MMA
Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer 9d

UFC president Dana White interested in promoting boxing matches

Boxing, MMA

UFC president Dana White, who helped build the mixed martial arts promotional company into a multibillion-dollar business, plans to begin promoting boxing as well.

A lifelong boxing fan, White appeared with Hall of Fame boxing trainer Freddie Roach at a speaking engagement at the trainer's Wild Card West boxing club in Santa Monica, California, on Tuesday night and told the gathering that he is "getting into boxing, 100 percent."

He also said that he is in the process of getting a promoter's license, according to the Los Angeles Times.

White convinced friend and casino magnate Lorenzo Fertitta to buy the struggling UFC for $2 million in 2001, and last year he sold the company to Beverly Hills talent agency WME/IMG for $4.025 billion.

As part of the deal, White, who owned a percentage of UFC and made around $400 million on the sale, agreed to remain with the company for at least five years. So he's not planning to leave UFC, but rather wants to incorporate boxing into the company's promotional portfolio.

"No, no, no, I'm not leaving the UFC. I'm getting into boxing with [WME/IMG head] Ari [Emanuel], and the UFC will be doing boxing too," White said, according to the Los Angeles Times. "It's still early. We're still working on it. I've got to get my [stuff] together, but I'm getting into boxing, man. It's coming."

White got a big taste of boxing promotion over the summer, when he was an integral part of the promotion of UFC star Conor McGregor's boxing match against Floyd Mayweather, the longtime former pound-for-pound king, who came out of retirement for the fight.

Mayweather knocked out McGregor in the 10th round of the Aug. 26 fight at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas that sold approximately 4 million pay-per-view buys and became the second-highest-grossing fight of all time behind Mayweather's 2015 welterweight title unification fight with Manny Pacquiao.

During the promotional tour for Mayweather-McGregor, White hinted at his future as a boxing promoter by wearing a T-shirt that said "Zuffa Boxing." Zuffa was the parent company of UFC before it was sold to WME/IMG.

Tuesday's appearance at Wild Card West was part of a conversation with producer/director Peter Berg, a longtime friend of Roach's who is a boxing fan. During the talk, White reflected on his passion for boxing.

White did not immediately return a message from ESPN seeking comment.

Those skeptical of White's move into boxing include promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank, who has said that the reason White plans to try his hand at boxing promotion is because of UFC's recent poor pay-per-view sales and the lack of a star fighter other than McGregor.

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