Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn is looking to expand his focus from boxing into mixed martial arts, after being impressed with the popularity of UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor, he has revealed.
Speaking to The Daily Mail, Friday, Hearn revealed his interest in playing host to an MMA show, and even stated he had been speaking with broadcasters.
“It is true it’s something I am considering,” Hearn said “It is very early to say if I will get involved but I am looking at it. Obviously my company, Matchroom, has extensive and long experience in combat sports through boxing so it is an area we understand.”
“At the moment I am talking to a few people and broadcasters to see what is what and whether it is something to get into.”
Hearn is currently regarded as one of the most successful boxing promoters in the United Kingdom, having been integral to boxing heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua’s success and popularity. Should he decide to move into mixed martial arts, it’s quite likely he could bring something to the UK market that others have yet been able to capture — including the UFC.
“Look how huge the UFC is in the U.S.,” he said. “Personally, I’m not sure if the UFC has fully satisfied the demand in the UK for mixed martial arts. For any sport to thrive it has to be driven by talent and personalities and I’m sure they exist. I feel we have a solid relationship with fight fans and while my heart and souls remains in boxing, I think those fans would be interested to take a look if we made a move.”
There’s a reason why Hearn has suddenly taken an increased interest in MMA. Like many others, he found himself drawn to MMA through an Irishman named Conor McGregor.
Since McGregor has found success in the UFC, mixed martial arts has become increasingly popular in the UK and Ireland, with his fights regularly causing fans to stay up until the early hours of the morning to watch him compete.
And Hearn, who has previously described the Irishman as “a promoters dream,” clearly sees a market ready to be explored that’s been left in the UFC lightweight champion’s wake.
“Like anyone, I’ve had my eyes opened to by Conor McGregor, his stature and his popularity,” Hearn said. “It is incredible. I think the appetite for MMA in general in Britain is very big right now. So it is something I want to take a good look at and we will see if anything comes from it.”