In recent weeks, UFC president Dana White has said that the promotion may begin promoting boxing matches as early as 2018.
The comments came after White saw how the boxing world handled the fight between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor and it gave him the inspiration to potentially explore the option to get the UFC involved in the sport as well.
Of course, White’s comments immediately drew ire from the boxing community — most notably from promoter Bob Arum, who said the UFC getting involved in the sport was a desperate move thanks to mixed martial arts turning into a failing business.
White vehemently disagrees.
“F–k him. F–k that guy. This is the same guy who said this same s–t 15 years ago about me and the Fertittas,” White told Jim Rome recently. “He said they’re losing oodles and oodles of money and this business was a joke, it was going to go under, nobody will ever be into a sport like this and here we are today.
As far as the UFC getting involved in boxing, White certainly sounds serious about pursuing the idea because he believes the sport is falling woefully behind in a number of areas where mixed martial arts has taken off in recent years.
Probably the most notable shortcoming with boxing has been a presence online with events being made available for streaming rather than just the traditional pay-per-view model on TV. The fight between Mayweather and McGregor was the first time Showtime ever ventured into online streaming for one of its fights where as the UFC has been streaming pay-per-views for several years.
Add to that, White sees a lot of other benefits that boxers would gain by fighting for the UFC on the first day they arrive with the promotion.
“We’re the best at what we do,” White said. “We look at the future. If you look at this facility that we’re in right now [the UFC performance institute], state of the art facility with every piece of equipment you can think about as far as recovery, getting stronger, we have a restaurant here that they eat in everyday for free, costs nothing for the fighters to come here and do all this stuff. Plus we have a physical therapy center here where all the fighters can come in and get physical therapy for free.
“On top, 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 can possibly do, we do better. And we have health insurance for our fighters.”
White says he’s ‘100-percent’ confident that boxers would benefit more from working with the UFC than being promoted by people like Arum or even Oscar De La Hoya under his Golden Boy brand.
It’s all sounding like White is dead serious about getting into boxing as early as next year.
“I just know how good we are at what we do,” White said. “I know we’re better than pretty much everybody else out there. I think that the guys who are involved with boxing, the fighters, would enjoy being under this umbrella and fighting for us. Yeah, I do think we could do it better than everybody else does.
“So what the hell, why not give it a shot?”