White Slams Arum’s ESPN Deal
Dana White and Bob Arum have made it quite clear that they do not like one another. And ever since White announced that he would be adding boxing to the UFC’s portfolio, Arum has been attacking White and the health of the UFC as a company.
A major point of contention between White and Arum, and to an extent White and the boxing community was the August 2017 fight between Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather.
The pay-per-view generated generated 4.3 million buys in North America – officially making it the second largest pay-per-view event of all time behind Mayweather vs. Pacquiao, which set the North American pay-per-view mark at 4.6 million buys in 2015.
White, who came into the UFC in the early 2000’s helped revitalize the MMA brand when it was purchased by Zuffa. He feels he can do the same thing to the sport of boxing.
“When we did the Mayweather fight, I just watched and took it all in. I just think that all these guys… the guys who are promoting boxing today are bad at it – I don’t think they do a good job, but I can do better. I know it sounds arrogant, but it’s the truth. I think I can do a better job than these guys do. I think we can do it a lot better, a lot better.”
“I think that we can actually add something to the sport, I think that we can raise the level of the sport of boxing and I’m interested in doing it.”
While boxing and the UFC have different pay structures, White has a strategy. He claimed in an interview with Yahoo! Sports, he will scale the money in a manner where it allows him to pay the top boxers the top money, while stacking an entire undercard with competitive fights in a similar setup to the UFC’s events.
White continued his media war with Bob Arum, the CEO of Top Rank – stating that Arum’s multi-year television deal with ESPN was not great.
“HBO has not been doing as much boxing as they have in the past. None of the other guys have been doing as much boxing as they have. F***ing Arum likes to yap, but his deal [with ESPN] isn’t great. The deal that he has isn’t a great deal. So over the next few years, how much money are all these guys really going to be making?,” White explained.
“Just because something has been a certain way for so many years, doesn’t mean it isn’t broken and it can’t be fixed. I know there are guys at the top who make a lot of money and then there are guys at the bottom who don’t make anything. I can put together a system where all of these mid-level guys are making good money, supporting their families and the big guys can make the big money. You can spread the money out evenly.”
“You have to go out and get a real TV deal, not a Bob Arum TV deal. And build the structure that we did in the UFC. Bob Arum is talking all this sh*t and he is copying literally every f***ing thing that we’ve done and regurgitating every f***ing thing that I’ve said over the last 17 years.
“When you put on a fight and you actually draw in the numbers and a f****g guy quits because his knuckle hurts [Lomachenko vs. Rigondeaux]. You are doing the same thing where people are turning off their TVs. That’s the problem, is that these fighters go on ESPN and tank. Do you think the people who bought tickets to that fight and left were happy with the performance?”
“That’s been a big problem with boxing…. do you know how many fighters that I’ve seen in my day who know that they’ve already got their paycheck and that’s it. So I have ideas to fix it. I’m not saying that I’ll come in there and fix everything. But I’m saying that I have ideas, I think I can do it better and I’m going to give it a shot.”