COMMENTARY | Put a microphone in front of UFC President Dana White for more than a couple of minutes and, after hearing the usual testosterone-driven hyperbole, you'll likely hear some raging negative comments about the sport that serves as his company's chief combat sport rival.
Despite claiming to be a big boxing fan, White has had little positive to say about the sport or those who currently run the sport.
Recently, White talked with mixed martial arts website, 5thround.com, and made some incendiary comments aimed at promoter Bob Arum and the perceived folly of putting Manny Pacquiao in the ring against Juan Manuel Marquez for the fourth time:
"Dumbest fight in history. Bob Arum is a moron. You don't take that fight, you idiot. Why would you do that fight? It's all about the money, that's why. That was a money fight, that's what that fight was done for. He should have fought Bradley. Bradley's the fight they should have done. He would have knocked Bradley out, he would have got his belt back and now he's back in the position he should have been in. [Pacquiao's] one of the best fighters in the world. He goes out and fights Marquez again? Bob Arum is the dumbest promoter in the history of the world."
Oddly, this is a complete reversal of White's usual anti-boxing, anti-Arum rants.
Usually the UFC ringmaster is hyper-critical of Arum (and boxing power brokers in general) for not making the best available fights. Now, in this case, he argues that a return bout with Bradley, likely a much easier contest, would've been a smarter option over the more dangerous Marquez. So, basically, he's arguing that Pacquiao should've been hand-fed the softer opposition in order to maintain his brand and keep him at the top of the sport.
It sure appears as though White, like any other good promoter, is talking out of both sides of his mouth. He may also just be looking to take a quick jab at Arum, who, in the past, has made some negative statements about White and the UFC product.
Over the last couple of years, the aged boxing promoter has referred to UFC fans as "a bunch of skinhead white guys" and then compared the sport of mixed martial arts to "guys rolling around like homosexuals on the ground." On various occasions, Arum has also referred to White as "nuts" and "a loose cannon."
The rivalry has been going back and forth between the two promoters since the UFC began making a name for itself and since White decided that shooting down boxing would be one of the easiest ways to create an identity for his own brand of combat sport.
However, Arum will probably get the last laugh in this little dust-up. His efforts have likely resulted in a pay-per-view buy rate that once again surpasses one million households for a bout that featured one of the sporting world's most talked about moments of the year when Marquez knocked Pacquiao cold at the end of the sixth round.
White would be better served tending to his own product, which has grown exceedingly stale with time, and has produced mixed results in terms of a much-desired expansion to the mainstream. But everyone who has followed White, even casually, knows that his modus operandi is more slash and burn than class and diplomacy.
For the most part, the fighters from boxing and mixed martial arts are respectful to one another and actually share a healthy camaraderie. Those that have the biggest boxing vs. MMA beefs are those that never actually do any of the fighting---Fans and management-types.
There is room for both sports and, yeah, there's even room for both White and Arum. Some of these guys just need to realize that the fights belong in the ring (or octagon) and not delivered through the media via snarky little videos.
Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and a close follower of the sport for more than thirty years. His work can also be found on Fox Sports and as Editor-in-Chief of The Boxing Tribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing. For breaking news, additional analysis, and assorted crazy commentary, follow him on Facebook, @TheBoxingTribune or on Twitter, @BoxingBTBC.
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- Sports & Recreation
- Dana White
- Bob Arum
- Manny Pacquiao
- mixed martial arts