Zuffa Boxing is about to be more than just a t-shirt.
UFC president Dana White announced on Tuesday that he’s “getting into boxing, 100 percent,” ending months of speculation that started when he wore a Zuffa Boxing t-shirt to several press events for the Mayweather vs. McGregor superfight.
“I’m not leaving the UFC. I’m getting into boxing with [WME-Endeavor head] Ari [Emanuel] and the UFC will be doing boxing, too,” White told the Los Angeles Times. “It’s still early. We’re still working on it. I’ve got to get my s**t together, but I’m getting into boxing, man. It’s coming.”
White’s career in combat sports began in boxing, and he ran a gym in Boston before gangsters from Whitey Bulger’s mob ran him out of town with extortion requests. He ended up in Las Vegas working with his old high school buddies the Fertittas, and convinced them to buy the troubled Ultimate Fighting Championships in 2001. The rest is history.
Who knows what history White and the UFC will be able to make with boxing, but it’s clear that the promotion wants to continue expanding. With 39 MMA events in 2017, it could be smart to take the pressure off UFC fans and spread it out to boxing a little. But it’s also a concern that the notoriously controlling White will just be spread even thinner working on this new labor of love.
It’s just another sign that things are changing with new owners WME-Endeavor at the head of the company. Whether that’s a good thing or not remains to be seen, but it’s an interesting time to be a combat sports fan, that’s for sure.