For a good few years, Zuffa Boxing was deemed to be the next big brainchild of UFC president Dana White. As recently as 2019, the outspoken UFC boss bared plans about a “pay system that benefits everybody” and to “break” and “rebuild” the sport of boxing to turn it into a “real business.” White’s then-plans for Zuffa Boxing also supposedly meant a non-involvement with the sport’s sanctioning bodies like the WBC, WBO, and IBF.
But in a recent interview on Blockasset’s The Block Party, White seems to have given up on these initial plans. As he told hosts Adam Catterall and Nick Peet:
“Every time I try to think about doing something with boxing, I go, ‘Why would I want to do this to myself? Why would I even want to dive into this nightmare?’” White said.
“That’s why I haven’t really done anything. It’s a broken business that is an absolute nightmare to try to fix.”
White didn’t elaborate on his statements, but one of the main differences in the two sports is how UFC’s pay structure is vastly different from boxing. While UFC targeted their fighters to get just 17% of the revenue for years, some major boxing promotions give their fighters anywhere from 56-80% of the money. Also, with athlete protections from policies such as the Muhammad Ali Act, some of the UFC’s business practices could also be impossible to implement (or even illegal) in boxing.
In a recent interview, White also stated that another one of boxing’s “big problems” is that its fighters are “overpaid.” He also claimed that this kind of approach to fighter compensation “doesn’t work” because “you have to run a business.”
White’s most prominent boxing venture involved co-promoting the UFC’s biggest superstar Conor McGregor and the unbeaten Floyd Mayweather in 2017. Since then, he hasn’t shown interest in having any of his other fighters do the same.