Zuffa Boxing? Will UFC dabble in the Sweet Science?Written by Joseph Herron
The latest rumor has it that Dana White and the brass at UFC are seriously considering putting their proverbial hat in the ring...quite literally next year.
The 48 year old UFC President recently did more than merely make implications regarding the UFC's involvement with prizefighters of the squared circle while chatting with renowned sports commentator Jim Rome.
"I just know how good we are at what we do, and I know we’re better than pretty much everybody else out there,” stated Dana White.
“I think that the guys who are involved in boxing, the fighters, would enjoy being under this umbrella and fighting for us, and yeah, I do think we could do it better than everybody else does. So what the hell, why not give it a shot?”
“We’re the best. We’re the best at what we do. We think about the future...I think we do our events better than they do, our production is better than the production that’s out there. I think everything in this business that you could possibly do, we do better, and we have health insurance for our fighters.”
Obviously the apparent pro-boxing sentiment stems from two relevant facts: 1) the huge money making endeavor that was Mayweather vs. McGregor on August 26, and 2) UFC PPV sales have taken a noticeable dip throughout the 2017 calendar year.
Although the UFC business model has yielded incredible results for the MMA organization, Dana and company might want to rethink things before trying their hand at boxing in America.
The UFC's success has been seemingly contingent on promoting their brand and not individual fighters. Of course there have been anomalies throughout their two decades of business, like Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey, but for the most part, fans of the MMA organization purchase PPV events titled "UFC #126" and not "Mayweather vs. Pacquiao".
Under the current business model, the promoter controls everything and can underpay any of their athletes, reaping the great majority of the profits generated from the live gate and PPV sales. Because the UFC brand is what is predominantly being sold to the consumer...the individual athlete is ultimately exploited...even when you're a company cash cow like Conor McGregor.
For example, the popular Irish fighter was guaranteed $30 million for his efforts in the squared circle opposite Floyd Mayweather Jr. on August 26. His second highest payday to date set a UFC record, but was a mere $3 million guarantee in comparison for his involvement in UFC #202.
Unlike promoters in boxing, the UFC doesn't have to disclose proceeds from PPV purchases, nor do they have to be transparent about monies generated from live gates or sponsorship deals. Because there is no recognized covenant which protects the athletes who compete in MMA events, like the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act of 2000, and because the UFC is close to being a monopoly within the business of MMA combat sports, the fighters of the UFC are forced to take what the UFC chooses to give them.
With no choice but to provide complete transparency to all competing boxers, and with lots of healthy competition from other world class promoters like Top Rank Inc, Golden Boy Promotions, and Matchroom Sports, don't look for the UFC to have instant success within the realm of boxing throughout 2018 or any other year.
Good luck, Dana...you're going to need it if you try your hand in promoting the Sweet Science within American sports market.