Top Rank President Todd DuBoef, who co-promotes WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, likes the idea of a cross-sport boxing match with UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou.
For the last few weeks, Ngannou and Fury have been trading words through interviews and social media.
“It has a sexy little synergy to it,” DuBoef told MMA Fighting.
“How much does Fury want it? How much does Ngannou want it? We know that [Floyd] Mayweather and [Conor] McGregor really wanted it, and they were the driving force behind getting that done. At the end of the day, it may be the athletes that drive their respective partners to push that done.”
Back in 2017, the UFC came together with Showtime to stage a high lucrative pay-per-view boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor.
Both Top Rank and UFC have exclusive content deals with ESPN - which makes it much easier to make from a network perspective.
However, Mayweather-McGregor is still the only co-promotion that the UFC has been involved in, where the revenue was split with another company.
One obstacle would be the longtime war of words between UFC President Dana White and Top Rank CEO Bob Arum. Both have taken numerous shots at each other over the years.
DuBoef does not see the feud between Arum and White as roadblock.
“I think you guys are pulling a little bit into the personalities of two people, Bob and Dana, and I have a lot of history with a lot of people at the UFC,” DuBoef said. “So does Bob. I’ve known Dana for 20-plus, and [UFC COO] Lawrence Epstein and I grew up together as babies, so I wouldn’t play into that. All that is just a lot of good fodder for tabloids.”
At the moment, Ngannou is at odds with the UFC and is scheduled to defend his belt against Ciryl Gane at UFC 270. Fury has a mandatory defense to contend with, against Dillian Whyte, with a purse bid scheduled for January 18.
If both walk away with their belts, DuBoef is not convinced the UFC would do the fight.
“I don’t know if they would want to do it. It’s in our workflow to work with others. Some, we’re very difficult, and sometimes the athletes make it difficult, but it’s part of our business model, which isn’t so, just from what I see — there isn’t that kind of business model that’s done in the UFC’s world. They kind of have a great little ecosystem, and they make incredible matches and they have a very successful business. That question is for them, not for us, because we frequently do it," DuBoef said.
“I think it does fantastic in Vegas. And the reason why I say that is because, looking from a perspective of pay-per-view, I think there would be a very, very big appetite on U.S. pay-per-view for that fight, and what we’ve seen with Fury coming from the U.K., the U.K. audience is used to staying up late and paying for the pay-per-view.
“Maybe when both of those things happen, we have a conversation, or maybe before. But I’m just responding to somebody saying, ‘Hey, what do you think of this?’ Honestly, I think it’s a very compelling product for the consumer, and I think it could work very easily. That’s what I think, if you ask my opinion. To have the biggest, baddest man of MMA and the biggest, baddest man of boxing meet in the ring is a no-brainer. There’s not much hype you have to do there.”