By Bryanna Fissori
Earlier this week UFC President Dana White opened up about some of his plans for Zuffa Boxing.
It is no secret that White is planning on stepping into the world of boxing under the umbrella of UFC parent company WME-IMG, which is also home to the Zuffa brand. Speculation about the transition to boxing has been floating around since this summer when White first appeared in interviews wearing a “Zuffa Boxing” t-shirt, produced by Reebok.
White has confirmed that he will be promoting boxing and maintained an air of confidence as he spoke at the media luncheon hosted at the UFC Headquarters in Las Vegas.
UFC Fighters Crossing Over to Boxing
One of the questions that has been on the minds of fans and fighters is whether or not the UFC and Zuffa Boxing athlete roster will be interchangeable. There are a number of current UFC fighters who have boxing experience and have vocalized interest in putting on the big gloves.
When asked if he would be pulling from the UFC list of athletes, White replied, “No. I’m not thinking about that. I’m not saying it could never happen, but that’s not what I’m looking to do.” He also specified that UFC Champion Conor McGregor, who made his boxing debut against Floyd Mayweather Jr this summer, was included in that statement.
New Stars In Boxing
Making it clear that he would not be bringing over UFC fighters leaves the question on who will be appearing in the Zuffa Boxing ring.
White was questioned about the fact that when the UFC was purchased there were stars already in place. “Back then there weren’t big stars,” asserts White. “And in boxing right now who are the big stars? The huge stars? Most people don’t even know half these guys. Then you’ve got guys who are fighting for $10k for title fights and stuff like that. When people talk about, ‘oh boxing, and the money’ you’re talking about a handful of guys. And then there’s a whole roster full of guys who make nothing. None of them are stars.”
“You’ve got to start small and work your way up and build stars. I think we do a really good job at it and I think we can do it in boxing.”
Emphasis on Card Depth
White was asked if cards would be similar to the UFC format and he confirmed that they would and emphasized that having quality fights throughout the whole card is important.
Referring to the UFC 218 Card “There are fights all the way down on the UFC Fight Pass prelims (first few fights) that you want to see. You never get that in boxing.”
“Seats are empty until the main event starts,” asserts White, who also told reporters that he was guilty of that as well. The only fight he watched on the Mayweather v McGregor card was the main event.
What’s Next for Zuffa Boxing?
White asserts that he will be taking a whole month at the beginning of the year, to meet with various people in the boxing industry and figure out his plan. He also stated that he has a plan A and a plan B. He just has to figure out which to go with. 2018 may prove to be an interesting year for boxing.