The war of worlds between two of the most powerful men in fight sports, Top Rank CEO Bob Arum and UFC President Dana White seems to have no end in sight.
The two executives have been trading barbs for years, but things heated up when White announced that the UFC’s parent company was going to enter the boxing market in 2018.
The UFC was the co-promoter of Conor McGregor’s professional debut in boxing against returningFloyd Mayweather at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
McGregor was stopped in the tenth round, but the fight that many saw as an exhibition, did huge numbers with an alleged four million pay-per-view buys and a gate of $55 million.
White is said to be holding meetings in the new year with industry insiders and believes a lot of boxers will flock to his new promotional banner.
Two companies White wants nothing to do with are Arum’s Top Rank and Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions, due to issues with both Arum and Oscar De La Hoya.
Arum believes White’s main reason behind his decision to enter boxing is because the UFC is starting to financially crumble.
“Who gives a sh*t about White, he’s a piece of crap. It’s an acknowledgment how strong boxing is. He has the UFC that’s cratering, and he needs boxing to save himself,” Arum said.
Having said that, Arum has absolutely no problem with White’s company becoming a promotional player in boxing.
For years, White’s company has claimed that boxing is mostly made up of a much older audience, while the UFC’s audience is a younger demographic.
White’s motivation to enter boxing debunks that claim, says Arum.
“If Dana White started promoting boxing, it would be terrific,” Arum said.
“Because it would show what we have now proven that boxing is not an old man’s sport, that our demographics are young. We’ve been up against them twice, and we’re up against them now for the third time, but a leveled playing field. Free television on ESPN, free television on FOX and FS1, and a lot of kids don’t have premium television because they can’t afford $15 a month.”
“So when we have a leveled playing field, we beat the pants off them [in the ratings], not only just overall rating but the demographics that everybody is looking for.”