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Inside the UFC NFT Boom With Dapper Labs’ Brittany O’Hagan

The VP of UFC Partnerships at Dapper Labs speaks to Boardroom about the UFC Strike NFT community, headlining a panel at MINT Collective, and the future of the company.

Dapper Labs has rapidly become a leader in blockchain-powered experiences for sports fans. Specifically, the company is responsible for the hottest NFT collections in sports. Following in the footsteps of NBA Top Shot and NFL All Day is the UFC Strike NFT project. Brittany O’Hagan, the VP of UFC partnerships at Dapper Labs, has been there for it all.

UFC Strike launched in January by releasing 100,000 “Fully Loaded” packs from the 200,000 total packs of collectible Moments of the highest-profile fighters and matches in UFC history.

Boardroom recently caught up with O’Hagan to speak about UFC Strike, the effect of social media when it comes to a “Moment”, and the recent MINT Collective event in Las Vegas.

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BRETT PICKERT: For those unfamiliar with UFC Strike, how would you describe it?

BRITTANY O’HAGAN: UFC Strike takes the most iconic moments of UFC fights, mints them into digital collectibles, and allows you to own and collect them. We’re using sports and our partnership with UFC to create an easy and accessible gateway into NFTs and Web3.  Dapper Labs’ products live on the Flow blockchain, which allows for secure collections that you can simply use a credit card for in transactions.  It’s much less intimidating than other crypto products.  

As the space develops and becomes adopted by everyday fans, we’re creating products that help teach about this amazing technology by using people’s passion for sports as an easy entry point.  

BP: How will UFC be different from its NBA and NFL products? Will there be physical, IRL utility?

BOH: Our Dapper Sports products have a few similarities, including incredible video highlights, beautiful production, and the excitement of pack drops, openings, and finding out what Moments you landed. 

We created UFC Strike based on the experiences and behaviors of UFC fans and their connection to the sport, and that connection is the reason we’ve built in different features like incorporating the actual broadcast audio into the NFT Moments, so you’re hearing the call while watching the highlights. It’s a game-changing NFT experience.  

We’re listening to collectors and fans and developing rewards and utility that drive value for our community through digital activations and real-world experiences.  With our partners at UFC so focused on innovation and the fan experience, the joint ideas and access will be unprecedented.

BP: What is it about the UFC fan base that made Dapper identify the sport as its next frontier for growth?

BOH: Their fans are some of the most loyal and active fans in all of sports, and we sensed that they were willing to try new ways to connect to their favorite athletes, storylines, and the incredible UFC brand and experience.  

Our partners at UFC share our vision for how NFTs can transform sports and evolve the fan experience.  We both understand that merging sports and technology in Web3 is going to require experimentation, flexibility, and the ability to pivot to create and lead the way into the future of fandom.  We take risks together, and we’re not afraid to fail because we’re creating innovation that didn’t exist even a few years ago. 

BP: How much does social media impact what becomes a moment?

BOH: There’s no real rule book on how Moments are selected, but our guiding principle is to give the fans the Moments they want. Sometimes we do that by paying attention to general fan interest like you see on social media, crowdsourcing from the community, or even having athletes curate their favorite highlights like Amanda Nunes, who told us without hesitation the exact career highlight she wants turned into an NFT.

BP: Will UFC legends be involved with future releases? 

BOH: Absolutely. We have a treasure trove of historical footage available, so fans can look forward to owning Moments from their favorite legends that paved the way for the present and future of the sport.  

BP: UFC fighters get 50 percent of the revenue generated from the NFT sales. Does any fighter have the chance to have their moment minted if they perform well? Or does the UFC focus on hoping that box office names perform to their ability?

BOH: We see these NFTs as a key component of UFC athletes’ digital legacy that will live on the blockchain in perpetuity, so it’s important to us that the product allows for all athletes to be directly engaged financially.

BP: For those who weren’t able to attend, could you go in detail what you spoke about at the MINT Collective?

BOH: As the only woman on the “The Rise of the UFC” panel, it was an honor to represent the #WomenInNFTs community while sharing how UFC Strike is changing the way the fan experience is brought to life.  

People have always been drawn to collecting things and built an emotional connection to them — whether that’s trading cards, seashells, comics, vinyl records, or like me, years of Sports Illustrated magazines as a 12-year-old. As the world moves progressively more digital, it’s natural for us to adapt and evolve the way in which we collect, and we’re seeing that with the surge of interest in NFTs in society. 

Our mission is to build a next-generation digital collectibles platform to deepen UFC fan engagement and connect people through communities of merged physical and digital experiences. 

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