Thursday, 24 March 2011

UFC is bigger than any single fighter; Fertitta defends the approach

Frank Shamrock is one of the most vocal critics of the way the UFC does business. His chief complaint is that the fighters aren't put first because the UFC brand is more important. Lorenzo Fertitta defended the brand, telling HDNet's Mike Straka that unlike boxing, that brand sets up fighters for the future.

"Not to take anything away from the fighters, but at the end of the day, the UFC has to go on forever. It has to live forever, right?� Fighters are going to come, they're going to participate and then they're going to live with that brand and they're going to benefit from that brand for the rest of their life," said Fertitta (10:15 mark).

He pointed to boxing's lack of brand and that it does little for the fighter following his career.

"[...] you get guys in the limelight for two or three years and all of sudden he fades away. Then nobody knows where he is? What's Roberto Duran doing right now? I have no idea," said Fertitta.

The former president of Station Casinos echoed the sentiments of Dana White in listing boxing's chief downfall.

"Don't do anything that boxing did because they literally have screwed up a sport and an industry that over the last 100 years that has generated billions and billion of dollars. And to this day, there's no entity that there's any value in," Fertitta said (9:52 mark). "It's not like football. With the NFL, there's value in that brand. Same thing with NBA of any other sport. Boxing there's zero value in the brand. How that's possible? I have no idea."

Fertitta thinks the connection to UFC sets fighters up for the long haul.

"But guys that are in the UFC are always going to be associated with the UFC and will be able to monetize that in whatever they do. Whether they open a gym or�promoting themselves. Or they get royalty on the action figures that we have or the T-shirts we create," Fertitta said. "So we're really trying to build this model and get real value for them for the rest of their life."

Here's Part 1 of the interview. Thanks to HDNet and MMAPromo on YouTube.


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