Yesterday evening Dana White sat down to talk with Forbes Sports Money on a range of subjects based around the UFC as a business entity, including the recent purchase of Strikeforce, the continued growth of the UFC, the future of woman’s MMA and more.
Check out the transcript of White’s comments below, plus scroll down to see the full video for yourself.
On the reasons behind Zuffa’s purchase of Strikeforce:
“Well, Strikeforce was for sale. The funny thing is that we have this reputation that we’re anti-competition, which couldn’t be further from the truth, but the reality is that we continue to expand and grow. We do need more fighters, and we love the content…the one thing that these guys have that do it right, and the one’s that we usually end up buying [have is that]: they have a great library, they have a stable of fighters, and if they had a name and a television deal like Strikeforce did – not a bad thing either.”
On the potential conflict between the UFC and Strikeforce Brands:
“The thing with Strikeforce is, when we acquired them they had a deal with Showtime. We’re working with Showtime now – who I’ve had a very rocky relationship with! – but Lorenzo [Fertitta] is working with them right now. We’re going to run this thing separately, and we’ll see how it goes. We’ll see if we can pull it off and make it happen. If it didn’t happen, the worst case scenario if we own Strikeforce is that these guys rollover into the UFC.”
On Growing the UFC’s Roster:
“The great thing about this sport is, mixed martial arts is THE new martial art. When you and I were growing up parents would put you in Karate or Tae Kwon Do, stuff like that. Kids are taking mixed martial arts [now], this is what women, children, businessmen, guys who want to fight – this is what they train in, and not just here, but all over the world. I’m in a position right now where I can get a fighter from anywhere in the world right now, and I think if this thing continues to grow and progress, guys that would have played baseball, basketball, football, guys who are real athletes, you’re going to see a lot of them becoming mixed martial artists.”
On Zuffa’s plans for Woman’s MMA:
“There’s this big misconception out there about me that I don’t like woman’s fighting and everything else. I have no problem with woman’s fighting. The problem is that right now…it was a problem with boxing, and it’s a problem with MMA right now, is you don’t don’t have enough women that are good enough to create an entire division. So what you get is a couple of woman that are really good, and a lot of woman that really aren’t, and I don’t like lopsided fights, especially with woman.
So, as this sport continues to grow, if there are more and more women where you can actually create an entire division with a lot of talented women – I’m all about it.”
On Zuffa’s deal with Flash Entertainment Last Year:
“These guys are the largest investment firm in the world. These guys, not only do they have the capital, but these guys have relationships. This was more of a strategic move for us. These guys were good business partners, especially as we continue to expand. Can we fly over there and set up meetings in China? I don’t know, maybe we could do it. With these guys we can. Even in the UK, in India. These guys were good strategic global partners, and it was actually the best move we ever made. It’s been fantastic.”
On the possibility of taking the company public:
“I don’t know. I never want to say no, but I don’t think so. This isn’t that kind of a business. I’ve never been involved in a public company before, but my partners have and it doesn’t seem too fun to me. I like where we’re at now. We make all the decisions. Obviously our partners over in Abu Dhabi own a 10% stake, so you know, they are always in on the loop with what we do, but yeah, I like the way we run things now and I don’t think we’d ever go public.”
On White’s estimates for the revenue of the company in three years time:
“Honestly, I think, and people who are watching this, yourself included, thinking that I’m biased and that I’m this guy that, you know…10 years people told me when I would say we’re going to be bigger than boxing, people would say I was nuts. How are you going to be bigger than boxing. Boxing’s been around for a hundred years…this that and everything else.
Well, we’re bigger than boxing and wrestling combined now, and with this growth, the growth globally that we’ve experienced, and so many more people becoming fans of mixed martial arts…the potential is so big it’s mind-boggling. This business, it transcends all cultural barriers, all language barriers, because I don’t care what color you are, what language you speak or what country you come from, at the end of the day we are all human beings, and fighting’s in our DNA man, we get it and we like it.”
Watch the full interview below.