Can the UFC Save Boxing?

Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; UFC president Dana White speaks at the podium before Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor speak during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Dana White has been recently sporting a “Zuffa Boxing” shirt. Is this the hint of something huge?

It’s odd. Many people are saying the Mayweather vs. McGregor fight is a combat sport abomination that should never happen again. Particularly, boxers around the sport are embarrassed and many “pure” boxing fans are refusing to watch the fight. Conor, according to the boxing world, has no shot. Many people consider this to be simply a huge money grab. Or is it?

Let’s face it, boxing is dying. It’s been dying a slow death for years now. The legends like Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson are no longer around. Floyd Mayweather is retiring. After him, boxing’s next two biggest stars, Canelo Alvarez (49–1–1) and Gennady Golovkin (37–0), are going to slug it out in just a few short weeks. Aside from them, the sport’s other names are widely unknown to the general public. The UFC is partly to blame for this. On top of their biggest star making a “mockery” of the sport, it’s his very organization that’s killing the beloved sweet science and has been around since 688 BC.

Enter the Zuffa Boxing

“Mayweather vs. McGregor” is the most attention boxing has received since Mayweather vs. Pacquiao. A week ago, Dana White, president and face of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, was seen sporting the shirt above, there was the following tweet:

Conor McGregor will not be done with boxing. Especially not if he actually ends Floyd’s undefeated streak. He’ll want more of those hundred million dollar pies. And Zuffa, the company that essentially owns the UFC, wants that pie too. There is so much abandoned money to be made, it’s almost impossible to pass up. Now that Zuffa and the UFC are owned by WME-IMG, the company that’s previously been accused of booking “money” fights instead of the rightful title fights, you can bet they are using the Mayweather-McGregor hype train to test the waters on their own boxing promotion. And it makes sense. The UFC now has far more recognizable active fighters than boxing does. Remember the Ronda Rousey Era? What about Anderson Silva, Jon Jones, Demetrious Johnson and Cris Cyborg? All certified stars. The UFC can make a superstar. And with a side of boxing, they can make even more household names.

Many mixed martial arts fans have claimed their sport has killed boxing. What’s ironic is that Zuffa, the UFC, and Conor McGregor will be the ones to actually save boxing, in vein of what the current “boxing pundits” say.

Think of all the inevitable crossover events…

Anderson Silva vs. Roy Jones Jr.

Nick Diaz vs. Adrian Broner

Stipe Miocic vs. Anthony Joshua

Having the UFC and a boxing promotion could be the next natural step. The sport has been stale since the 90’s and evolution is coming by the very dagger that was thrust into the heart of boxing. Evolution is overdue in the boxing universe, and this time, change is inevitable.