While Art Davie is only a household name to the most die-hard UFC fans, there wouldn’t be a lucrative UFC organization without him. A wealthy fan of martial arts, Davie turned his idea of bringing MMA to the homes of millions into what eventually became the UFC. Before all that, however, he was roommates with Donald Trump at military school.
Who is UFC creator Art Davie?
Davie was training in martial arts in between making business deals in Southern California, details Fansided. At the time, martial arts were only popular with an American audience when it was part of a fictional movie. Davie started to brainstorm what he could do to create a new niche market and get martial arts to a broader audience.
Initially conceiving his idea as a mail-order VHS service, Davie began to think bigger as he considered ways to make martial arts mainstream. After all, if boxing and wrestling could be significant, why couldn’t MMA? However, there were several hurdles along the way, and Davie had to be patient as he bypassed all of them.
Initially, when Davie pitched the idea of big MMA matches, HBO, ESPN, and Showtime were not having that. After the UFC premiered to minimal success, lawmakers across the country began decrying MMA as a violent sport — going as far as banning MMA fights in several states. Although Davie eventually struck a deal with Semaphore Entertainment Group, the UFC was not yet the success he desired.
He sold it for an undisclosed sum. Several years later, the UFC was sold again for $2 million. Fast forward several years, and the UFC was sold again to WME-IMG for $4 billion. Although Davie might no longer be a part of the company, it’s a testament to his acumen as a businessman. Add a former roommate to the mix, and it makes sense of how he got there.
Davie goes to military school
Davie became a cautionary tale about what can happen if aspiring businesspeople sell too early after selling the UFC for little gain. He wrote about his entire life, from childhood to the eventual UFC saga in the book Is This Legal? Throughout the book, Davies talks about all of the hurdles he faced, from finding investors to acquiring talent.
The UFC was a sort of punk rock version of combat sports when many people didn’t know about it outside of the die-hard fans. However, this drive to do better and prove the doubters wrong may have come from Davie’s schooling. He went to the New York Military, which taught him the discipline he needed to get to where he is.
Donald Trump attended the New York Military Academy
The New York Military Academy was the go-to place for the “Greatest Generation” to send their kids to straighten up. Everyone from Stephen Sondheim to Francis Ford Coppola went to the school. Perhaps its most notable alumni, however, was future president Donald Trump. Davie saw Trump firsthand as his roommate, as Davie’s book website details. Whether this dictated his future business moves is unknown, but their shared story as businessmen cannot go unnoticed.
Trump has spoken extensively about his career at military school. His father was a successful businessman who was hoping to get some discipline into his heirs. Whether this worked with Trump is in the eye of the beholder, but his military school shaped him into who he became. It was here that Trump developed a love for sports, too.
Trump was reportedly a troublemaker at the school who didn’t take things seriously. However, despite his childhood mischief, some see Trump’s time at the school as a precursor to his hyper-conservative future as a politician. Davie has spoken about the inklings of the future president he experienced at the school, although he does not do so often, according to MMA Today.
Davie and Trump eventually went their separate ways, but their fighting streaks might be explained by their time together. Both saw success and failure afterward, but without their time at the NYMA, they might have had very different lives.