Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn gives his thoughts on the sport of MMA and reveals that he is jealous of the UFC, because “they control the sport and fighters”.
The director of Matchroom Boxing, Eddie Hearn has shown some admiration in the past towards the sport of MMA, especially the UFC.
In a recent interview with beIN Sports, the boxing promoter revealed that he is just a casual fan of the sport of MMA:
“I’m that casual fan of MMA, I don’t know a lot about it,” Hearn said. “I could probably name you half a dozen fighters. I will watch the bigger fights, but I’m that casual fan who tunes in for the big ones.
Hearn also said that he impressed by the success of the UFC and their strategies for expansion and growing the brand:
“But I love what the UFC has done as a brand, I love their expansion into territories. I’m jealous because they control the sport and fighters in a way where the fighters are basically told who they’re going to fight.”
Other large players in the sport of MMA are ONE Championship, Bellator MMA and the rising Professional Fighters League (PFL). These other promotions hold events all over the world, much like the UFC. Despite their success, the UFC controls around 80% of the market in the Western Hemisphere. In 2018 they further established their position as market leaders after signing a broadcasting deal with ESPN, worth $150 million (£124m) a year. This gave the UFC new leverage over fighter contracts, marketing and match-making.
The company has previously been accused of having a monopoly of the market and they are currently engaged in an ongoing antitrust lawsuit.
Eddie Hearn also believes that Dana White would struggles to establish any sort of foothold in the sport of boxing:
“In boxing it’s exactly the opposite,” Hearn continued. “Dana White has always talked about going into boxing but it’s going to be really frustrating because you don’t just phone up Canelo and say, ‘Right, you’re fighting in September. I’ll see you there.’
“You have to negotiate with managers, advisors, networks, it’s frustrating. So, I’m an MMA fan – the sport and also the business.”
Hearn also revealed that he might go into promoting MMA at some point in the future:
“I think so, yeah,” he said of promoting MMA. “A lot of people are asking me to do it. Whether it’s broadcasters or other organizations that would like to grow and trying to rival the UFC.
“It’s very difficult to rival the UFC, and if I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it with all guns blazing,” he said. “I don’t want to go in and be No. 2. Being No. 1 in that space is very, very difficult, you know.
“Let me crack boxing first, and then we’ll see about MMA.”
This article first appeared on CLOSEDGUARDMEDIA.com on 17th March, 2020.