UFC’s Dana White insists that boxing promoters will have neither the moolah nor chutzpah to stage a fight at the latest entertainment spectacle in Las Vegas, The Sphere.
In an interview with a group of reporters earlier this week, the CEO of the UFC relayed his “obsession” about trying to promote an event at the state-of-the-art venue (owned by Madison Square Garden’s James Dolan) next September, timed for Mexican Independence Day. White claimed boxing promoters do not have the coffers to put on a show at the lauded venue.
(The UFC staged an event at Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena last month that was centered around the Mexican holiday. White told the media afterward that he intends to make it a tradition, even if it conflicts with the scheduling of boxing promoters.)
“I’m just gonna tell you right now, I will put on the greatest live combat sports event that anybody has ever seen at The Sphere on Mexican Independence Day,” White said. “I f—— guarantee it. I’m so in on this it’s not even funny.
“You know I will spend the money to make it right. Boxing’s gonna f— around with them on the tickets. They don’t have the money to do it. None of those bums have the money to do it. I’ll do it.”
When asked if a possible partnership between boxing promoters Oscar De La Hoya of Golden Goy and Bob Arum of Top Rank to stage a super card at The Sphere could be a legitimate threat to the UFC’s aspirations to host a fight at the same venue, White went on the offensive.
“They can join all the forces they want to join,” White said. “Those guys, all they’ll do is fight with each other, who’s gonna spend the money, who’s gonna be reimbursed, who’s gonna get their money out first. It’ll turn into a big fight and eventually turn into a lawsuit and it will be an absolute f——- nightmare for The Sphere.
“Good luck to them. What are they gonna do? Oscar gonna put up the money? Bob gonna put up the money? Who’s gonna put up the money? Both of them? Can’t wait to see it. I can’t wait to see it. …You think they’re both gonna put up the money? You think they’re gonna pay to program The Sphere and put on an in-house show?”
White, whose animus for Arum and De La Hoya has been public knowledge for a long time, then went on a tirade attacking the state of boxing.
“I’m obsessed,” White said of staging a fight at The Sphere. “Nobody will do it better than we will. That’s a fact. I don’t care what they say. And listen if boxing can go in there and they can put on an event and they can do it, more power to ‘em. You know what happens when a boxing event happens. It’s a going-out-of-business sale. ‘Let’s grab as much money as we possibly can and make one big fight with a shitty undercard. Let’s not spend any money on production.’ Good luck seeing a f—— replay.
“C’mon you guys. You know better. You guys just like to push my button to get me to say a bunch of sh!t and chop it up and put it up on social media. You know the truth. You know what’s up. You know they’re not going to do it. ‘Let’s unite.’ Bob’s 92. Oscar’s a f—— lunatic. C’mon.”
Sean Nam is the author of Murder on Federal Street: Tyrone Everett, the Black Mafia, and the Last Golden Age of Philadelphia Boxing.