By ALAN SNEL
Dana White was in New York City last week, just two hours before checking out some MMA prospects before 5,000 fans or so.
While the chatty, outgoing UFC president was in scouting mode during the filming of his Lookin’ for a Fight TV show, White also took time to talk with LVSportsBiz about the mega boxing fight event he is trying to pull off between colorful UFC star Conor McGregor and undefeated boxer Floyd Mayweather.
He predicted pay-per-view buys would be in the 2.5 million to 4 million range for a McGregor-Mayweather bout — far more than the UFC record-setting 1.65 million PPVs from the second McGregor-Nate Diaz fight in 2016.
The Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao welterweight title fight generated more than 4.4 million pay-per-view buys on May 2, 2015.
White said a UFC champion like McGregor boxing a champion such as Mayweather was not a gimmick or cash grab because people want to see this bout.
“I’m in the fight business. I’m in the business of putting on fights that people want to see.
Everywhere I go, everywhere I go, that’s all I’m asked, ‘Is this fight going to happen?’ It’s a fight people want to see,” White said.
“It’s our biggest star. Conor has been through thick and thin. Mayweather wants it. The fans want it,” White said.
Interestingly enough, White doesn’t see this cross MMA-boxing battle as a trend in the fight industry.
“If you told me the Diaz-McGregor fight would be the biggest pay-per-view, I wouldn’t have believed it. This is a wacky business,” he said.
White said he’s going to seek a 50-50 split in the revenues between McGregor and Mayweather.
“It’s a fair split. If you look at the popularity of Conor McGregor, we should go 50-50,” he said. “Globally, it’s going to a big fight. Conor is huge in the UK and Australia.”
Here’s White on:
— Ronda Rousey: “She will retire.”
— Georges St-Pierre: “He wants to fight.”
— Cris Cyborg — Fighting July 29.
— Anderson Silva: “Still a big star.”
— Next big male star — Mickey Gall, a 170-pound welterweight.
— Next big female star — Cynthia Calvillo, a 115-pounder.
White said UFC will continue to expand to different fight event locations such as Sweden, Russia, China and Korea with 17 of UFC’s 41 events being staged in venues outside the U.S. in 2017, White said.