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Morning Report: Dana White maintains UFC is living up to financial expectations after WME

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(Source: MMA Fighting)

If the UFC is having any issues with its finances, that’s news to Dana White.

Well into Year 2 of Zuffa, LLC’s $4.2 billion dollar sale to WME-IMG, the company’s most valuable property has dealt with newfound scrutiny in the wake of disappointing pay-per-view sales and questions about its ability to create new stars to fill the void created by Conor McGregorRonda Rousey, and Brock Lesnar, all of whom were absent from the Octagon in 2017.

While it might appear to those on the outside looking in that a lot of work has to be done for WME-IMG to recoup on its investment, White insists that last year was a massive success and the business is only flourishing.

“WME-IMG Endeavor bought us for $4 billion, and obviously they need to hit certain numbers for the banks,” White told ESPN. “Right now, I’m spending another $1 million (at UFC’s Las Vegas headquarters) on another wing I want. That’s how bad of a year we’re having.

”(Endeavor CEO) Ari Emanuel wants to buy the building next door and build more s**t. We’re still growing.”

“I think the (2016) sale has everything to do with it,” White continued, speaking to the perception of how the UFC’s business is doing. “Everybody is looking at that $4 billion sales and asking, ‘Did they deliver?’

“F**k yeah, we delivered. We deliver every single year. And still, every year, if you listen to the media, we’re f**ked.”

One reason that White can afford to make bold proclamations to the public about the UFC’s success is the promotion’s involvement in the Conor McGregor-Floyd Mayweather boxing match last August. That fight did massive box office numbers, putting it in second-place all-time among the most lucrative PPV events in history (though White and McGregor contend that it is No. 1).

With the UFC collecting a massive slice of that pie, it boosted what White thinks would have been a huge year even if that crossover bout hadn’t happened.

“Who cares if it was a boxing match?” White said. “Do you think we knew Floyd Mayweather was going to fight Conor McGregor in 2017? F**k no. We still had our year lined out, a budget and everything else.

”This is the fight business. You have no f**king idea what’s going to happen. If that fight hadn’t happened, Conor would have fought twice in the UFC and who knows who he would have fought or the fights it would have set up. This s**t doesn’t just happen. We create this s**t.”

White expects the UFC brand to have plenty of value when it comes time to hit the negotiating tables later this year after their current broadcasting deal with Fox Sports expires.

“It’s getting more interesting by the minute,” White said. “ESPN buys Fox Sports’ (regional sports networks), which the UFC is perfect for. And you look at FOX, they have a load of cash from the (sale to Disney). You’ve got powerhouses like Amazon, Netflix, and YouTube.”

And should any of these networks or channels partner up with White, they could find him bringing another combat sports product along with him. The UFC president has made it clear he intends to dabble in the sport of boxing, and he’s confident that he can offer benefits no other promoter can touch.

It’s these advantages and his reputation as a key part of the UFC’s history that White thinks will allow him to attract top talent to his promotions.

“Whoever an athlete is, I don’t care who it is, I want to fly you to Las Vegas and we’re going to meet,” White said. “I’m going to walk you through this new facility, show you the gym, the trainers, all the amenities. Free supplements, physical therapy, we’ll cook your food exactly how you like it three times per day. You’ll get health insurance.

”Who can offer you a better deal than me in combat sports? F**k boxing, MMA, whatever it is. Who can offer a better deal than me? The answer is nobody. This is what we do. Keep doubting us.”

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