Fight fans already knew that Mark Wahlberg is a big UFC fan who can often be seen cage-side, and that he’s joining former champion Ronda Rousey in the upcoming "Mile 22" film. It turns out that the "Daddy’s Home" star and UFC president Dana White’s friendship goes back decades.
After fleeing Boston-area organized crime reprisal in the mid-’90s and heading West, White was introduced to Wahlberg, briefly coached him in boxing and roomed with him. Both men were on the precipice of huge career surges when they met.
"Right when I went back, I probably moved in with Wahlberg in ’96 or ’97 in L.A.," White recently told Boston Magazine.
"He had just got done filming ‘Boogie Nights’ and I was literally with him through all the ‘Boogie Nights’ shoot. I saw ‘Boogie Nights’ more times before the movie came out than any other movie I had ever seen."
According to the executive, Wahlberg was a solid dude and as good of an athlete as he would seem to be. "I lived with Wahlberg for probably five months," he continued.
"He was a great roommate. I had a blast."
Wahlberg and White have moved on to bigger digs than what they shared 20 years ago, of course. The movie star, in particular, has a home fitting of his athletic ability, according to White.
"Wahlberg is a good athlete," White revealed.
"The house that we lived in when I was with him was a house that he rented. Now he’s got this house, he’s got like a real Celtics basketball court in his backyard. He’s got a whole boxing gym. It’s pretty cool."