Multi Division Boxing Champion Amanda Serrano to Return to MMA
By: Michael Kane
Amanda ‘The Real Deal’ Serrano, the six division world boxing champion is to return to MMA, taking on Mexico’s Erendina Ordonez.
The fight will be in the Comabate Americas women’s flyweight division on October 13th.
Photo Credit: Amanda Serrano Twitter Account
The 29 year old Puerto Rican, Serrano, makes her rerurn to MMA after an unanimous decision win over Yamila Esther Reyonso of Argentina for the WBO Junior Welterweight World Championship. The bout took place at the Barclays Centre in Brooklyn on September 8th.
With her win, Serrano joined an elite group to have claimed six world titles at six different weights, joining Oscar De La Hoya and Manny Pacquiao.
With one MMA fight to her name, so far, Serrano will be hoping to go one better than her debut bout. On April 13th, Serrano faced Corina Herrera at ‘Combate Estrellas ‘ in LA, the bout finishing in a draw.
Serrano’s opponent this time out, Ordonez, is a three time San Shou style kickboxing gold medallist.
Combate Americas CEO Campbell McLaren said in a press release, ” It is an honour to have the world’s greatest women’s boxer in history, who is on par with De La Hota and Pacquiao, back in La Jaula (Combate Americas cage) for Combate Americas.”
DAZN Builds Up Their Content with an Eye Towards the Future
By: William Holmes
DAZN is hoping to be a big disruptor in the traditional boxing viewing model for fans and have already signed a major fight to give their customers.
The Heavyweight division, prior to the arrival of Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao, has long been considered boxing’s glamour division. One of DAZN’s biggest investments was to lock up the current heavyweight kingpin, Anthony Joshua.
With Floyd Mayweather retired and Manny Pacquiao near 40, the welterweight division’s time at the top of boxing’s money divisions appears to be coming to a close. Anthony Joshua has been selling a tremendous number of tickets when he fights. The first fight for Joshua under the DAZN service will be a good test when he meets Alexander Povetkin.
But their foray into the heavyweight division is not the only thing that DAZN has in mind.
Former ESPN President John Skipper is the new chairman of DAZN, and the company’s stated goal is to be eventually known as the Netflix of Sports. They have Over the Top (OTT) streaming rights to major sporting events in international markets such as Germany, Austria, Canada, and Japan to leagues such as the NFL, NHL, MLB, UEFA Champions League, and Serie A.
OTT streaming won’t have commercials, and won’t rely on advertisements to turn a profit like traditional broadcast media.
Marcus Parnwell, director of product at DAZN, recently told Quartz “We’ve seen Netflix build a model without advertising based on the subscription… Sport has more natural breaks in play, especially US Sports are built for advertising. We’re trying to do a different model and a different thing.”
Their acquisition of OTT rights for some valuable sport franchises will likely take some time to turn into a profitable venture. However, the American consumer has increasingly made the decision to ‘cut the chord’ which has lessened the reach of traditional broadcast outlets. Streaming options, such as Netflix, Hulu, and even the ‘niche’ market of the WWE network have been fairly successful.
It’s only logical for a streaming service dedicated to sports to eventually enter that market. Enter DAZN.
They don’t have the OTT rights to any of the major American sport leagues in the United States yet, but they have already made some inroads into combat sports in the United States and early on their focus will be on that.
Their deal with Matchroom Boxing USA is for $1billion for eight years with 16 events in the US and 16 events in the UK per year. Their deal with Bellator is for 22 events, 7 exclusive to DAZN in addition to their welterweight tournament. They also have a deal for Combate Americas for 13 events a year. They also have a deal with World Boxing Super Series for 15 events and 21 tournament bouts.
The goal appears to put on PPV style events in both boxing and MMA for a lower monthly subscription price.
They already have some attractive fights lined up for fans, including:
9-22: Anthony Joshua vs. Alexander Povetkin (Boxing)
9-29: Mousasi vs. Mcdonald (Bellator)
10-6: Jessie Vargas vs. Thomas Dulorme, Artur Beterbiev vs. Callum Johnson (Boxing)
10-7:Inoue vs. Payano (Boxing)
10-12: Mitrione vs. Bader (Bellator)
10-13: Fedor vs. Sonnen (Bellator)
10-20: Billy Joe Saunders vs. Demetrius Andrade, Katie Taylor vs. Cindy Serrano (Boxing)
Streaming will also allow DAZN to do some things that cable networks can’t. Traditional boxing broadcast outlets like HBO and Showtime only show 2-4 fights per card, while DAZN show the entire card, including the opening fights that often feature prospects and local fighters.
It’s alleged that Brian Kenny, Michael Buffer, Sugar Ray Leonard will help lend a veteran presence to their boxing broadcasts.
In addition to live fights, DAZN is also looking into shoulder programming for these events. Scott Woodgat, the director of programming at DAZN, recently told awfulannouncing.com “OTT and DAZN are all about live. The content strategy here differs a little bit from the other regions, because there’s gaps between events in fight sports, and we need to fill those gaps with various shoulder programming, which we’re looking into.”
DAZN has made investment at a base production facility at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and hired producers, writers, and staff to create original content. They also have a library of past fights uploaded in both boxing and MMA.
Subscribers to DAZN will have other viewing options besides live events.
The future of DAZN is also intriguing.
Saturday’s PPV fight between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin appears to be the last fight that both boxers have under their current contract with HBO.
Manny Pacquiao, though older, is also a free agent and eager to fight.
The addition of any of those three, or all three, would make DAZN a very attractive option for fight fans, both the casual and hardcore ones.
DAZN currently has Boxing, MMA, Soccer, Cycling, and Cricket as sport offerings in the American market. If they are successful, it wouldn’t be out of the question to see them make a run at the OTT rights for one of the big four professional sport leagues (NFL,NBA,NHL, and MLB) one day.
But as of today, DAZN is making its mark felt in the combat sports world.
How Many Older Boxing Fans Have Switched to MMA-UFC?
By: Ken Hissner
At age 74 this writer has been a boxing fan since at age 8 watching the rematch between then World Heavyweight Champion Rocky Marciano and the former champion “Jersey” Joe Walcott on TV with my dad.
I’ve watched many changes especially in boxing. The then great trainers didn’t always pass down their knowledge possibly in fear of losing a fighter they trained. Trainers are in a position where “they do not have a contract with a boxer” as the manager does so there is little protection. You lose a fight today and the boxer changes trainers as if it were the fault of the trainer and not the boxers.
At an early age I loved watching professional wrestling. Several of my favorites were Argentina Rocca and Haystacks Calhoun. With age I realized the results in wrestling was known prior to the match. I was told by one who was involved in wrestling a “blood capsule” was placed in the mouth of a wrestler and when “hit” the blood from the capsule looked like real blood coming out. Granted, they had to be in good enough condition to take the tumbles and falls they did.
In time I grew out of watching wrestling though once watching high school wrestling at state championships in Pennsylvania with three events going on at once I knew that at that level let alone college it was really a tough sport. That is probably where some of the better MMA-UFC fighters have an advantage today.
We now live in a “blood thirsty” society that the more violence the better for the say 20 to 50 crowd enjoy the more blood and violence the better! I don’t even want to get into the NFL’s violence. Do they test for steroids?
So as more American men today rather choose playing a team sport where they can make plenty of money without having to take all the “blame” whereas unless it’s a last play failing the team takes the blame for the loss not the individual as in boxing it’s “safer!” Today in boxing you have some of the best P4P boxers coming from Eastern Europe where they come to the United States “hungry” like the Americans did say in the 50’s and 60’s they have great success. The Ukraine’s Vasyl “Hi-Tech” Lomachenko and Kazakhstan’s Gennady “GGG” Golovkin are great examples of that today.
So along comes MMA-UFC and I can’t believe how the fan’s go crazy for the violence as they do for American football where the injuries are horrific. A quarterback literally takes his life into his hands waiting to be crushed by a 250 pound “monster” hitting him from the-blindside! I couldn’t believe it when while serving in the Army in the mid 60’s when NY Jet quarterback Joe Namath claimed he couldn’t go in because of “bad knees!” Bad knees? How dangerous would it have been getting inducted and probably leading recruits into calisthenics? You think the greats like Joe “The Brown Bomber” and “Sugar” Ray Robinson were put into combat while serving during World War II?
The Gracie family has brought their development of Brazilian jiu-jitsu into Mixed Martial Arts and made their mark! From this writers point of view I see two guys wrestling to the ground as in a street fight with one on top of the other smashing his face into submission and think “such brutality”. There are skills I don’t watch long enough to pick up on. At least in boxing it is against the rules of “hitting below the belt”.
Now there seems to be a resurgence coming in Bare Knuckle Boxing. Top unbeaten BKB fighter Bobby Gunn once told me “it’s not as brutal as boxing” because one punch usually can end it much sooner than taking a beating over ten rounds with boxing gloves on.
To make long story by now not so short for someone over 60 getting the thrill watching MMA-UFC as one would seeing for example the first Marciano-Walcott fight when the challenger was well behind going into the thirteenth round and pulls out by way of knockout is second to none!
Floyd Mayweather vs. Himself: The Octagon Theory
By: James Risoli
What makes a person who they are? What propels and motivates us to do the things we do? More specifically, why do fighters have such a hard time in the twilight of their careers with hanging up their gloves, unable to walk off into the sunset, after such an arduous journey which often times consists of unforgiving years of blood, sweat, and tears?
If one was to look up the word fighter in the dictionary the definition is one that any person that ever lived would know does not encapsulate it’s real world meaning. A fighter by any sense of the word is someone who challenges themselves. Who goes beyond their normal limits to achieve success in whatever endeavor they are trying to complete. A fighter may not always seek out but will always stand up to challenges and tribulations put forth or laid out before them. All fighters, especially those in the fight game, need to be able to know that the person staring back at them is the same person they believe themselves to be in their heart of hearts.
For those of us that do not know Floyd Mayweather, the man has been a fighter in every sense of the word way before any serious consideration was given to it becoming his profession. Born on February 24th 1977 in Grand Rapids Michigan and then moving at a very early age to the Hiram Square neighborhood of New Brunswick, New Jersey. Mayweather learned about the sometime all too familiar hardships of life at an early age in dealing with poverty and drugs, including a drug addicted mother. Mayweather would later say, “When I was about eight or nine, I lived in New Jersey with my mother and we were seven deep in one bedroom and sometimes we didn’t have electricity. When people see what I have now, they have no idea of where I came from and how I didn’t have anything growing up.” Mayweather’s story however, is one of a more personal nature and perhaps one that would be better told by himself than this author. However, it is important to mention because it bears significance to the “term” fighter. His story could possibly bare some insight into some of his current state of affairs and those future decisions and or plans that may be taking shape or unfolding in his mind’s eye.
By most accounts and for all intents and purposes, Floyd Mayweather has achieved everything there is to achieve in boxing. In a career that spanned two decades Mayweather has done what only one other person could, that being Rocky Marciano. 50 times Floyd Mayweather entered the ring and 50 times Floyd Mayweather’s hand was raised in victory. During his career, he has held multiple world titles in five weight classes and the lineal championship in four of those. In 2016, Mayweather was ranked as the best pound for pound fighter in the past 25 years by ESPN. He is one of the most marketable pay per view fighters of all time, as well as, one of the highest paid athletes in the world. So, the real news and noteworthy question of the day is, why after all this is Mayweather talking about the UFC and walking in the octagon?
Many people have been asking this particular question. Most people think the idea is outrageous, if not borderline crazy, or an actual joke. A statement muttered in jest. However, I for one do not believe that to be the case. Although not the norm, it is not completely uncommon for fighters to attempt a chance at crossing over from discipline to discipline. All one would have to do is just look to Floyd’s most recent and last opponent, Conor McGregor, who tried to accomplish this exact same feat. So, once again, why then is Mayweather entertaining this idea? Why after all the victories and all the achievements is it possible that this is in all actuality a real plausible possibility? Simple, because for the fighters we love and adore, those that bleed and train for the fans to see, cheer, and adore the answer is quite simple. All one would have to look at is the meaning of the word fighter.
Boxing vs. MMA, Why Crossover Fights Rarely Go Well
By: Jose Cuevas
We were treated to the first MMA versus Boxing superfight in Conor McGregor versus Floyd Mayweather back in August of 2017. Many experts argued the fight was a blatant cash grab, a farce, and even a circus.
The fight illustrates the challenge that comes along with making a fight between a Mixed Martial Artist and a Boxer. They are cousins of one another, but they are two completely different disciplines.
One may think an elite Mixed Martial Artist should, key word should, be able to hang in the ring with an elite boxer. That proposition is absurd, mainly due to the fact that Boxers must account for only using their fists in combat. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that one form of combat is more than the other. Boxers must master controlling the distance between themselves and their opponent, use of their footwork to properly leverage all of their punches, learn to counter effectively while slipping or catching punches, etc… While mixed martial artists must try and master as many disciplines as possible.
How many times in the cage have we seen individuals proficient in wrestling or judo dominate strikers in the cage? Mixed Martial artists, to their credit, have the difficult task of being prepared for every scenario, they need to be good strikers, kickboxers, wrestlers, and submission specialists. This is why Conor McGregor lost against Floyd Mayweather. Floyd had decades of experience mastering footwork, mastering counterpunching, and mastering the sport of boxing…while Conor was proficient at best but not a master at the highest level.
Think about multitasking…MMA is the perfect form of multitasking when it comes to combat sports. While an MMA fighter is on his feet he’s thinking about what punches to land, possible takedown attempts, kicks, flying armbars, etc…the brainpower and strategy that is required to be aware of so many different variables is remarkable. Boxing exists in a controlled environment where fighters have to only worry about punches, but in only worrying about punches they use the rest of their body to maximize their punches which makes the sport unique and difficult to master at the highest level.
Imagine placing the Chess world champion in a match of Chinese checkers against the world champion, it may not make for a competitive match as the Chess expert has had years of experience mastering his/her craft in their controlled environment, while the Chinese checkers expert has done the same in their own respective controlled environment. Therein lies the key…the sports are executed in their own specific controlled environment. This isn’t the Matrix where you can plug into a program and just learn it, it takes time and lots of it.
I was recently covered Bellator 194 where Heather “The Heat” Hardy fought Ana Julaton. Hardy easily won the bout by working as hard as possible to keep the fight on her feet. Hardy is a former undefeated boxer and world champion, she undoubtedly made her mark in boxing and now hopes to make her mark in MMA. However, in her previous fight she was thoroughly annihilated by a debuting mixed martial artist.
Kristina Williams outclassed Hardy with head kicks and leg kicks and busted her wide open. Hardy was not prepared for the onslaught as Williams was an expert with her kicks and could hold Hardy’s boxing skills at bay. The fight was stopped in the second round as Hardy was bleeding profusely and she could no longer defend herself. This is a perfect example of what happens when you drop a boxer in the realm of MMA with a well-rounded mixed martial artist, it’s a whole different ball game.
Rumors have been circulating that Floyd Mayweather will enter the Octagon. That is a disastrous idea as Floyd is a master of boxing, but not a master of fighting in the uncontrolled controlled environment of MMA. However, don’t be fooled, Mayweather is a meticulous matchmaker and he may enter the cage against an opponent with little to no cage experience like CM Punk, which would level the playing field significantly. However, if he is matched with a Mickey Gall, a debuting professional MMA fighter with a lot of experience….expect him to suffer the same fate as Heather Hardy.
MMA and Boxing are too different, it will require meticulous matchmaking to make a newcomer look good in either realm. Don’t let your eyes fool you they may be combat sports…but the controlled environment of either changes the dynamic completely. The sooner we realize that the sooner we learn to respect both sports and appreciate them for what they offer to the overall realm of combat sports. In realizing that MMA and Boxing are different we can stop this madness of MMA and Boxing crossovers as rarely will you get your money’s worth…you may be getting all the spectacle you desire, but that’s a topic for another article…
Bellator MMA Live Results: Heather Hardy Defeats Ana Julaton
By: William Holmes
Bellator MMA put on a live event at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut and featured a main event of former UFC fighters Matt Mitrione and Roy Nelson, with the winner to advance to the semi finals of the heavyweight Grand Prix.
For boxing fans however, the main event was between Heather Hardy and Ana Julaton. Hardy had a record of 20-0 as a pro boxer and Julaton had a record of 14-4-1 in boxing. However, they decided to meet first in a MMA cage.. Hardy held titles as a boxer in the featherweight and super bantamweight divisions while Julaton held titles in the super bantamweight division.
Both Julaton and Hardy are coming off of a loss in their last MMA fight.
Photo Credit: Bellator MMA Twitter Account
The opening bout of the broadcast was between featherweights Tywan Claxton (2-0) and Jose Perez (0-2). Claxton is considered by many to be a high ceiling prospect and he easily disposed of Perez by TKO at 3:39 of the second round.
Former b=Bellator champion Liam McGeary (13-2) returned to his winning ways with a third round TKO at 4:02 over Vadim Nemkov (8-3).
Ana Julaton (2-3) and Heather Hardy (1-1) met in the flyweight division and displayed that they have been training in all facets of mixed martial arts, including the grappling.
Julaton landed the first jab of the fight and Hardy answered with a leg kick before being placed in a body lock by Julaton. Julaton was able to land a few knees on Hardy when in tight, but Hardy had a decent whizzer placed in. Hardy finished the first round while attempting a side choke.
The second round started off with some brief exchanges, but Julaton’s punches appeared to lack any snap. Hardy and Julaton were clinched for much of the round again, but Julaton was able to attempt a can opener submission. Hardy landed several hard hammer fists on Julaton while she was attempting to finish a low single takedown. Hardy finished the second round by taking the back of Julaton and landing some ground and pound
Julaton looked like the more tired fighter in the third round and forced a body lock after taking two good punches by Hardy. Julaton attempted a spinning back kick when the referee broke them up but Hardy again landed more strikes when they were standing. The third round featured Julaton and Hardy locked in grappling positions, but Hardy was able to finish the round with a takedown attempt that resulted with Julaton finishing on top.
A MMA rules fight between two boxers turned into a mainly grappling affair.
Heather Hardy wins by decision with scores of 29-28, 30-27 and 30-27.
There has been talks of them re-matching in the boxing ring instead of a MMA cage and the fight was close enough for fans to want to see it.
Boxing Insider Interview with Heather Hardy
By: Bryant Romero
Undefeated pro boxer Heather “The Heat” Hardy makes her third appearance in the cage at Bellator 194 on February 16 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut where she takes former boxing world champion Ana Julaton in a mma flyweight bout. Boxing Insider was able to catch up with Heather to talk about her next fight in Bellator, her passion for fighting whether it’s boxing or mma, her job as a fitness instructor, and the challenges she’s had to endure while making the transition from boxing to mma.
Photo Credit: Heather Hardy Twitter Account
BR: Are you training at Gracie’s Academy right now?
Heather Hardy: “Right now I’m at Renzo Gracie in Manhattan during the majority of my training and I train at Gleason’s in Brooklyn.”
BR: How is training going so far for this fight that’s upcoming?
HH: “It’s going great. I’ve never heard a fighter a week out of a fight to say they haven’t had a good camp. I feel good.”
BR: This is your third fight with Bellator. Obviously the money was the motivating factor for you to transition from boxing to mma. What’s been the hardest transition from one sport to the other?
HH: “Probably being able to allocate the proper amount of time for training, because I’m still taking care of my daughter, still working two jobs. I mean I’m still trying to do press and I’m doing it on 6th avenue running. Allocating the proper amount of time that’s needed to train all the different disciplines have been extremely challenging.”
BR: When it comes to the competition between boxing and the two girls that you fought in Bellator, when it comes to the striking ability, do you have respect for their striking ability, is it different?
HH: “First of all in mma they’re using 4oz gloves, so even if these girls aren’t as accurate with their punching. They’re punching with bad intentions with very little padding, so I don’t respect a punch anymore or any less regardless of who’s throwing it at me.”
BR: Besides the money factor, are you trying to accomplish something in the sport?
HH: “I just want to win some fights, get known, and maybe open up doors for bigger fights in New York City for other women.”
BR: Did you have to get your promoter’s blessing to make this transition? Did you have to go through a legal process with Lou Dibella?
HH: “Lou is like a dad to me and when I called him and asked him, you know he’s the last one that’s going to take food off my plate. And he pretty much said if this is what you really want to do. Then I’m going to let you do it.
But he didn’t have to do that. I was legally bound only to Lou. Where I’m not supposed to be competing in anything else, I couldn’t have done this without his blessing, so I’m really fortunate that I got it.”
BR: Obviously you still love boxing, you did it with not a great financial reward in return, but can you honestly say to yourself that you’re in love with mma?
HH: “I’m in love with fighting. I love to fight, I’m good at fighting. Even when I’m not good at it, I’m still better than most people would ever dreamed to be. Whether it’s mma, boxing, sword fighting, or thumb wrestling, I’m all in it.”
BR: Do you still feel you have some unfinished business in boxing?
HH: “I didn’t go anywhere, I’m boxing I think in April.”
BR: Do you see a big fight in women’s boxing with you? Maybe with one of the Serrano sisters or maybe the Top Rank Prospect Mikaela Mayer that’s coming up?
HH: “The conversation with me and Amanda (Serrano) comes up all the time. We are under the same promotional banner and we’re such good friends. We said a long time ago, if we’re going to fight, it better be for a whole lotta money, so we can go on vacation. So will a fight with her ever happen? Sure if they pay us enough.”
BR: Can you talk to me talk to me a little bit about the state of women’s boxing? Is it heading in the right direction?
HH: “Women’s boxing is certainly on the rise right now. You got Clarissa Shields headlining cards on Showtime. That’s epic, it doesn’t happen and it’s really exciting, but the problem is I’m 36 years old and I don’t have time to hope it comes around faster sooner than later.
I’m still in it, I’m still going to fight and hopefully something big will materialize but you still got to have a backup plan.”
BR: Let’s talk about your next opponent. She’s also a former champion in boxing who has transitioned. Her name is Ana Julaton. Do you have any history with her; do you know anything about her?
HH: “When I started boxing, Ana was one of the big names, everybody knew her. She was really eloquent and a well-spoken world champion who spoke out for women’s rights and equality for women’s boxers. She transitioned to mma when I was in my first year of pro boxing like 2013; I only had 3 or 4 fights.”
BR: Would you say is tougher to get in the boxing ring and fight or is it a little tougher to get in the octagon with more weapons you have to utilize?
HH: “For me it’s tougher to go in the cage because boxing isn’t tough for me. I understand every aspect of boxing. I’m still learning too many things in mma to understand everything to the extent where it’s not intimidating.”
BR: Would you say your first two fights in mma was tougher than anything you had in boxing?
HH: “I would say there was more action physically.”
BR: Who’s the best fighter in the world P4P in men’s boxing?
HH: “Right now I would say either Terence Crawford who’s an exceptional fighter. Errol Spence has really proven himself to be a problem. Lomachenko, how can you not say his name? I say those 3 guys are probably will go a long time before they get beaten.”
BR: Whatever happens on February 16th will you continue with Bellator and has UFC expressed any interest?
HH: “I haven’t had any interest in UFC; it doesn’t matter if they express it. I’m really happy with Bellator. Regardless of what happens, I’m going to keep fighting. If I walked out of my last fight and came back into the cage, I really don’t think Ana has what it takes to give me a whooping worse than the last one.”
BR: I wanted to talk to you about the shadow box Fitness classes your teaching in Brooklyn, Manhattan. What can you tell us about that?
HH: “Well, there’s a lot of new fitness inspired boutique boxing gyms popping around the city, and shadow box had contacted me, and they wanted to do something a little different. They didn’t want to be trendy boxing; they really wanted their instructors to have a good grasp of what boxing is about.
So they hired me to teach their instructors and for the last couple months I’ve been giving the instructors boxing lessons, so they now know how to teach boxing. A couple of days a week I teach classes there, just to make a little extra cash. I like it, so I teach instructional classes there now too.”
BR: What can you say about the trainers there?
HH: “All of the trainers there are great.”
BR: My final question is what’s the one thing you still want to accomplish in boxing?
HH: “I want the WBC 126 world title.”
Roy Jones Jr.’s Final Bout Makes History on UFC Fight Pass
By Bryanna Fissori
A small bit of history has been made. Boxing legend Roy Jones Jr. has fought his last bout, and UFC Fight Pass has aired its first boxing card.
Island Fights 46 hosted the farewell match for Roy Jones Jr. (65-9) on February 8th against Scott Sigmon (30-11-1). At the age of 49, Jones has had quite a career. He still contends that he can keep up with the young boxers, but has opted to give them a break.
The Bout Goes the Distance
To the surprise of many, the bout lasted all ten rounds. Jones spent much of that time conversing with his cornermen, proving that this really was just another day at the office for this veteran of the ring.
Sigmon worked hard to close the distance and pressure Jones against the ropes. He was actually fairly successful in burying his head in the chest of Jones and throwing repeated strikes from the inside. The problem was one of quality versus quantity. Jones still landed clean shots from the inside, leaving Sigmon visibly worn down. Jones was much more successful than Sigmon at landing when there was any sort of space available.
At one point a commentator stated, “If Roy Jones could use his thumbs he would probably be texting during this fight.”
Jones won by unanimous decision.
UFC Fight Pass Format
As the inaugural card for boxing on UFC Fight Pass, there were several similarities to UFC organized productions. The “tale of the tape” was very similar to that of UFC or other MMA productions. This is when the two competitor’s statistics are compared side by side. The introduction of the fighters was also very similar to the presentation in a UFC main card.
UFC Fight Pass is a content streaming service that currently works with MMA organizations from around the world as well as kickboxing, Muay Thai and submission grappling. Plus subscribers have VOD access to over 16,000 historical fights from 37 promotions, documentaries and the UFC’s TV archive.
The UFC Fight Pass production crew does have some say in how the event is conducted, but the promotions are not required to mimic the UFC format.
UFC Fight Pass and Boxing
“This is the first live boxing on UFC FIGHT PASS. I love being the first to do something, so to be the first boxing event on UFC FIGHT PASS is cool. When I turned pro back in 1989, I said I wanted to bring new audiences boxing and that’s what I tried to do. By having my last night as a fighter on the UFC’s (streaming service) I’m bringing new eyeballs to boxing and I’m throwing a spotlight on the boxing and MMA fighters who are on the event,” said Jones.
“I’m been a fan of the UFC for years. Me and (UFC President) Dana White have been friends for a long time, since before he even got started with the UFC. We’ve talked about FIGHT PASS showing a fight (of mine) and it has come about perfectly.”
Another interesting mention was in round five when the commentators discussed this bout being the last for Jones. Apparently he is still interested in a potential superfight with UFC star Anderson Silva. They seem to believe it is a possibility.
This would not be the first MMA/Boxing crossover, though it would be an interesting one. The UFC intends to start their own boxing promotion under the name “Zuffa Boxing,” opening up more opportunities for boxing competitors and fans.
What are the Odds for Mayweather in MMA? Money Wants to Know
by Bryanna Fissori
Did anyone really think Floyd Mayweather Jr was going to fade softly into the sunset and live a quiet, normal life? For a man who lives for the spotlight, retirement is probably a little disconcerting.
The MMA Trash Talk
Whether you call the champ attention-seeking, narcissistic or genius, Mayweather certainly knows how to put the masses on notice. The back and forth banter between Mayweather and MMA fighter Conor McGregor began in the spring of 2017 and has yet to stop. This is over five month after they met in the ring, Mayweather winning by TKO in the 10th round.
Since the beginning there has been talk of Mayweather trying his hand (and maybe feet) in the cage. The boxer has been purposefully vague on the topic, eluding that he could go to MMA, but that essentially he can do anything he wants to. That doesn’t mean he is going to do it.
Mayweather Twitter Video
Earlier this week, Mayweather took the media a step further when he posted a short clip on Twitter of him walking into the cage at Syndicate, an MMA gym in Las Vegas, Nevada. Syndicate is home to a number of high-level fighters in the area, including several in the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship).
Following his first Tweet, Mayweather posted a second video showing him inside the cage. He looks at the camera and says just a few words;
“2018, Floyd Money Mayweather. MMA. What are the odds, Paddy? What are the odds?”
The video starts at the feet of Mayweather with a clear impression of the label “PADDYPOWER,” in white on his black shorts. PaddyPower.com is an online betting site.
Who is Paddy Power?
Can you think of a much simpler marketing tactic? A 14 second video clip, filmed on a smart phone is going viral with boxing’s biggest star front and center. May weather not only mentions “Paddy” in the segment, he is also wearing the logo. The only thing that could have put icing on the cake is maybe a #paddypower hashtag.
The betting site is traditionally Irish, which made it even more interesting when Mayweather showed up to weight ins for his bout against McGregor. When the boxing champ striped down, he was wearing a pair of green boxer briefs with “PADDYPOWER” across the front and tiny lettering all throughout, which read “always bet on black.”
The deal to get Mayweather into those briefs reportedly took a lot of patience and determination. Paddy Power representative were stood up in favor of yoga, kept waiting for hours starting around 2am at a strip club, followed by a fiasco of sewing machines to get the attire perfect to Mayweather’s liking.
Mayweather is reportedly heading to Minnesota to meet with Stephen Espinoza, Showtime executive. Espinoza told TMZ that an MMA fight would be a topic of conversation. “There’s a chance . . . whatever he puts his mind to, he sort of wills it into happening. [Floyd] willed the McGregor fight into happening. So, if he sets his mind to it, it’ll happen.”
There is no word yet on what Paddy Power had to do to get the Twitter video or if Mayweather is actually considering an MMA fight. Sure it will be a topic of conversation. It was great PR.
Is Mayweather really serious about MMA? Well, anyone want to bet on it?
Dana White Says Talks of a UFC Deal with Floyd Mayweather are Real; Mayweather Says He “Could” Do It
By Bryanna Fissori
What happens when you put to marketing geniuses in the same mass media headline? The crowd goes wild. And both Dana White (UFC President) and Floyd Mayweather Jr sure know how to work a crowd.
With the statement “Talks about a UFC deal with Floyd are real,” fans and fighters are left to fill in the blanks with assumptions and theories. The guessing game can be entertaining. Both White and Mayweather are known to choose their words carefully to promote the most amount of controversy possible.
“We’re talking to Floyd about doing a UFC deal,” White said in an interview with ESPN. “It’s real. He was talking about [boxing] Conor McGregor. Was that real? Have you heard Floyd talk about many things that aren’t real? He usually tips his hand when he’s in the media, and then that sh*t ends up happening. We’re interested in doing something with Floyd. Everything is a realistic possibility. Mayweather vs. McGregor f*cking happened. Anything is possible.”
Mayweather has rebutted the statement from White, asserting that he will not be entering the Octagon, but if he wanted to he could. And he could make a billion dollars doing it. He is not interested in competing in boxing or MMA.
“Exactly what I said is this: If I could make over a billion dollars before, I could do it again,” Mayweather said in an interview with FightHype. “If I chose to get in the UFC and fight three fights or fight four fights and then fight Conor McGregor, I could make a billion dollars. Which I can. I could do it in three fights or even four fights — I could make a billion dollars. If I choose to get in the Octagon and fight.”
“We just don’t know what the future holds for Floyd Mayweather,” Mayweather said. “And I don’t look forward to getting back in a boxing ring, that’s what I don’t look forward to. I’m just saying I could — I’m not doing it — but I’m saying what I could do to make a billion dollars quick, if I wanted to do that. That’s what I was saying. I never said I was gonna fight in the UFC. I didn’t say that. I said if I wanted to and what I could. Could and would do is different things. I’m not gonna do it, though.”
Keeping in line with the rest of the speculations, could it be that Mayweather is just staying ready in case April 15th crushes his empire with taxes? Could this be his backup plan if the money from his bout with Conor McGregor doesn’t sufficiently fund his retirement account?
Another consideration is that Mayweather, like Dana White, is a professional promoter and a successful one at that. White has already confirmed that the UFC will be hosting boxing events under the name “Zuffa Boxing.” It may be a lot for White to handle both the Octagon and the ring. Could Floyd be joining the payroll as a promoter rather than a competitor?
White and Mayweather are two very powerful men in the combat sports industry. White stated in an interview last month, that he would be speaking to a number of influencers in the boxing community as Zuffa Boxing comes to fruition. For now fighters and fans will continue to speculate as we wait to see where the pieces fit together.
Anthony Joshua has the Attention of UFC / Zuffa Boxing
By Bryanna Fissori
Heavyweight Champ Anthony Joshua has caught the attention of UFC President Dana White, who has been making waves in the boxing industry with announcement that the UFC will be entering the boxing ring under the name “Zuffa Boxing.”
Following his April 29, 2017 knockout of Wladimir Klirschko, White was quick to praise Joshua as the next big thing.
“Boxing had been DYING waiting for an exciting heavyweight champ,” White wrote on Instagram. “Now they have it in Anthony Joshua, CONGRATS champ.”
Looking to Make Boxing Stars
In a recent interview White announced that he would not be looking to cross over fighters on the UFC roster to fill boxing cards. Joshua is the one boxer that White showed interest in working with.
“In my opinion he’s the most marketable guy in boxing,” White told reporters.
With an arguably declining roster of “star power” heavyweights in the UFC it is no surprise that White has been scouring for new talent that he can build up.
One of the most prominent parts of the interview was the conversation about development of stars for Zuffa Boxing. The UFC has a positive reputation for building up their top fighters, making them marketable with interesting backstories, creative visuals and constant exposure. White looks to accomplish the same for Zuffa boxing.
Joshua Aspires to Increase Influence in Boxing
Anthony Joshua is the holder of heavyweight titles for the IBF, EBH and IBO. He is also a 2012 Olympic Boxing Gold Medalist.
Joshua aspires to achieve that kind of star rank. “Before I was happy just to be a part of boxing. I never hand a minute to reflect,” said Joshua. “But now I want to stamp my mark and my legacy and be among the like of Roger Federer. If I want to be like these guys I have to carry myself the right way. . . I want to be like the Ronaldos, Messies, Federers who compete with Nadal, Murry. That’s where I want to take boxing.”
Unifying the heavyweight title is the first goal for Joshua. To do so he is going to have to go through some heavy hitters. WBO titleholder Deontay Wilder and WBC titleholder Joseph Parker are on that list.
Dana White Plans to Create New Stars For Zuffa Boxing
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.
Conor McGregor Rumored to Have Been in an Irish Bar Room Brawl with Gangster
By Bryanna Fissori
No, we can’t even make this stuff up. Well, maybe someone did, but it wasn’t us . . .
MMA Lightweight UFC Champion and 0-1 Pro Boxer Conor McGregor is doing and excellent job of living up to his “Notorious” nickname. The 29 year old has been at the forefront of combat sports media since the late spring when talk of him making a boxing debut against Floyd Mayweather first started to make headlines. The ebb and flow of the media frenzy that follows McGregor is still going strong, now surrounding a number of things including:
· Talks of increased pay for MMA fighters
· Potential boxing match ups
· Rumors of a rematch with Mayweather
· Pushing a referee during a Bellator MMA (another MMA promotion) fight card
· Crossover to WWE professional wrestling
· And most recently . . .
The Bar Room Brawl
Just days ago it was reported that McGregor was in a bar room brawl with some famous Irish gangsters. If you think this sounds like it should be an important scene out of an old-school boxing movie, we agree.
The Black Forge Inn in the Dublin suburb of Crumlin is where the fight was said to have taken place. Some claims have stated that the man assaulted by McGregor was the father of Kinahan lieutenant Graham “The Wig” Whelan. Whelan is one of the country’s most feared gangsters, though there are no specific stats on how many scary gangsters are in Ireland, but it appears that there are a number of them.
The unconfirmed reports that have surfaced across European media outlets claim that senior members of Ireland’s infamous Kinahan crime cartel are seeking retribution against McGregor for the incident.
Police in the area have been informed of the supposed incident, but since no actual reports have been made, there is nothing for them to do.
The Kinahan Crime Cartel and Boxing
The last time the Kinahan gang and McGregor were seen on the same headline is when reports surfaced that 59 members of the cartel were flying into Las Vegas, Nevada to watch McGregor’s boxing match against Mayweather. This excluded members who were still exiled or in hiding.
Ties to boxing are strong in the Kinahan gang. Daniel Kinahan, who is the grandson of cartel founder Christy Kinahan, has been a boxing promoter and manager for some time. The Marbella Gym, which was started by Daniel Kinahan is estimated to be home to 100 or so fighters. Early in 2017 Kinahan decided to take a backseat due to bad publicity and the gym has been rebranded under the name Mack The Knife (MTK).
The “bad publicity” stems heavily from a boxing weight-in event gone bad, when a rival gang showed up with AK47s to take out Kinahan members. There was only one death in the 2016 attack.
Irish fighter, Jamie “The Nuisance” Kavanagh (20-1) was present at that event, weighing in for a fight that would be canceled due to the incident.
The UFC Unconcerned with the McGregor Incident
“I don’t think it’s true,” said UFC President Dana White. “Because if it was true, it would be big. Conor can walk down the street and it’s big news now. If this were true, I just have to believe it would be off-the-charts crazy. If it’s true, we’ll end up finding out. I can’t chase all these things around. If it’s true, we’ll get it figured out and we’ll go from there.”
As far as the UFC is concerned, Conor’s next move should be focusing on a potential fight with interim lightweight champ Tony Ferguson, though there is no official confirmation on the next bout for McGregor.
McGregor Welcoming the Publicity
Though he has neither confirmed nor denied the bar room incident, McGregor did acknowledge it on his social media. Initial news reports claimed that a “celebrity” was involved in the fight. McGregor posted a silent video with his face partially covered by his jacket and simply labeled it “The Celebrity.” He has not made any other public comments referring to the event.
Yes, Floyd Mayweather Held Back Against Conor McGregor — And What Else Is New?
By Ivan G. Goldman
I disagree with Jim Lampley’s conclusion that Floyd Mayweather threw some rounds against Conor McGregor last August so he could set up a rematch and another easy payday. The scenario is plausible but almost certainly wrong.
It’s always a little delicious to wonder whether a complex, much bigger story lurks behind what seems so obvious.
That’s why plenty of otherwise sane folks agree with talented crackpot filmmaker Oliver Stone that Richard Nixon, LBJ, the FBI, the CIA, the Pentagon, and oh yeah, the Mafia, all worked together to assassinate JFK and blame it on a hapless Lee Oswald. But enough with science fiction.
One reason Lampley’s idea is actually worth considering is that Floyd calls himself “Money” for good reason. He wouldn’t be terribly opposed to scooping up another few hundred million dollars in exchange for another easy fight. There’s no doubt that in his last outing he wasted rounds just watching his opponent without launching much of an offense.
Yet there’s one big problem with Lampley’s view of events. Doing just enough to win is the way Floyd fights.
The only thing atypical about this one was that he actually went in for the kill and stopped his dog-tired opponent in the 10th. In fact, Mayweather poured on more pressure against McGregor than he usually does.
Cage-fighter McGregor had never fought a pro boxing match in his life and was used to the more abbreviated MMA form. So waiting for him to tire himself out before finishing him off arguably made pretty good sense.
Although most world-class fighters will go for an early knockout if they sense it’s to be had, Mayweather just doesn’t operate that way. If an opponent behaves himself, Floyd tends to make a silent deal that promises not too much violence in exchange for a civilized ending. There’s no reason to be shocked when that’s how the match turns out.
Eleven years ago the totally outclassed Carlos Baldomir was just too slow and heavy-footed to get anything accomplished, yet Mayweather, in complete control, was content to make every round look the same. None was thrilling. Fans not only booed but in many cases walked out early. When’s the last time you saw fans leaving a big pay-per-view championship fight before the final bell? It wasn’t the sport’s finest moment.
Six months later when Floyd defeated Oscar De La Hoya by split decision it was pretty much a repeat of his performance against Baldomir even though the diminished Oscar was approximately three times the fighter Baldomir was.
If you put up the cash to see him take on Andre Berto two years ago in what was advertised as Floyd’s farewell fight, you saw him follow the same plan there too. Sharp, stinging but not overwhelming shots and not much in the way of combinations. All combined with breathtakingly good defense. Robert Guerrero? Canelo Alvarez? Same story.
In all these instances Mayweather promised fireworks and ended up delivering snooze city. Against Manny Pacquiao he followed the formula against basically a one-armed fighter. It was another one of those fights of a century that wasn’t even the best fight that weekend.
Let me point out here that Floyd is in fact a tough, truly gifted boxer, one of the best ever. The man puts in his work in the gym and it shows. Come fight time, he handles whatever’s in front of him. And yes, he has on occasion been in some truly sensational contests. Diego Corrales, Miguel Cotto, and his first outings against Jose Luis Castillo and Marcos Maidana all come to mind. But because few opponents could test him, he generally switched to cruise control as he compiled his record of 50-0, 28 KOs.
So when Lampley or anyone else notes that Mayweather failed to do all he could, my question is this: What’s new?
Ivan G. Goldman’s 5th novel The Debtor Class (Permanent Press, 2015) is a ‘gripping …triumphant read,’ says Publishers Weekly. A future cult classic with ‘howlingly funny dialogue,’ says Booklist. Available wherever fine books are sold. Goldman is a New York Times best-selling author.
Will Dana White and the UFC be the Next Big Players in (Zuffa) Boxing?
By Bryanna Fissori
“I could see bringing boxing under our umbrella and trying to see what we could do with that. I could see doing that.”-UFC President Dana White.
As written about by BoxingInsider.com following Floyd Mayweather Jr fight versus UFC Champion Conor McGregor, there may be something to the “Zuffa Boxing” t-shirt adorned by White during pre-fight interviews.
Zuffa, LLC. sold the UFC to WME-ING last year, though the Zuffa brand is still heavily associated with the promotion.
White was interviewed on the Wall Street Journal’s “Unnamed Videopodcast,” where he was questioned about the possibility of a UFC crossover to boxing. Though vague in his response, White alluded to the fact that it could happen. His answer seemed to have been worded to imply that he had not given serious thought to the concept, but would Reebok already be selling “Zuffa Boxing” shirts if something were not something in the works?
Dana White and Boxing
Leaving the world of MMA for boxing does not seem to be on White’s agenda. “What people don’t understand is first of all, I’m still an owner,” White said. “I still have an ownership position in the UFC. And yeah, I signed a contract, but no contract can keep you anywhere. I could leave tomorrow if I wanted to. I obviously couldn’t go work for somebody else, but I could leave when I want to leave. I don’t want to leave.”
No stranger to the boxing world, White spent a lot of his early combat sports industry career in that sector. White trained in boxing, taught boxing and had his own boxing brand. The Mayweather / McGregor fight grossed in the neighborhood of $600 million. That is certainly enough to grab the attention of new UFC parent company WME-IMG, whose fairly recent acquisition of the company could mean a lot of changes to the structure and operations of the business. Who is to say one of these changes couldn’t include the addition of boxing under the UFC conglomerate.
It is common knowledge that there is a discrepancy between what MMA fighter and boxers are paid. The top purse reported in MMA has Ronda Rousey (UFC 207) and Conor McGregor (UFC 202) tied at $3million with Brock Lesnar (UFC 200) a fairly close second at $2.5 million. These payouts do not include Pay-per-view percentages or any other bonuses.
In contrast, the top for boxing is Floyd Mayweather Jr who took home $100 million just for his purse alone, against Conor McGregor. Mayweather does tend to be the exception, taking home far more than most other top-tier boxers. It is hard to take Mayweather out the equation when talking about top-paid boxers. Of the top seven grossing matches of all time, he was a participant in at least four.
When Manny Pacquiao fought Mayweather in 2015, the PacMan came home with $120 million. In September, the highly anticipated Miguel Canelo and Gennady Golovkin bout boasted a purse of $15 for each fighter, before the 60 percent PPV split. The PPV and other bonus can add millions on to each purse in the boxing industry.
That being said, the cream of the crop in boxing obviously grosses significantly more than its MMA counterparts. The bottom tier may be a different story. The UFC minimum purse for any card is $10k to show and $10k to win. Unlike most boxing promotions, purses are usually offered at a flat rate with a win bonus that equals the same amount. This provides added incentive for an athlete to preform to their highest potential. Some lower promotions like Victory Fighting Championship (broadcast on UFC Fight Pass) have been known to offer “finishing bonuses” to fighters who end the fight rather than letting it go to the judges.
In a stark contrast to the UFC minimum, the opening bout for the Mayweather/McGregor card did not even amount to $10k between the two fighters. This may also have to do with the fact that rounds were significantly shorter for Savannah Marshall ($5k) and Sydney LeBlanc ($3.5k). The first 12 round fight on the card was Andrew Tabiti ($100k) against Steve Cunningham ($100k).
The UFC minimum is not the industry standard. Bellator MMA may start an undercard fighter at $1,000 to show and $1,000 to win, while small regional promotions may be as low as $200 and $200. This is not unlike smaller boxing promotions.
Overall it can be said that top tier boxers currently have the opportunity to make significantly more than MMA fighters at the highest levels, while the pay is probably more even overall at the lower levels.
Competition With Other Promotions
In joining the boxing community, the UFC will have significantly more competition than the promotion is use to. This is unlikely to dissuade the UFC, given that they are very good at what they do and will undoubtedly be competitive in the current mix as far as the promotional aspect is concerned.
Some of the top competition in the boxing world include; Top Rank, Golden Boy, Premier Boxing Champions, K2 Promotions, Dibella, Mayweather Promotions (TMT), Roc Nation and the recent addition of the successful British promotion, Matchroom.
These promotions host their events across a number of high-profile broadcast networks such as HBO, Showtime, ESPN, CBS, NBC, Fox, FS1 and more. The UFC currently airs its “Fight Night” events, which are not PPV, on FS1. Premier Boxing Champions is the boxing promotion featured on FS1, which could mean someone would need to find a new network if the UFC started promoting boxing events frequently. This would be less likely in the immediate future as the UFC would probably start out with a few PPV events to test the waters.
Audience and Marketing Strategy
The UFC already has a huge audience in the MMA world. It is very likely that a good number of these fight fans would follow the promotion into the boxing arena. As evident in the Mayweather/McGregor fight, the UFC has the ability to reach a broad demographic.
With decades of steady promotions and marketing strategies, the UFC has already mastered the promotional aspects of creating a successful event. They do an incredible job of pre and post fight media, using an adequate but not overbearing amount of dramatization to draw fans in to the personalities of the competitors. Like any good TV show, movie or book, knowing the compelling backstory of an athlete inspires fans to feel more connect and more motivated to watch.
This type of professional and methodical approach to promotion may be what boxing needs to make a comeback in the U.S. where it is still less popular than in other regions.
Competition for Boxers
McGregor is not the only MMA competitor who has shown interest in boxing. There are a good number of athletes who already compete in both sports. UFC athletes Jose Aldo, Stipe Miocic, Jimi Manuwa and Cris Cyborg have already voiced interest in wanting to box. If allowed to compete in the ring, those names would undoubtedly draw a crowd.
The hang up on which promotions boxers compete for could potentially ride on the payout, which it should. No one is looking to get punched in the face for free. As extensively discussed earlier, the high-end payouts for the UFC are still significantly less than that for top boxers. The UFC may find that they have to cough up more to compete for athletes in the industry. Depending on the PPV and gate numbers, this may be worth it, as many large boxing cards have draw a much bigger crowd and PPV turn-out than UFC cards.
Top Rank Boxing Promoter Bob Arum has been very vocal in his opinion that the UFC is considering getting to boxing because of low PPV numbers. “My thoughts are that UFC is desperate. Their numbers are way off, they have no marquee star,” Arum said in an interview with NYFights.com. “Look at their PPV numbers. They barely break 100,000 homes on their shows. They’re having trouble getting renewal on their contract with FOX. They have to do something. One of things they may try and fall back on and try and acquire a boxing presence.”
Arum, who typically has a lot to say when it comes to the UFC and Dana White, has also made comments about the amount the UFC pays their fighters in comparison to boxing. In a 2011 interview he was quoted as saying, “I don’t know where Dana is coming from, I never said anything bad about him. But Dana has to realize, because of the monopoly the UFC has, they pay their fighters maybe 20-percent of the proceeds that come in on a UFC fight and we pay fighters over 80-percent. So that’s the difference, so talk about giving back to the sport, when you pay your talent 20-percent and boxing promoter’s like myself and others pay over 80-percent, who’s giving back to whom? It’s very easy (to make network deals) when his athletes get paid nothing. Our athletes get paid.”
The other question is whether or not the UFC would put their boxers on an official roster with the same ancillary rights agreement that their MMA fighters are subject to. This could also make a difference in the caliber of athlete they acquire.
UFC Easing in to the Boxing World
About this same time last year Arum told media outlets that he met with Ari Emanuel (owner of UFC parent company WME-IMG) who was interested in purchasing Top Rank’s fight library for $100 million, which includes iconic fights such as 1975’s “Thirlla in Manilla” between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. Though the conversation did not go anywhere, the library would have been an addition to the extensive classic fights available on UFC Fight Pass and a soft introduction into boxing for UFC fans. A long-term deal with ESPN has since been inked for rights to the library.
In the recent interview with NYFights.com Arum stated that he was contacted last year by someone in the UFC wanting to purchase Top Rank. It was unclear if Arum was referring to the entire promotion or the previously mentioned attempt to purchase the library. The UFC is know for successful acquisition of other promotions, though up to this point they have all been MMA only promotions.
Allowing McGregor to compete in boxing earlier this year granted the UFC businessmen and fans to acquire a taste for boxing without shoving it down their throats. This has sparked obvious interest from fighters and there are a lot of MMA fighters out there with great hands who could be fun to watch.
The Future of UFC Boxing
Will we see a UFC boxing card in the near future? Overall it makes a good deal of since. The UFC already knows the formula for success in combat sports. The company has already gotten its feet wet. Fighters and fans are watching anxiously to see what the UFC’s next move will be.