Dana White On His UFC Schedule Clashing With Boxing: “That’s Like The Toughest Kid In School Picking On The Biggest Nerd”
By: Hans Themistode
UFC President Dana White has pumped out event after event after event.
He’s run into competition from other sports such as the NBA and NHL Playoffs as well as the NFL regular season. Still, he’s chugged right along and hasn’t worried about his ratings. For the most part, White has built himself a well-oiled machine over in the UFC. So it comes as no surprise to hear that he isn’t worried about several notable boxing events falling on the same date as his.
“My daughter’s 14, her Instagram account is private and she gets more views than Showtime Boxing,” said White to The Athletic.
With recent UFC Pay-Per-View events such as Daniel Cormier vs Stipe Miocic 3 and Kamaru Usman vs Jorge Masvidal raking in 500,000 and 1.3 million buys respectively, White hopes the money keeps adding up.
For the most part, White has had the combat spotlight to himself. Most of that was due to COVID-19 forcing major boxing events to the sidelines as they figured out their new norm.
Well, they’ve figured things out quickly as boxing on Pay-Per-View made its return to the schedule.
With matchups such as Gervonta Davis vs Leo Santa Cruz and this weekend’s doubleheader event featuring the Charlo twins, White finds himself with some real competition for a change.
While boxing may be bringing out the big guns this weekend and over the next few months, White views his so called competition as a mismatch.
“That’s like the toughest kid in school picking on the biggest nerd.”
The promotion of this weekend’s boxing Pay-Per-View doubleheader has been spread across multiple platforms. White, of course, has been busy promoting his Pay-Per-View card as well which will air tomorrow night. But even with five world title fights taking place in the squared circle, White believes that his track record against boxing speaks for itself.
“The world of boxing hasn’t been able to do what I’ve been able to do [in MMA] over the last 20 years.”
With both the UFC and Charlo twin double headliner beginning roughly around the same time which would be 7 p.m. eastern time, and ending at approximately the same time as well, fans will have to choose which side of the fence they decide to support.
Bob Arum Tells Boxing Insider Radio “We’re in Identical situation” as Dana White
COVID-19, may have forced us all inside of our homes, but thanks to Boxing Insider Radio, you can still stay up to date on everything boxing related. Instead of having shows once a week, fans can expect to catch the crew a few times per week during this quarantine. To tune into the show simply subscribe to Boxing Insider Radio on Spotify, iTunes or on Boxinginsider.com
Sports are all different. In no way is dribbling a basketball even remotely close to throwing a football. Pushing around a hockey puck on ice is completely different to kicking around a soccer ball on a grassy field.
Yet, no matter how different each sport is from one another, in this point in time, they are all analogous.
Thanks to COVID-19, all sports have been forced to cancel or postpone their seasons until further notice. While every sport sits back and awaits until they are given the green light to come back outside, UFC President Dana White has decided to run through the red light.
On March 14th, during the heart of this global pandemic, White carried out his Fight Night 170 card in front of no fans. Those who wanted to complain, chose not to as many were just happy to have something other spongebob to watch. White’s three shows that followed however, were forced to cancel due to the virus.
Instead of throwing in the towel, White decided to get creative. His idea was simple, rent an island and host his fights there. “Fight Island” became both catchy and a reality. But it was also short lived as the higher ups at ESPN decided to axe the event. A decision that promoter Bob Arum agreed with.
“ESPN and Disney are responsible citizens of our country and of the state of California,” said Bob Arum on a recent phone interview with Boxing Insider radio. “They decided that this event would jeopardize the citizens of California. So they decided against the event. I think that was appropriate.”
With White looking like a complete fool as he tried to wiggle his way around this pandemic, now would be the perfect time for Arum to rip into him. To say that the two haven’t liked each other over the years would be putting it mildly.
In 2017, White didn’t hold back with his words for Arum after he was able to officially make the Floyd Mayweather vs Conor McGregor mega fight.
“It just goes to show what an asshole Bob Arum is actually,” said White. “It was easily one of the easiest fights I’ve ever done.”
Later that year, Arum had some choice words of his own for White.
“He’s a piece of shit. He’s got a UFC that’s cratering and he needs boxing to save himself.”
The opening was there for Arum to take another shot at White, and many believed it would have been justified. But instead, Arum chose to take a different and much more polite route.
“Now as far as Dana White is concerned, he is of a completely different political pursuit than I am in. I think that a lot of people that think like him tend to minimize the risk of the Coronavirus. And therefore I think that what he was doing was irresponsible. But he looks at it as hey, we have to get back to normal and I can’t wait to get back to normal so I’m going to take it into my own hands. Well, I disagree with that but I’m not going to attack his motives. He obviously thinks a lot differently than I do.”
For the stunt that White pulled trying to stage his events in the midst of a pandemic, he’s been called selfish and irresponsible. But in actuality, he had a bit of money on his mind.
When White and the UFC signed their deal with ESPN back in 2018, they were reportedly obligated to put on roughly 42 shows a year. But with this pandemic having no end date in sight, it’s safe to say that White would be missing out on a boatload of money.
But White isn’t the only one in a desperate situation to get his hands on the ridiculous money promised to him by ESPN.
“We’re in identical situations because our contracts are similar, I believe in terms of our outputs. But the way that you deal with that situation is once things open up and you can responsibly do events with or without spectators, then you put on three or four events in a week.”
“But we will catch up and do all of the events that we are required to do by ESPN and I’m sure the UFC will do the same thing. But the solution is not to rush events when we’re in the situation that we’re in now. But to figure out how we’re going to make up and stage those events when we’re able to, in a responsible manner.”
UFC Joins Boxing and All Other Sports on The Sidelines
By: Hans Themistode
COVID-19, has forced the boxing world into a corner, and unlike most situations when it would simply fight back, this time around, it has no other choice but to continue to take it’s beating.
Much like the rest of the sports world, boxing has learned to take a backseat. The NBA, MLB, Tennis, Golf and various other sports have thrown up their white flags. COVID-19, is simply too much for any of them at the moment.
While other sports decided that it didn’t make sense fight a fight that it simply couldn’t win, the UFC, and most notably Dana White, decided that they had other plans. His huge UFC 249 event which was scheduled to take place on April 18th, was going to happen no matter what.
Screw the safety of the fighters and forget about the advice given by safety officials everywhere. There is money to be made and White was determined to get every single penny of it.
With no arena across the globe willing to play host to any of his events, White flexed his muscles and his wallet, and went ahead and secured an island to hold his fights.
Things were looking good. UFC 249 is roughly a week away and everything seemed to be going according to plan. That was the case until White received an expected call. There just aren’t many men that can make White back down, but this around, he had no other choice.
“Today we got a call from the highest level you can go at Disney and the highest level of ESPN,” said White. “One thing that I’ve said since we’ve started our relationship and partnership with ESPN is that it’s been an incredible one. It’s been an amazing partnership.”
“ESPN has been very, very good to us. And the powers that be there asked me to stand down and not do this event next Saturday.”
This latest cancelation of White’s event, marks his fourth straight.
The sport of boxing has recently grown accustomed to the word canceled. Boxing events dating all the way through the end of the Summer have been canceled. Even the powerhouse global subscription streaming services of DAZN has recently announced that they are canceling all boxing events until at least July.
The UFC and Dana White now find themselves in the same boat as every other sport. Sitting on the sidelines with their hands crossed as they await health officials to tell them that it’s safe to play outside again.
“While the organization was fully prepared to proceed with UFC 249, ESPN has requested the postponement of the event and subsequent bouts until further notice in light of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the promotion said in a prepared statement released after White’s announcement. “UFC looks forward to resuming the full live events schedule as soon as possible.”
The mundane lifestyle that COVID-19 is currently providing is something that we are all getting used to. Staring up at the ceiling lights or watching every single movie produced on Netflix has become the new norm.
Sports will eventually come back into the lives of everyone. The exact timetable is just unknown. But still, even with question marks at every single turn, White has promised his fans one thing.
“We will be the first sport back,” White said. “‘Fight Island’ is real. It’s a real thing. The infrastructure’s being built right now, and that’s really going to happen and it will be on ESPN.”
Coronavirus Forces PBC, Top Rank and Several Other Promoters to Postpone All Boxing Events
By: Hans Themistode
Fans that were in search of a reprieve from the Coronavirus pandemic, won’t be receiving one anytime soon.
Over the past few days, boxing events all around the world have been postponed. From big name fighters such as Shakur Stevenson and Naoya Inoue, to lesser known names and shows such as Michael Conlan and his annual headlining card which was due to take place in Madison Square Garden, in New York City on St. Patrick’s Day.
Every single one of those aforementioned shows have fallen victim to this pandemic that has affected not just boxing, but every sport around the world.
Still, even with the immediate future of boxing appearing extremely bleak, fans were thrown a lifeline of sorts.
Over in Hinckley, Minnesota at the Grand Casino, a small card headlined by undefeated prospect Brandun Lee took place in front of a crowd of absolutely no one on March 13th. It wasn’t exactly the most exciting card as Lee cruised to an easy third round stoppage victory. But for fans who have been deprived of sports for what feels like forever, they gladly accepted it.
If obscure names such as Brandon Lee and Camilo Prieto could be given the chance to fight and entertain those watching at home, then it gave fans everywhere hope that the big names associated with the sport could continue to enter the ring.
That last glimmer of hope however, has officially been taken away.
Promoters from every part of the world have officially waived the white flag in regards to future shows that were set to take place. Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) has pulled the plug on their March and April events. Including a Phoenix, Arizona card headlined by WBC Super Middleweight champion David Benavidez.
“Due to the growing concerns over COVID-19, Premier Boxing Champions scheduled events for March and April have been cancelled and will be rescheduled for a later date,” said PBC through an email statement.
“At this time there’s no information regarding future shows. The health and safety of the boxers, fans and those working the events are of utmost importance to us,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions and lead promoter for the cancelled shows. “We are all disappointed and as we get more information we will address future events.”
PBC, was soon followed by other heavy hitting boxing promoters such as Bob Arum and Top Rank.
“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Top Rank has postponed all events scheduled for March and April. We are monitoring the situation closely. We will reschedule the shows as soon as it’s safe and reasonable to do so.”
“The health and safety of our fighters, staff and ESPN’s incredible production team is the most important thing as we plan our next steps,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “We look forward to the day when we can bring our loyal fans world-class boxing once again. But exercising caution is the most prudent thing to do at this moment.”
Even stars who seem to be bigger than life such as four division champion Canelo Alvarez have been forced to take a backseat. His upcoming May 2nd, contest against Billy Joe Saunders will now be pushed back to at least June, if not later.
Those who were looking to beat the rush and purchased their tickets early on Ticketmaster, will be issued a full refund for every event.
All ticket orders will be refunded from your original point of purchase. If you have purchased online through Ticketmaster, all orders will be refunded automatically. Orders purchased with a credit card will be refunded to the credit card used for purchase. For third party purchases, please reach out to your original point of purchase for information regarding your credit. Please allow up to 30 days for this refund to reflect with your financial institution. If you have any questions, please contact Ticketmaster’s Customer Service line at 1-800-653-8000.
As is always the case in all parts of life, there is always a rebel. One person or entity that laughs in the face of those who are following the rules. In this case, UFC President Dana White plays the role of that rebellious figure. This past weekend on March 14th, White went through with his UFC event which took place in Brazil.
It may not have been in the best interest of his fighters, but fans who were stuck inside of the house searching for something other than Spongebob to watch, were ecstatic to actually see sports on their television screens. No fans were in attendance, but the fights took place without a problem.
Hopefully fans cherished that moment, as that could be the last time they see any new sports related content for quite some time.
“We can’t do it,” said White. “We have no choice now but to postpone these fights.”
White’s new comments were a far cry from the statement he made just a few days prior. The change of heart from White came from President Trump and his recommendation to postpone his events.
“We’re not stopping,” said White when asked if he would consider postponing fights last week.
Now, just like every other sport, the UFC is at a complete standstill.
The sport of boxing and UFC are different in many ways. But they believe in the same concept. Beat your opponent up until they quit.
At this point in time, it seems as though both the UFC and boxing have been given no choice but to do just that. At least temporarily.
Boxing, UFC, basketball and every other sport across the world has waived the white flag. The Coronavirus has won.
What is the Hold Up for Zuffa Boxing?
By Bryanna Fissori
It has been about a year now since the combat sports world first saw the “Zuffa Boxing” image across UFC President Dana White’s red Reebok shirt. This was during the hype for the Conor McGregor vs Floyd Mayweather Jr fight in August of 2017. How the time does fly . . .
Zuffa Boxing Recap
Shortly after the bout, which was largely a financial success, Dana White announced that the rumors were true. The UFC parent company was indeed looking to enter the boxing ring as the world’s newest promotion on the block.
Over the last year, White has made a number of claims about what the promotion will and won’t do. Here are a few:
- Zuffa Boxing will NOT have a roster of current UFC fighters
- Cards will be structured so that all of the fights are hyped (as opposed to just the main event, which is common in boxing)
- Up and coming fighters will be heavily promoted to build star-status
- The promotion will not be structured under a sanctioning body
- Zuffa Boxing will have its own champions
- He will not work with Oscar De La Hoya or Bob Arum
Reasons for the Delay
There have been rumors that White’s first big signing would be Anthony Joshua, which is certainly a go-big-or-go-home type of move. Though that doesn’t seem to be in the cards right now, it would be a stretch to think that this the primary reason for the delay. White has also commented that Joshua’s manager, Eddie Hern is “oversensitive.” No one ever said White was good at making friends.
The UFC has certainly kept White busy, hosting a card nearly every weekend. Plus additional shows like “Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series” and “Dana White- Looking for a Fight.” Both of these require White’s presence. Though a busy man, that is certainly not the only reason for the delay in Zuffa Boxing progress.
Status: It’s Complicated
All of White’s previous assertions about what Zuffa Boxing will and won’t do could be complicated. The promotion will need a full roster if it is going to operate independently of other organizations and sanctioning bodies. It would need to the time and resources for promotion, and is limited on partners with De La Hoya and Arum out of the question. Not to mention the legalities of skirting the Muhamad Ali Act.
“This is one of those things I said I’m going to put my toe in, I’m not diving in head first. We’re still working on stuff. A lot of things didn’t line up the way that I thought they would in the boxing world when I said we’re about to make a ballsy move,” White said on UFC Unfiltered.
“The thing kind of took a left turn, so I wasn’t able to make an offer on that deal yet. But when that deal does happen, and when it comes, I’m going to jump in.”