On the same podcast that Dana White said that the future of the UFC’s broadcast rights could be on a digital platform, the President of the UFC also said that one day boxing could be under the umbrella of the UFC.
Rumors first began that Dana White was going to expand into boxing last summer. While promoting Mayweather-McGregor, White wore a shirt that said “Zuffa Boxing.” White said that he has no plans to leave the UFC because it is his passion. He also says that he is still under contract and can’t leave per the rules in the contract for WME-IMG acquiring the UFC.
Dana White is a former amateur boxer, boxing trainer, and boxing fan. When he partnered with the Fertitta brothers to take over the UFC and push it to its $4 billion sale he thought he could make a fight promotion company that avoided the mistakes boxing did. He has already begun to obtain a promoter’s license.
Some believe that this is a sign that White and the UFC think that the market is softening on MMA and it is time to expand into something that is going to be more lucrative. I view the expansion into boxing as a way to promote fighters in forms of martial arts they have mastered and also into new revenue streams. While MMA may be a more long-term mainstream sport, the UFC could also expand into niches like boxing or muay thai. Mayweather-McGregor has shown that there is a strong desire for cross-over competition if the personalities are right. In a way, the UFC could really be moving back to its roots of matching wrestlers with kung fu masters.
The UFC is expanding into its first fight in mainland China at the end of this month, is looking for a big increase in revenue for their next broadcast rights, and are getting more international sponsors than they have before. What the UFC is today could be a fraction of what it is in the next 10 years.