SATURDAY NEWS DIGEST 3/30: Junior dos Santos vs. Francis Ngannou booked for July, UFC parent company reportedly to go public

By Michael Hiscoe, Managing Editor

Dec 1, 2018; Adelaide, Australia; Junior Dos Santos (red gloves) before his fight against Tai Tuivasa (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre. Mandatory Credit: James Elsby-USA TODAY Sports


A major heavyweight fight has been added to the UFC 239 International Fight Week event this July. ESPN’s Ariel Helwani has reported that Junior dos Santos and Francis Ngannou will meet at the July 6 pay-per-view from Las Vegas.

UFC 239 is set to be headlined by Jon Jones defending his light heavyweight title against Thiago Santos and Amanda Nunes will fight Holly Holm for the bantamweight championship. If a third championship bout is added, there’s a good chance it could be Daniel Cormier defending his heavyweight title. If a deal can be put together, Brock Lesnar would be the most desirable opponent for Cormier. A Dos Santos-Ngannou fight could serve as insurance if a Cormier title defence is booked but falls through at the last minute.

Regardless of whether Cormier fights on the card, Dos Santos vs. Ngannou is a big heavyweight fight that may determine the next contender for the championship. The odd man out here is former champion Stipe Miocic. Miocic was briefly linked to a fight with Jones for this card but the light heavyweight fight with Santos was booked instead. Cormier vs. Miocic could be the most likely next fight for Cormier if a deal with Lesnar can’t be reached.

Dos Santos is coming off of a TKO of Derrick Lewis while Ngannou most recently knocked out Cain Velasquez in 26 seconds last month.

Endeavor to go public

UFC’s parent company Endeavor (formerly WME-IMG) is said to be preparing for an end-of-year initial public offering according to a report from the Wall Street Journal. Endeavor purchased UFC back in 2016 for roughly $4 billion.

By going public, many of UFC’s financial information would become public information for the first time. For instance, when WWE (then WWF) first went public back in 2000, pay-per-view numbers were disclosed to investors. Because UFC is just one subsidiary of Endeavor, the fine details of UFC’s financials may not be released. Also, now that UFC receives guaranteed money from ESPN for pay-per-view events, those figures would be for ESPN to disclose as a subsidiary of Disney.

By being part of a major media conglomerate with a public offering, UFC has come a long way from its days as a renegade niche sport.

Saturday Notebook

-Everyone made weight for tonight’s UFC event from Philadelphia except for Ray Borg who came in at 137.75 pounds for his bantamweight fight with Casey Kenney. Borg formerly competed at flyweight and had weight cut issues there as well.

-Eric Wisely will fight Gilbert Burns at UFC Fort Lauderdale on April 27.

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