The UFC is a great young sport in the United States that is growing at a rate that has impressed many. Their ability to capture the media's attention, and the timing at which they have mastered the news cycle have all contributed to the exponential growth in popularity of something maligned by many when it initially debuted. The brand and image has shifted and become connected to the stars, and they have used their personalities as growth opportunities for the brand.
That is all because of Dana White, apparently, due to the sport's status and reputation when he goes away to do something else for a bit.
Colin Cowherd has never seen a sport so heavily dependent on one person to function properly. He explained all of this in the audio below: