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Eddie Hearn on Dana White’s Zuffa Boxing: You can’t ‘dominate’ and ‘control the fighters’ like in UFC

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Dana White has been making the media rounds talking up what he intends to do with Zuffa Boxing, without fully revealing his plans.

The UFC president recently told Helen Yee about how he wants to fix boxing’s broken and oft-criticized model, and that includes the approach to how fighters are promoted and built up throughout their careers. The way he sees it, Zuffa Boxing will operate in similar function to the UFC.

“It’s the sport and the politics in the sport and it has always been that way and if somebody doesn’t change it, it’s always gonna be that way,” White said. (via MMA Fighting)

“[We will promote boxers] just like we promote all these guys here. First of all, in boxing there is no brand. I always talk about the machine, the UFC machine we’ve built here, and when we put guys or girls who are talented in the machine, you start to build them and there’s nothing like that in boxing. That’s what I want to build. I would do it just like I’ve done it here.”

White’s foray into boxing is no doubt catching the attention of established boxing promoters, including Anthony Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn. In an interview with Luke Thomas on The Luke Thomas Show, Hearn was complimentary of White and the UFC, but outlined the difficulties White may face with Zuffa Boxing.

“I think Dana White is a very intelligent man,” Hearn said. “I think he’s a great promoter as well. A lot of the stuff that he’s done with the UFC — I’ll be honest, I’ve copied a lot of it. They’ve done a great job.

“I think the difference [is] he’s gonna find it very different in boxing [compered to] UFC. It’s not a sport that you can go in and dominate the fighters, control the fighters, get them to sign contracts to fight ultimately whoever they’re told to fight, which is the UFC model.

“One of the reasons I think the UFC does so well is because fighters really are told which fights they’re taking. That’s not the way in boxing. [In] boxing, the fighters tend to have much more control over their career. Of course there are a number of promoters, there are a number of networks who are involved, so there’s a huge amount of politics in the sport of boxing, which is frustrating sometimes.

“I think that’s something that’s actually going to frustrate Dana White,” Hearn concluded. “So I would love him to have a go at that, because I think the more promoters, the more investment, the more people making effort to make this sport great, the better. So here’s more than welcome, but I don’t think he’ll have the same kind of model as the UFC.”

You may recall White had interest in at least co-promoting Anthony Joshua, but flatly denied ever making a formal offer. Recently, Hearn met with White in Las Vegas, as Daniel Jacobs (who’s promoted by Hearn) trained at the UFC Performance Institute in Las Vegas for his fight against Canelo Alvarez.

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