White struggles to stay balanced


If you see UFC honcho Dana White around Vegas, he might be experiencing vertigo.

White, who lives in Summerlin, talked about dealing with Ménière’s disease on Joe Rogan’s popular podcast. Rogan, the comedian, is a commentator for the UFC, and he and White have been friends for years. Anyway, White’s disease is an inner ear disorder that causes vertigo, tinnitus and hearing loss.

White, 43, said on “The Joe Rogan Experience” he got hearing loss, then nerve damage and depth perception problems from punches to the head. He got his first trauma after being jumped in a Boston bar at 21, when he was beat up for 20 minutes while one guy nailed his ear “a thousand times.”

So now he has balance problems.

“The room starts spinning so fast, you have to grab onto (stuff). You close your eyes,” White said, “sometimes for hours.”

A week ago, White tried a controversial surgery to fix this, but it was “a complete disaster.” White is avoiding booze, caffeine, salt and other “fun stuff” that triggers his ear trouble. He also has sleep apnea.

“I don’t sleep at all, bro,” White told Rogan.

And he has spots on his brain from taking punches.

You can listen to this fun and fascinating interview on iTunes or on an Android app or watch it at Vimeo.com/60232846.

Other highlights:

■ White says partying kills fighters’ careers. He once ran into Chuck Liddell at the Hard Rock Hotel at 2:30 a.m. the night before a fight.

“I said, ‘Dude, get your (expletive) punk ass home and go to bed.’\u2009”

■ When White was a high schooler here, other kids were on performance-enhancing drugs:

“There was a doctor in town — you went and got on his weight-gain program. They would give you injections and pills. You took both shots and pills in high school. (Isn’t) that crazy?”

■ As a high-rolling gambler, he once lost $1 million in a night but won $6 million another night. As Norm Clarke reported, the Palms cut back his gambling efforts, but that’s par for the Vegas course, White suggested.

“That’s the way Vegas is now,” White said. “Go try to play big money at the Wynn. They’re (wimps).”

Rogan told White he should smoke weed to battle his disease. White laughed and said, “I’m too old, man.”

WEIR HERE

Singer and guitarist Bob Weir, the Grateful Dead great, performs an acoustic concert Friday at the Palms’ Pearl ($52-$74).

Weir tells me he first came to Vegas with the band in the 1960s. He was 19 or 20. He walked into the Vegas airport and dropped a quarter in a slot.

“You know, a quarter was a lot of money back then. I poured a quarter in, and pulled the lever, and the thing lit up like a Christmas tree,” Weir says.

Winning quarters scattered across the floor.

“The band and crew followed me off the airplane and very dutifully picked up all the quarters and put them back into the machines.”

Then in the 1990s, the band played at the Silver Bowl during “a hellacious thunderstorm.”

“I’m just amazed that only one guy got hit by lightning,” Weird says.

“We got to meet him. He was, as we say, a little thunderstruck. But he was fine. It didn’t fry him,” Weir says. “I just wanted to see the look in his eyes.”

SIGHTINGS

Floyd Mayweather turned 36 on Sunday, taking his birthday party first to N9NE Steakhouse, then to Body English nightclub, enriched by a magnum of Cristal plus mixed drinks for his entourage of 20.

Doug Elfman’s column appears Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. He also writes for Neon on Fridays. Email him at delfman@reviewjournal.com. He blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman.