Friday, March 31, 2023  |



Does Dana White have the wrong idea about promoting boxing?

UFC President Dana White
Fighters Network

Promoter Bob Arum has been asked for the last two-plus years about UFC strongman Dana White’s entry into the pro boxing sphere.

White hasn’t yet edged his way into the fray and we don’t know when – or if – he will actually dip both feet into the pugilism space. However he has been talking about that, off and on, and lately, it’s been on.

White told Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated that he and UFC pay people fairly and well. Boxers should expect the same if and when White branches out, he said.

“There’s always this talk. You know we went through this talk for almost 20 years where, ‘Oh you don’t pay your (UFC) fighters and boxers get more,’” White told Mannix. “The fighters get paid. Everybody gets paid. Everybody is being paid and it’s not just the top 2 and 3. Everybody on the roster – I got over 600 guys that are getting paid and making a living and feeding their families and buying houses and cars and all these other things. Now when you look at boxing, a handful of guys make crazy money and that’s the way it’s always been built. And then you have thousands of people that don’t. So I think that we can create a pay system (in boxing) that benefits everybody. There are still fights out there where you just turn pro and guys are making $400 to fight, $100 per round and things like that. You got guys fighting for world titles for $10,000 and $15,000. That’s what I want to fix.”

Bob Arum spoke to White’s suggestion that his move into boxing will be beneficial to the lower rung fighters.

“Let me uncover the hidden element in the room. He has operated in the UFC, which, for reasons only politicians know and lobbyists know, the UFC is not under the aegis of the Muhammad Ali Act. Now boxing, boxers and promoters are governed by the Ali Act,” Arum said. “That insures fair treatment for the fighters. Now when White now discovers that, at least for boxing, he will be under the Ali Act, it will be additional pressure that the UFC fighters will want to be under the Muhammad Ali Act and it will upset completely the way he does business in the UFC and it will change forever the whole dynamic between the UFC and its fighters. It’s a whole different ball game and the idea that undercard fighters are going to make more money with the UFC is ridiculous. Because he’s looking at guys, four-round fighters who are finding their way and fight for very little money…but on cards put on by PBC or us or (Matchroom Boxing Group Managing Director) Eddie Hearn, the fighters, the undercard fighters fighting eight and even six-round fights, are compensated a lot better than the UFC downcard fighters, a lot better!”

Arum continued, “It’s only the hundred dollars-a-round and so forth in fights they place off television in small venues that he’s talking about. He’s not talking about the cards that people see either on streaming or (the fights) they don’t see at all because only the main event or co-main event is shown, that regular promoters, that big promoters put on…so, he’s wrong! In other words, you look at their card, their biggest card of the year, last Saturday, and there were fighters on the card who were making far, far less fighting equivalent down the card fights on either PBC, Top Rank, ESPN or Matchroom.”

Expect more of this back and forth skirmish, or less, depending on when White actually does pull the trigger on his entry push into pugilism. Back in October of 2017, White said, “I could see bringing boxing under our umbrella,” and that accelerated chatter that he was going to get into the ring with the Arums and Hearns.

Two years later and it’s still not beyond, as far as we know, the chatter stage.



Michael Woods hosts the Everlast TALKBOX podcast and also does blow-by-blow commentary for “Facebook Fightnight Live,” produced by Linacre Media. You can follow Woods on Twitter @Woodsy1069.



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