Image source: Floyd Mayweather Instagram (@floydmayweather)
White has wanted to re-enter the sport of boxing under a Zuffa Boxing brand and had planned to launch the Zuffa Boxing brand by October 2019. However, White never announced anything in October and there may be a reason for that.
White caught up with Kevin Iole from Yahoo! Sports recently and gave an update on the state of the Zuffa Boxing brand and the UFC President’s progress in the venture. White didn’t seem confident that venture would come to fruition anymore.
“I hate speaking negatively about the sport of boxing, other than the fact that it’s a mess, we all know it’s a mess and that it needs to be fixed, if it can be fixed. I told you guys that I would have a press conference last October and announce all these things, but as I dove into this thing and started to look into the sport of boxing, the economics of boxing, that sport’s a mess. It’s a mess and it’s in big trouble. I don’t know. I don’t know if it can be fixed.”
It’s well documented that the boxers at the top of their sport make much higher revenue percentages than MMA fighters at the top of their sports respectively. This is the main reason why MMA fighters are often pursing fights with top boxers and why the Mayweather McGregor fight happened with Floyd Mayweather reportedly being paid three times more money than McGregor.
This could be one of the reasons that White is struggling to make his mark on the sport of boxing. White and Zuffa Boxing would need to sign some big-name fighters in order to create an immediate impact in the sport but they may need to give up more revenue than they were originally anticipating.
Competition within the sport of boxing is much higher than MMA with several big-name promoters across the world including Top Rank, Matchroom Boxing and Premier Boxing Champions all holding contracts with some of the sports best fighters.
One advantage that White would have going into the sport of boxing is the UFC brand name. However, this is something that White is reluctant to lean on. Iole asked White on the possibility of holding Bellator style events where a cage and ring are both setup and several combat sports are held at the same event. However, White believes the idea doesn’t work for several reasons such as different audiences for different sports and taking away the opportunity for undercard fighters to be discovered by this audience.
“I think that’s ridiculous. Maybe it appeals to some people but I have this box that I’m in and the way that I think fights should be done, how they should look, how this stuff should go and I’m very stuck and set in my ways on how I believe it should be done. An octagon and a ring is silly to me, a concert at a fight is silly to me.
I believe that when you put on a UFC event or a boxing event, all the focus and attention should be on that one event,” White said. “You start with the main event and then it trickles down into the card. There are some great fights that are lined up like, if you don’t know now you know. There’s a couple of fights in there that people might not actually know about that you focus on. And the same thing for a boxing match. When you go to an event, any event, you have to be focused on what’s happening on that card and excited about it, you can’t mix and mash all those things together. It just doesn’t work, in my opinion. Maybe somebody else could pull that off but it just doesn’t work for me.
The other thing is you bring out a certain group of fans for each thing too. There was a different group of people at Fury vs. Wilder than would be at Khabib vs. Tony or Conor vs. Khabib or Rage Against the Machine. You’re going to bring out different groups of people for different events. Like when we do pay-per-views it’s not all the same buyers. For different fights, it’s different buyers. You have that general group, the hardcore fans that are going to buy almost everything, and then different types of fights bring in different types of people.”
Although he hasn’t officially confirmed anything at this point, the interview does suggest that White may be done with the sport.