Great thread. I think the best (if highly imperfect) analogy would be between David Stern of the NBA and Dana White of the UFC:
1. both "commissioners" took over their respective sports when they were near the brink of going under. When Stern took over in '84, NBA attendance was abysmal, and it's players had a reputation for lack of effort, drug abuse, among other negative association. Likewise, when Dana White took over, it was perceived as a farce, akin to human cockfighting and legislators were trying to ban this "sport" altogether.
Now, the NBA breaks attendance records ANNUALLY, and it's players are the best paid and compensated in the world. Dana White's achievemenst are just as notable, since PPV revenue has exceeded those for boxing and professional wrestling.
2. both "commissioners" have revived the images of their respective sports. Nothing needs to be said of the NBA, where Michael Jordan is considered the greatest athlete of all time. In the UFC, championship holders are now incrasingly welcomed in mainstream circles; Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz are two notable figures.
3. Both White and Stern are intelligent enough to market their sports overseas with incredible zeal. Even though the promotion of Bisping has been a little silly, the sport's huge popularity in the UK is due to Dana White's foresight. Stern's international emphasis is almost comical in zeal, as he truly believes the future of the game is in international expansion and development.
I have a TON of respect for Dana White. Say what you will, he is easily the most intelligent and influential of the major figures in combat sports: MMA, boxing, pro wrestling. So, there you have it: Dana White is the David Stern of combat sports. And that's a good thing.