UFC CEO Says Documentary Planned

By Chanak Maduranga

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UFC CEO Says Documentary Planned
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Years ago, before the UFC took over the world of combat sports on TV, UFC CEO Dana White starred in a video blog that was posted on YouTube, taking fans of the company behind-the-scenes of the big fights.

White hasn’t done video blogs in years, but UFC fans are once again able to get a taste of what goes on behind-the-scenes, with White and many of his colleagues starring in a new docuseries for Roku: Fight Inc: Inside the UFC.

“This was like one of my old video blogs on steroids,” White tells The Hollywood Reporter in an interview of the experience filming Fight Inc. “The thing is, it’s just a sliver, a tiny sliver of what goes on here and how big this place really is. I mean, we have event ops, consumer products, the biggest part of this company, the most employees, are production … People love to see the matchmaking and how it happens and what goes down behind the scenes when a fight falls apart, and things like that.”

And there are more docs to come, with White telling THR that he has a film crew following him right now, chronicling the planning going into the UFC’s upcoming live event at the Sphere in Las Vegas.

Fight Inc. follows White and his team in the lead-up to UFC 295, which took place last November at New York’s Madison Square Garden. The event was also connected to the 30th anniversary of UFC.

White said it was “the first time I’ve ever really peeled back the curtain on the on the matchmaking side” of its business.

But if last year’s big event was UFC 295, this year’s big event will be UFC 306, which will take place at the Sphere on Sept. 14. White notes that it will be the first ever live event broadcast from the venue, which like MSG is controlled by James Dolan.

Though he adds that the cost of doing it may turn it out to be prohibitive, making it a one-time thing (hence the documentary crew currently following him around).

“I’m already $17 million into this thing, and it’s not ’til September,” White says of what the UFC has spent so far on the event. “And when you think about U2 going in there, the money that they spent was amortized over 40 shows. We’re going in one time, one night, and that’s it. So, it’s crazy.”

But for now, White is focused on spreading the word about Fight Inc.

Roku, of course, has become a nearly ubiquitous part of the streaming landscape, with more than 81 million monthly users. For the UFC, with many of its event on ESPN+, it’s that accessibility that is top of mind.

“It’s creating a lot of awareness, when you go on to Roku, you know, it’s the first thing that popped up,” White says. “So I think this was a perfect situation for both of us. And I like those guys over there, so we really wanted to do this with them.”

But beyond Fight Inc. and the planned Sphere doc, White expresses a level of openness to taking UFC fans behind the scenes more often in the future.

“I think that if we did some type of a show where there were seasons of what goes on at the UFC, I think it would be incredible television,” White says. “It would be a total pain in the ass for us over here running the business, but it would probably be one of the best shows ever on television.”

“This place, this building, this business, is literally a walking, talking reality show,” he adds. “This is one of the craziest businesses — what’s just happened here in the last week — it’s madness, absolute madness. Every day.”

Chanak Maduranga

passionate journalist behind 'USA News Now 24', dedicated to delivering timely and accurate updates on US affairs. Committed to journalistic integrity and informing audiences with credible news coverage.

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