In a new interview with Sports Illustrated, UFC president Dana White is asked what the best story that he’s never told anyone about before is, and he didn’t disappoint, proceeding to tell a yarn about the time he freaked out Robert De Niro while teaching Mark Wahlberg how to box in L.A.
“So 1995, 1996 I’m living here in Vegas. I move to L.A. for four months to live with [Mark] Wahlberg. Live at his house and train him getting ready for boxing movie called the Vinnie Curto Story. Wahlberg was playing Vinnie Curto; Robert De Niro was playing Angelo Dundee…
So I’m out there training him and everything. I’m training him for this boxing movie. It’s cool. We’re out in L.A.
Actually, Wahlberg had just finished Boogie Nights. So I went to the Premier of Boogie Nights with him in New York, in L.A. We went through this whole thing.
It was a really cool, fun time training every day, boxing. So one day we’re at set and Robert De Niro comes in. De Niro is there because Angelo Dundee, they flew Dundee in. We’re in a room way smaller than this. Tiny little room, right? And Angelo Dundee is talking and Robert De Niro is filming him with a camcorder because he wants to get all of his mannerisms and see the way he talks and everything else.
So you’re De Niro and I’m me. We’re all standing up. So they get done with this whole thing with Dundee and we leave. I think we went and ate or something. Me and Mark went and ate and came back and Mark grabs me and pulls me aside and says, ‘Dana, you got to stop staring at Bobby. You’re freaking him out.’
I’m like, ‘Mark it’s f—ing Robert De Niro, man. I’m in a room with DiNiro and I guess I was staring at him the whole time.’ He’s like, I’m telling you man, if you don’t stop staring at him you’re not going to be able to go back in the room. You’re totally freaking him out. So I said, ‘Okay, I’ll stop staring at De Niro.’
But I got in the room, and holy f—, Robert DiNiro. So I think that’s the story I never told.”