The two combat sports are perceived to constantly battle for the same audience despite both having successes in their own arenas over the last few years.
Some of that rivalry has been pushed by boxing promoter Bob Arum, who pokes and prods at the UFC and their president Dana White whenever the subject of MMA comes up. For his part, while White is no fan of Arum, he remains a boxing fan and hopes that the sport continues to succeed.
Last weekend, a middleweight title fight between Sergio Martinez and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. pulled in upwards of 475,000 pay-per-view buys, which were great numbers for HBO and the boxing community.
White watched the fight and says he was happy to see boxing pull big numbers on pay-per-view. The rise and success of the UFC doesn’t come at the cost of boxing says White, and he’s more than supportive a sport he still loves.
“I’m happy for them. Whenever boxing does good things and they pull killer pay-per-view (numbers), I’m always watching to see what they do on pay-per-view. And I’m not like those (expletives), they did this much, I’m happy for them. I want to see combat sports do better,” White said following UFC 152 on Saturday.
“I want to see boxing pull bigger numbers.”
White explains that his willingness to support boxing is the biggest difference between him and boxing promoter Bob Arum, who slams MMA any chance he gets.
“I’m not Bob Arum that crusty (expletive). I’m not out there smashing everything we do, and saying negative things about boxing. Boxing is (expletive) great it’s an incredible sport. I wouldn’t be sitting here right now if it wasn’t for the sport of boxing,” White stated.
“I’m not going to play Bob Arum’s little (expletive) game.”
Over the past few years, boxing has gone head to head with UFC events a number of times. The next major head-to-head night will be on Dec 8 when UFC on Fox 5 takes place in Seattle, while on the same night Manny Pacquaio battles Juan Manuel Marquez for the fourth time.
It’s a formula that White is used to seeing, and something that boxing has done for years. There were even times when boxing would go head-to-head with other boxing shows, just to try and go after the competition.
“That’s what they do, they went head to head the same night on TV. They’re crazy,” said White.
No matter what, White remains a big boxing fan and he will surely be tuning in to see Manny Pacquiao’s next fight right after he wraps up UFC on Fox 5. He says he’ll always follow the ‘sweet science’ and no amount of poking and prodding from promoters like Bob Arum will make him change his mind.
“Bob (Arum) is a (expletive). For some reason he hates the fact that this sport is doing well, other guys are able to make money, other athletes are able to perform and do great things,” said White.
“For some reason that bothers that old bastard.”
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