Dana White, president of the UFC, is a tremendous businessman. He brought mixed martial arts into the mainstream in great part due to his efforts to create one big-money league that has become the most prestigious name in the sport. Now, he has his sights set on doing the same in boxing, which is notoriously a business-first sport.
White has been very outspoken about the way in which boxing is run, with multiple organizations deciding who gets to fight for the various world championship titles. While, by his own admittance, White knows rather little about boxing, his critiques of how it operates at the highest level are apt. He wants to shake up the scene, and now that he has reconciled with some of the sport’s most influential names, the UFC president could be on to something big with Zuffa Boxing.
Meeting with the biggest names in boxing
Dana White knows how to do business, and to muscle in on such a long-established and, once again, very popular sport; he’ll need help from those in the know. He has stated that he has a good relationship with Al Haymon and Eddie Hearn, despite Hearn previously disliking White for trying to pry Joshua away from his promotion, Matchroom Boxing, and into the UFC.
Hearn and Haymon’s respective promotions have some of the biggest boxers in the world in their stables, so having those two onside could go a long way towards bringing some prestige to Zuffa Boxing quickly. White’s plans to offer the most valuable and prestigious titles in the UFC was to, effectively, ignore all others – which he plans to do in boxing.
With regards to Hearn and Joshua in particular, this one, ultimate belt might be very appealing if it sticks. The two had tremendous trouble trying to get single-belt holder Deontay Wilder to fight the British three-belt world champion before he lost to Andy Ruiz Jr., denying either boxer of the chance to become the first undisputed world champion with four belts.
Joshua coming over to Zuffa Boxing with Hearn would go a long way towards making the company legitimate and credible, but it might depend upon the outcome of the rematch against his Mexican conqueror.
Would White prefer that Joshua loses the rematch?
There is a lot on the line for Anthony Joshua in his next fight: he needs to get back the three major belts that he lost in the first fight. Despite being the favorite in the Andy Ruiz vs Anthony Joshua odds at 1/3 to the reigning champ’s 5/2, a victory is far from certain, and perhaps not what Dana White wants to see.
Hitting the headlines around the world in 2018 for offering Joshua a $500 million deal in the UFC, it’s no secret that White values Joshua’s star power and technical ability. But if ‘AJ’ were to best ‘Destroyer’ in the rematch, he would be back on the path to hopefully, one day, get a major unification fight against Wilder or the American’s conqueror.
If he loses, however, Joshua may be more inclined to try his luck in the new Zuffa Boxing organization. On the flip side, making a deal with Eddie Hearn for Joshua to fight within Zuffa Boxing while holding three of the four recognized major belts may offer White’s project more credibility than White simply declaring it as the ultimate boxing championship.
The sport of boxing is still tremendously entertaining and boasts a worldwide fan base, but there’s no doubt that it could be better run by a sole governing body. Dana White’s Zuffa Boxing may be a step in the right direction, but it’ll need some star power to get off of the ground, which Anthony Joshua could provide.