Bob Arum calls Dana White, UFC desperate for considering boxing promotion
Arum, a Hall of Fame boxing promoter, took issue with White's comments that boxing is killing itself
The war of words between UFC president Dana White and Hall of Fame boxing promoter Bob Arum has been ongoing for nearly a full decade.
So when Arum, the 85-year-old CEO of Top Rank who is still as fiery and competitive as ever, heard White's recent comments about the sweet science, he couldn't hold back from chiming in.
White, a longtime boxing fan and former trainer, was a guest earlier this week on the Wall Street Journal's "Unnamed Podvideocast with Jason Gay" and reiterated his belief that boxing is its own worst enemy.
"Everything we've done hasn't been about right here and now, it's about the future of the sport," White said. "One of the things that boxing did and continues to do to kill itself is never care about the future. Every boxing event is like a going out of business sale and they're trying to get every dime they can out of you, and stuff it in their pockets and they don't put any money back into it."
White, who cryptically wore a "Zuffa Boxing" shirt during two of the four media conference tour stops to promote the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor pay-per-view blockbuster in August, also teased a possible return to promoting more than just mixed martial arts.
"I could see bringing boxing under our umbrella and trying to see what we could do with that," White said. "I could see doing that."
Arum fired back Wednesday during an interview with NYFights.com, calling UFC desperate.
"You have to understand, UFC is a monopoly," Arum said. "The money they earn on a fight because they pay their athletes 20 percent of the gross — we pay around 80 percent — what they say they're investing back in the business, they're investing in themselves.
"They put money in their pockets! That's not investing in anything. In boxing, there are a large number of promoters, and when a promoter has a successful event and there's a profit he earns, he puts it back in the company. What the f--- is White talking about? White is speaking from desperation now, he's the spokesperson for what could be a failing business!"
White's comments come at a time when UFC has struggled to sell PPVs amid a lack of star power thanks to absences from the cage for McGregor, Ronda Rousey, Jon Jones and Cody Garbrandt over the first half of 2017.
After a record-breaking 2016 in which the company sold to new ownership for $4 billion, UFC has been forced to attempt desperate measures -- everything from floating a gluttony of interim titles to often eschewing its own rankings system in favor of making fights between stars (Michael Bisping-Georges St-Pierre) -- to create interest this year.
In fact, the combined butyrates of the last two PPV cards -- UFC 215 and 216 -- weren't expected to eclipse 250,000.
"My thoughts are that UFC is desperate. Their numbers are way off, they have no marquee star," Arum said. "Look at their PPV numbers. They barely break 100,000 homes on their shows. They're having trouble getting renewal on their contract with FOX. They have to do something. One of things they may try and fall back on and try and acquire a boxing presence. About a year ago, I was approached by someone repping UFC, they wanted to buy Top Rank."
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