Q&A with UFC chairman Lorenzo Fertitta

In addition to your Fox debut, you’re building another star in Jones, and now have Brock returning. A good start for your second decade?

“Yes, but our biggest issue lately has been 11 of our last 14 main events have fallen out and required replacement fighters. It’s like there’s been a hex over us. So it’s been a challenge to run the business how we’ve planned to. Forcing to shuffle in guys, re-scramble … it takes the steam out of your sails. It helped having the Fox card in there, and, listen, we’re still kicking [rear] by not cancelling shows like boxing would. If we get a stroke of luck with good health here, we’re off to the races.”

You get that with Lesnar’s return. Our website traffic goes crazy when we report about this guy. What is it about him that you believe makes him so compelling?

“He’s a special persona. His look. His size. He gained fame in the WWE, but to see a man of that size be as athletic as he is in the octagon, it captures the imagination of the public in a very strong way.”

Your sport has risen to the prominence of mainstream sports attention moreso than any other over the last 10 years. What are your plans to continue to grow MMA?

“It all starts with this Fox deal, creating this new layer of fans. We’re starting to see that happening and we’re just really getting started to expand into international markets like Brazil, Asia, Europe, Mexico. The challenge is what to prioritize. We’ve added infrastructure — offices in London, Toronto, Beijing. It’s a challenge, but why we’re bringing in real smart people to deal with it. Five years ago, we had 25 to 30 employees. Now we have 250.”

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Owner/Editor of SevereMMA.com. Writer, Podcaster, Producer of 'Notorious: Conor McGregor' film, 'Conor McGregor: Notorious' TV series, 'Ten Thousand Hours', 'The Fighting Irish' and more documentary films.