Dana White Will Enter Boxing

Well the cat is unofficially out of the bag, and the questions that began to swirl around Dana White when Conor McGregor fought Floyd Mayweather are starting to be answered.

Its still early. Were still working on it. Ive got to get my together, but Im getting into boxing, man. Its coming, White said at an event in LA this week. “The history of boxing we all know boxing is broken. The question is, how do you fix boxing?

White revealed his next power move into boxing, and that he will be bringing the WME/IMG engine that now powers the UFC with him. 

According to multiple news outlets, White stated that hes getting into boxing, 100%, and is in the process of attaining his promoters license.

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Later, he explained that the venture will be connected to his baby, the UFC, but did not identify which MMA fighters would switch-hit or what he is calling the organization. A flashback to the infamous Zuffa Boxing t-shirts he wore during the May-Mac promo tour should provide some insight. It also could allude to a potential new collaboration with the casino magnate Fertitta brothers who he had a great working relationship with when their former company Zuffa (Italian for “fight”) owned the UFC. 

The unlimited potential exposed by the Mayweather vs. McGregor matchup for limitless financial gains is certainly the impetus for the pending newfound venture. And it is a certainty that White’s phone rung off the hook after McGregor instantly tripled his income. In fact, one can almost see this as a counterpoint of why White doesn’t need to fix the skewed pay scale in MMA. 

If MMA fighters can use social media to drum up the same level of global interest that May-Mac did, then he can dangle a boxing career as a carrot to big riches across two playing fields that he controls. Brilliant to say the least.

If you think about all the people involved in boxing, not a lot of people make a whole lot of money, White said. Theres a handful of guys making all the money and the rest make nothing. If you think about the billions of dollars boxing has brought in, at the end of the day, whats there? Nothing. Because theres no brand. Theres a bunch of cowboys.

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UFC president Dana White plans to begin promoting boxing as well. https://t.co/LqCnan6jrQ

With Al Haymon consolidating his “consultancy” business into the Premier Boxing Champions brand, it was boxing’s first real attempt at the creation of unity among the ranks. However, with other top promoters out there like Golden Boy Promotions, Mayweather Promotions, K2 Promotions and Top Rank all vying for the top spot, the unity and control is splintered in the land of pugilism.  

Nobody tries to invest,” said White. “You think these guys in the boxing business are investing back in the sport? No, theyre not. Most of these boxing promoters are middlemen. They dont risk their own capital, their own money. They get money from HBO or ESPN or Showtime, or in conjunction with these guys on pay-per-view. They dont even assume the risk on pay-per-view.

Boxing, unlike MMA, is a disparate land of sanctioning bodies, politics and a climate that is difficult to make a fight in. Due to the shenanigans of promoters like Don King, the federal Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act provides protections for boxers to evade the control the UFC wields as both a promoter and matchmaker. Currently, many feel that the UFC is in violation of these laws, if even in part, due to the controlling nature of the organization.

However, White is the face of the biggest sports sale in history when he and former UFC chairman Lorenzo Fertitta turned a $2 million investment in 2001 into an global behemoth that sold for $4.025 billion to Beverly Hills talent agency WME/IMG last year. With new celebrity owners like Jimmy Kimmel and Tom Brady, White is a proven winner in combat sports. 

We assume 100% of the risk on pay-per-view, and weve built a company. Weve built a brand, White said. When the UFCs on, you know what youre going to get. We stack cards, we build stars, because we want everyone on the card to get some love. You want people to be excited about the entire card.

You go to a boxing card, everyone shows up 10 minutes before the main fight you go to a UFC event, that place is packed from the start and Im in the Holy … business. I need you to jump out of your seat three or four times and yell, Holy . Boxing, now the entire sport and the entire event rides on that one [main-event] fight, and if that fight sucks, I just stayed home on a Saturday night, blew some money and Im not happy when Im turning my TV off.

White expounded that the main event mentality focus in boxing is what is contributing to its lack of true exponential growth. Most fights barely put on a great co-main event and there is no focus on the entire fight card. 

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My job is to make sure every time you turn your TV off, you feel like you got your moneys worth. I cant guarantee [a single fight] is going to be the best youve ever seen. Thats why you have to stack the card and [ensure] everyone on that card makes money. We spread the money around.

White is certainly staying in the picture with boxing and with McGregor launching the possibility of this endeavor and demanding a bigger piece of the UFC pie, it just might be White’s intention to diversify and hedge his bets for longevity and the reinvention of his athletic pay structure across the board.

If I do my job and the kid does his job, this should work,” said White. “It doesnt work every time, but it works a lot of times.

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