The UFC’s biggest competitor is probably the local bar or nightclub, or maybe the simple stack of bills that everyone has. The business was born on pay-per-view television, and historically, PPV has remained at the heart of the world’s fastest growing sport. When deciding whether or not to spend $60 to watch five UFC fights, most people aren’t weighing the card vs. a boxing card, they are weighing it against bills.
Boxing is catastrophically disorganized, with the WBA, WBC, IBF, and WBO recognizing around 75 different world champions in 17 weight divisions. The IBO and WBF add more. The WBA alone has almost 40 world champions, as they recognize super, undisputed, unified, regular, and interim titles.
The reason for the ridiculousness is money. Boxing sanctioning bodies only get paid when a world title is on the line. So they make up a lot of world titles. Promoters then compete with each to promote a “world” title fight.
The closest business model to the UFC is not boxing, it is the WWE.
There is one organizing body, with a colorful boss, that relies on big pay per view draws with large personalities. UFC president Dana White and WWE owner Vince McMahon have come to terms on multiple occasions recently, with White allowing then women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey to appear on WWE programming, while WWE superstar Brock Lesnar was allowed to compete in the UFC.
White discussed the evolving relationship during a recent appearance on Ric Flair’s WOOOOO! Nation podcast. That’s WOOOOO with five Os, if you ever wanted to know the exact spelling.
“If you look at what Vince McMahon has accomplished in all of his years and to still be on top and still be doing it,” said White, as transcribed by Damon Martin for FOX Sports. “The guy’s got enough money, he’s in it because he loves it, he’s in it because he’s still passionate about it. I would say that this last Brock deal and when Ronda went over did the WWE WrestleMania, those were the two out of all the years of dealing with Vince and everybody, those were probably the two best experiences.”
“I think Vince and definitely Stephanie and Triple H — Stephanie and Triple H are always great, always cool to work with — Vince has been very difficult in the past but the past several years he’s been much better.
“He’s a f***ing maniac, he’s an animal, he’s a competitor, he wants to win. That’s his nature and I respect it.”