Oscar De La Hoya's company, Golden Boy Promotions, in less than a decade has become one of the two most powerful boxing promoters.
But its chief executive officer said Friday he is evaluating the feasibility of the company expanding its reach into other sports.
Richard Schaefer, the one-time Swiss bank executive who has built Golden Boy into a dominant player in boxing, said he is exploring the acquisition of a Major League Soccer franchise as well as considering the viability of promoting mixed martial arts fights.
Schaefer said Golden Boy always is looking to expand its sports and entertainment segment but said no MMA deal is imminent. He said Golden Boy first must decide whether it wants to enter the MMA business. If it decides it does, Schaefer said the next step would be whether to acquire an existing platform or start a new business from scratch.
Schaefer said there appears to be "turmoil" in MMA with all the new promotional companies being formed and some athletes "in revolt" against the current business model.
"That turmoil makes a businessman pause and ask, 'Does that create an opportunity?' " he said.
One prominent MMA star, Tito Ortiz, had a representative from the William Morris Agency reach out to Golden Boy to see if there was a possibility of the two sides working together, De La Hoya said.
Schaefer, though, noted that Ortiz is under contract to the UFC and said there have been no negotiations between anyone at Golden Boy and Ortiz.
Schaefer said there were so many deals he was working on that even if he decides the sport is viable in the long run, it doesn't mean that Golden Boy is going to jump in quickly, if at all. He said he is working "day and night" on Golden Boy business and said he can only do so much.
Schaefer said he receives business proposals every day – "some of which require careful evaluation but a lot of which end up right in the garbage can" – but said he was unable to find time for many of them.
He conceded he is looking at the feasibility of Golden Boy acquiring an MLS franchise. He said he was trying to determine if the company opts to enter soccer whether it would be best to pursue the purchase of an existing MLS franchise or apply for an expansion franchise.
He said Golden Boy's interests extend beyond sports and said he was working on a $500 million real estate project in Los Angeles. He also said he's working on a deal to bring a Golden Boy Sports Lounge to Las Vegas and said he hopes to have an announcement on that in the next 30 to 45 days.
Boxing, though, always will be a core business for Golden Boy, Schaefer said.
"Oscar knows boxing inside and out and can relate to the athletes in a unique way," Schaefer said. "He's done a tremendous amount for this sport in the ring as a boxer, and now he's doing a lot for it outside the ring as a promoter.
"If Oscar decides to get into MMA, it doesn't mean he loves boxing less. Oscar has a passion for boxing, and he is committed to building the sport back to where it was when it was recognized everywhere as one of the top sports."
- Oscar De La Hoya
- chief executive officer
- Tito Ortiz