Some of the greatest finishes in UFC history will now be available to fans in what is essentially the digital version of trading cards when the UFC releases collectible non fungible tokens (NFTs) called UFC Strike at 2 p.m. ET on Sunday.
The NFTs will be $50 per pack and include three tokens, each of which will have short highlights from some of the UFC’s most memorable fights. The UFC, which partnered with Dapper Labs for the deal, will split profits with the athletes on a 50-50 basis.
“This is something that our young fan base clearly enjoys and identifies with, so I think there’s a lot of overlap with the younger UFC fan and those who are interested in collecting these NFT products,” said Lawrence Epstein, the UFC’s chief operating officer. “The thing that’s exciting about this, too, is that it signals sort of an investment in the UFC in the sense that, somebody buys an NFT, they’re probably going to hold onto it for awhile or trade it and buy other ones.
“You’re creating a longer term relationship with that consumer as opposed to a single transaction of buying a pay-per-view or even going to an event. This is a longer term relationship we think that fans are entering into with us that is really exciting, really valuable.”
The NBA has had great success with its NFT collectibles its done with Dapper Labs, which are called NBA Top Shot.
Epstein said it’s the modern version of collecting sports trading cards.
“These are going to have short videos of iconic moments from epic UFC fights,” Epstein said. “I think about them in the context of a digital video trading card. Instead of doing like we used to do and going down to 7-11 and buying a pack of baseball cards and chewing the gum and looking to see who you got in the five, 10 or 20 cards that were in the pack, it’s now done digitally.
“And instead of it being a static image, it’s a video image. So it could be a famous knockout from Francis Ngannou, say when he knocked out Alistair Overeem. Maybe’s it’s that iconic knee that Jorge Masvidal hit to knock out Ben Askren.”
Epstein said he feels the NFTs will be complementary to physical trading cards.
“People like to have assets that they can hold and touch and carry around with them, but in our modern world, they also enjoy having these digital assets on their phones and having their entire inventory with them in their pockets,” he said.