UFC’s Dana White has gone from boasting about how his company’s Zuffa Boxing would be coming to save the sport to closing the lid on the idea, it would seem, without having so much as ever run a show.
White spoke with TSN’s Aaron Bronsteter, who led with discussion of the Mayweather-Logan Paul exhibition coming in February, and wondered if what he would later call “freakshow boxing” will be more popular than normal boxing.
“Scary and sad, but probably true, yeah,” White said, which isn’t saying much, but is an answer.
Then after Bronsteter insisted, as these TV media people always do, that White “is a boxing purist” and “loves boxing” — which White has always said a lot so he doesn’t seem petty or like he’s rooting for the death of a pseudo-competitor — White did point out that this isn’t exactly a new thing, after noting (reasonably) the fact that boxing hasn’t engaged younger audiences in good numbers.
“The thing has been such a spiral, nose dive for so long, and what they haven’t done, is they haven’t done got any of that young generation, any of that younger crowd,” White said.
“But it’d be crazy to say that these type of fights haven’t been popular anyway. We were just talking the other day about the Tonya Harding fight when she fought, these celebrity fights that they were doing. I think people are always going to be interested in that type of stuff.”
The topic then shifted to the mythical “Zuffa Boxing,” and it sounds like White has fully thrown in the towel on that. There had been rumors, as Bronsteter notes, that they were finally going to launch with Claressa Shields as a star. Shields has since signed with PFL to do MMA, and will continue to box.
White re-stated his usual claim, that Zuffa Boxing hasn’t and apparently won’t be getting off the ground because the system is just so bad.
“Never did I say that I was doing anything,” White said of the Shields rumors, “but I’ve been looking and kicking the tires of boxing for the last couple years. The reason you’ve never seen me do anything is because that’s how screwed up and broken it is. That’s what a mess it is. Yeah, I’m not doing anything any time soon.”
Bronsteter then set White up for another reason to not enter boxing as he confidently promised he was going to do years ago, that it’s simply “too late” and that the crazy “governing bodies” have killed the sport or whatever.
“Maybe, yeah. Yeah, maybe. It might be,” White said. “It’s gonna require so much time, money, and the whole thing needs to be rebuilt and restructured. There’s always gonna be fights that’ll pop up that’ll make money, you know, but when you’re in a situation where, you know, this Mayweather fight does more buys than Fury vs Wilder or, you know, some of these legitimate big fights, it’s pretty scary.”
RIP Zuffa Boxing, we did not know ye at all as ye never existed.