broncos -10½ at Texans

Eagles-Bears over 56

Cowboys-Redskins over 53½

•••

Dana White, UFC president (17-28)

Seahawks -10½ vs. Cardinals

Saints +3 at Panthers

Chiefs -6½ vs. Colts

•••

Carrot Top, Luxor headliner (14-28-3)

Dolphins -2½ at Bills

Chiefs -6½ vs. Colts

Rams -5 vs. Buccaneers

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