The UFC president has given his take on why exactly he would be extremely apprehensive about working with the people at SHOWTIME again after his experiences throughout the Mayweather/McGregor-saga.
For what seemed like an eternity it was near-impossible to avoid the incredible level of media coverage that came along with August’s boxing matchup between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor. Indeed it was fun to experience first-hand but after the fight itself played out, the combat sporting world – for the most part – collectively felt slightly fatigued by what was quite a heavy build-up from a promotional stand-point.
One man who had more to do than most was the UFC’s president Dana White, who despite having worked in some of the biggest MMA pay-per-view events of all-time, found himself in a world where even he was something of an outsider.
With ZUFFA now planning on making a run at promotion in the world of boxing, White spoke to Kevin Iole of YahooSports about how they themselves are preparing to approach handling the sport and how he feels that they most certainly can make improvements on the current format.
“I think we can do it a lot better. I think we can actually add something to the sport, I think we can raise the level of the sport of boxing. So I’m interested in doing it.”
“I know that there’s guys at the top that make a lot of money, and then there’s guys on the bottom that don’t make anything. I could put together a system where all these mid-level guys are making good money. Good money, supporting their families, living in good homes, all that stuff. And the big guys make the big money.
“The money can be spread evenly, you got to go out and get a real TV deal — not the Bob Arum TV deal — a real TV deal, and build the same structure that we built the UFC.
“Bob Arum talks all this shit. Bob Arum is literally copying every f**king thing that we have done, and regurgitating everything that I have said over the last 17 years. I’m not saying ‘oh I’m going to come in and fix everything blah, blah, blah’.
“I’m not saying that, I’m saying I have ideas. I think I could do it better, and I’m going to give it a shot.”
White worked closely with SHOWTIME during the leadup to August’s Mayweather/McGregor fight and though the tension that was felt between both parties was concealed relatively well during world-tour, Dana stressed exactly how unable he is to trust Stephen Espinoza and his team, with him even going as far as to claim that the pay-per-view figures they had released after the fight had been false.
“When we did the Mayweather fight, I watched, I took it all in. I just think the guys promoting boxing today are bad at it. I don’t think they do a good job, and I think I can do better. Sounds arrogant, but it’s the truth. I think I can do a better job than these guys do.
“Think about this, and I don’t give a shit about SHOWTIME’s full of shit press release they put out, [Mayweather/McGregor] is the biggest fight ever in combat sports history. The thing did over 6.7 million buys, and if the service didn’t drop, we would have gotten closer to 7 million. It was the biggest boxing event ever, without a boxer. There was only one boxer involved.
“The way that they handled that press release and what they did? I didn’t trust them before, and now I despise those fucking guys. The SHOWTIME guys, I’ll never work with them again. Ever.”
The fight – according to the people at SHOWTIME – fell just short of breaking the all-time record pay-per-view that was set by Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather back in 2015, with it reaching just 4.3 million buys instead of 4.6 million, but still, with the entire circus that came with it now firmly in the rearview mirror, it’s comforting to know that both sports can resume regular service.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena