There was a time in the not-to-distant past when Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was two million dollars in the hole. Today, it's several billion in the black, thanks to the efforts of promotion president Dana White (and the checkbook of the Fertitta brothers).
Now, White tells NBC Sports he's taking on a new fight.
"[Wrestling] needs to be more fan-friendly, it needs to be more exciting. I've met with a lot of the top guys in wrestling. Actually I met with them last Tuesday, and yeah, the UFC is joining the fight to help save Olympic wrestling. Not just Olympic wrestling, but colleges are dropping wrestling now. High schools have been dropping wrestling... I've personally funded tons of wrestling programs, and the UFC has funded tons of wrestling programs for high school kids. It's in the discussion phase. These guys are going out and fighting the fight, and whatever they need from me and what I think I could do, [I'll do]."
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board voted earlier this year to have amateur wrestling cut from future games in an effort to overhaul the entire program, focusing on "popularity, finances, tickets sold and governance" (see why here).
Also known as "pay to play."
White has already gone on record to say he can't be the man to save wrestling all by himself (see those comments here), while also pointing fingers at mixed martial arts (MMA) rivals Bellator and Viacom. Wrestling has been a major factor in the rise of elite fighters like Daniel Cormier and Ben Askren, both former Olympians.
Anyone think UFC can help get this thing turned around?