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UFC, Dapper Labs Announce UFC Strike in Bid for NFT Knockout

Sportico
Sportico
 2022-01-20
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UFC and Dapper Labs announced digital collectible platform UFC Strike on Thursday, with plans to launch and release the first set of NFT packs Sunday.

Following UFC 270, UFC Strike will sell 100,000 packs of three digital video moments (for $50 each). The video NFT format has become somewhat familiar since NBA Top Shot’s ascendance last year. But there will be some notable differences this time.

Dapper Labs was able to add broadcast audio to its UFC Strike moments, thanks to UFC’s production control of the company’s events. The collection also features a mixture of men and women fighters—Francis Ngannou, Amanda Nunes, Kamaru Usman, Rose Namajunas, etc.—from launch. There will be a UFC Strike marketplace available at, or soon after, the moments’ debut.

“Our demographics overlap really well with first adopters and tech users… so I think from that perspective, our fans are going to embrace this,” Tracey Bleczinski, UFC’s SVP of global consumer products, said in an interview. “We think this will be a significant revenue stream.”

Bleczinski added that fighters will share in UFC Strike revenues when they are featured in moments. However, their cut won’t be affected by whether they are the ones delivering or taking the encapsulated beating.

UFC Strike will feature recent moments, though Dapper Labs could theoretically go all the way back to UFC 1 as it mines content. “UFC—what they told us was—feel free to do bold things, and so we’re doing that,” Dapper Labs head of partnerships Caty Tedman said.

UFC’s relationship with Dapper Labs stretches back to 2019. The organization was one of the first to sign a deal with then-nascent crypto collectible company, in part because UFC owner Endeavor was an early Dapper backer.

Tedman said Dapper Labs wasn’t set up to manage multiple new, growing products this time last year. But now the company has dedicated teams for each of its sports products, which includes an NFL collectible platform, All Day, currently in closed beta.

While UFC Strike has been in development, the blockchain scene has quickly evolved—and evolved again. Utility has become a common element of NFT releases, and UFC figures to be no different. Whether it comes in the form of digital exclusives or in-person benefits, Bleczinski said UFC is actively discussing future uses, as well as the potential to reward fans with NFTs in certain instances, as the NFL is currently doing .

“Everyone’s talking about the metaverse right now,” Bleczinski said. “It’s such a dynamic, emerging space but gaming, content, NFTs, experiences—it’s all going to intersect.”

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