Dana White punches back as Oscar De La Hoya claims that UFC underpays its fighters

Golden Boy promoter and boxing hall of famer Oscar De La Hoya might not be done with mixed martial arts promotion after all following his November pay-per-view debut. In fact, De La Hoya says trash talk from UFC president Dana White is only fueling him to further compete. 

De La Hoya, who was in New York on Tuesday promoting this weekend's Canelo Alvarez-Rocky Fielding bout (DAZN, 9 p.m. ET) at Madison Square Garden, has fielded plenty of criticism for allowing Liddell, 48, to return to fighting years after a trio of knockouts led White to convince his good friend to retire. Liddell's poor performance and first-round knockout loss to bitter rival Ortiz only added to the negative headlines. 

"I walked into this interview and there are fighters left to right telling me, 'Thank you for coming into the MMA world. We don't like the UFC. They don't pay us,'" De La Hoya told CBS Sports. "What am I supposed to do? I am going to help the fighter. I am all about the fighters and doing what is best for the fighters. Dana White is criticizing me [by saying], 'You shouldn't have let Chuck Liddell fight.' Yeah, well, you should've paid him well so he didn't have to fight when he is [48] years old. 

"When Chuck Liddell is making his biggest payday with me at the age of [48], you know something is wrong. You know that something is wrong! I'm not saying that I'm going to continue with Golden Boy MMA, but I will tell you one thing: As much as Dana is talking, the more he talks, the more he is luring me in so I can rival his UFC."

White tore into De La Hoya upon hearing a similar interview the boxing legend gave to ESPN's "First Take" and called up Yahoo Sports' Kevin Iole on Wednesday to clean up what he perceives to be lies from the "phony" De La Hoya. 

"The guy wants to act like he's my competitor [promoting MMA]," White said. "I have a real business that I've built over the last 18 years. A real business, and I can hit you with numbers for days about [how successful it is]. How much has Oscar De La Hoya reinvested into the sport of boxing? We've reinvested millions and millions of dollars and we continue to do it every day. The list goes on and on.

"The guy wants to come out and tell lies and say things that make no sense when he doesn't know what he's talking about. He knows nothing about this sport. He doesn't know the f---ing guys' names who are fighting on his card. He's a liar. He's a phony and God help anybody who wants to go fight for Golden Boy. These fighters are grown men and women. All they have to do is take one meeting with Oscar De La Hoya and they'll see what he knows about MMA, which is absolutely f---ing nothing."

Not only did White vehemently deny De La Hoya's claim that UFC title fighters regularly pocketed purses as low as $50,000 for PPV bout that sold 1 million or more, he seemed most angry with the constant narrative that Liddell and Ortiz would be making the biggest purse of their careers with Golden Boy. 

According to California State Athletic Commission records, Liddell made $250,000 and Ortiz pocketed $200,000 for their third bout on Nov. 24, which doesn't include upside from PPV buys. The problem is that multiple reports have claimed the fight only sold between 20,000 and 40,000 buys, which is a number De La Hoya routinely denied on Tuesday despite refusing to share the real number. 

White revealed that Liddell has made $2,742,716 from the UFC since 2011, one year after his fight career ended and a minimum of $2.7 million for each of his final three UFC bouts. Beginning with Liddell's knockout of Randy Couture in 2005, White claims he never made less than $1 million for a fight.

"[De La Hoya] said, 'Chuck Liddell made $200,000 when he fought Tito Ortiz and that pay-per-view did 1.5 million homes. Who kept the rest of the money?'" White said. "Well, let me set the record straight. UFC 47 was on April 2, 2004, and that was the first time Chuck and Tito fought. That pay-per-view did 106,000 buys. At UFC 66, on Dec. 30, 2006, when they fought for the second time, it did 929,000 buys.

"When Chuck fought the second time, he made $2.882 million, and Tito made $2.081 million. Those are the facts, so Oscar is lying again."

CBS Sports Insider

Brian Campbell covers MMA, boxing and WWE. The Connecticut native joined CBS Sports in 2017 and has covered combat sports since 2010. He has written and hosted various podcasts and digital shows for ESPN... Full Bio

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