It’s been almost a full year since Conor McGregor fought Floyd Mayweather in the boxing ring, and not too long after their historic showdown, UFC president Dana White announced plans to get into the boxing promotion business. As of right now, White has yet to sign anyone to his boxing roster.
In a recent interview with Jim Norton and Matt Serra on the UFC Unfiltered podcast (H/T Jed I. Goodman), White revealed that things haven’t gone according to plan, but that we’ll see Zuffa Boxing get off the ground eventually.
“This is one of those things I said I’m going to put my toe in, I’m not diving in head first,” White said. “We’re still working on stuff.”
“A lot of things didn’t line up the way that I thought they would in the boxing world, when I said we’re about to make a ballsy move,” he continued. “The thing kind of took a left turn, so I wasn’t able to make an offer on that deal yet. But when that deal does happen, and when it comes, I’m going to jump in.”
It’s all very vague detailing as far as “things didn’t line up the way I thought they would.” Of course, when Zuffa Boxing news first broke in November, heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua was approaching the end of his promotional contract with Matchroom Boxing. White denied a report that he’d offered Joshua a deal worth up to $500 million to be the centerpiece for Zuffa Boxing, and indicated he only wanted to help co-promote him in the United States. Joshua has since signed a contract extension to remain with Matchroom.
White was also in talks with current unified WBC and IBF lightweight champion Mikey Garcia, with Kevin Iole reporting that Dana was “closing in on a deal” in early May. Not even two weeks later, Eddie Hearn announced his Matchroom Boxing USA agreement with DAZN, with an annual rights fee of $125 million per year, and Garcia confirmed he was speaking with Hearn. Garcia was set to resume conversations with both White and Hearn after his win over Robert Easter Jr. two weeks ago.
Two months ago, White said that Zuffa Boxing was going to operate as its own league of sorts, and not work with sanctioning bodies such as the IBF, WBC, WBA, and WBO. He’s also had numerous public spats with Golden Boy Promotions’ Oscar De La Hoya and Top Rank Boxing’s Bob Arum, both of whom have several of the world’s best boxers and biggest names under contract.
I suppose patience is the key here, and we’ll all have to wait a little longer to see what’s in store for Zuffa Boxing.
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