Two months ago, a report from The Telegraph’s Gareth A. Davies claimed that the UFC was set to offer unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (21-0, 20 KOs) a remarkable $500 million deal that would make him the centerpiece of Zuffa Boxing. The report came at a time when Joshua’s contract with Matchroom Boxing, who’ve promoted him for his entire professional career, was coming to an end.
UFC president Dana White had expressed interest in promoting Joshua as part of his new boxing venture, but when asked about the supposed $500 million offer, he denied that it was ever on the table.
“I never made him an offer ever,” White said at the UFC Liverpool post-fight press conference.
“We were supposed to meet. We never met, we never talked money, we never did anything.”
At the time of the report, Eddie Hearn, Joshua’s promoter, dismissed the $500 million figure, saying “I think that was a Gareth Davies special. [The UFC is] probably looking at that article going ‘Oh no! It was half of that.’” Joshua now looks set to re-sign with Matchroom, as Hearn looks to build a large presence by promoting shows in the United States through his new $1 billion deal with sports streaming service DAZN.
When a question of whether they were looking to pry Joshua away from Hearn was brought up, White indicated that he wanted to be Joshua’s state-side promoter.
“That isn’t even the kind of deal I was looking to structure,” White said. “Because when we talked, [Joshua] had told me that he was going to stay with Eddie Hearn. He was never going to get rid of Eddie Hearn, and that was never the plan. It was never like I was trying to move in and steal him from Hearn.
“The deal was that I felt we could add a lot of value to them in the United States,” He added. “So we could cut some kind of a deal in the US. He’s big in England, everyone knows who he is in England. And I have the machine to make him big in the United States. That was the plan.”
As far as the Hearn-DAZN partnership, White stated that he would be interested in working with him, as well as other boxing promoters… except one, of course.
“Listen, I’ve worked with [Al Haymon], there’s a lot of guys I’d love to work with in the boxing business. Bob Arum isn’t one of them, but there’s a lot of other guys out there that I would.”
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