Dana White and Oscar De La Hoya go way back. The UFC president and the boxer-turned-promoter have a long, positive relationship. White was just at De La Hoya’s bout between Canelo Alvarez and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
So when De La Hoya posted a scathing rant on Facebook about the possibility of a boxing match between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor — and how it might kill boxing — White was stunned.
“It’s fuckin’ insane,” White told reporters Wednesday during an appearance before a Mets game at Citifield in New York. “I don’t know what the hell … I think he’s f*cking nuts. First of all, me and De La Hoya have been cool for a long time. I like De La Hoya. He’s not a bad guy. I’ve supported him at a lot of events. I was just at the Canelo-Chavez Jr. fight. The list goes on and on. It’s so weird for him to come out and act like this.”
White is taking the lead on putting together the boxing matchup between McGregor, who is under contract with the UFC, and Mayweather, the undefeated (and currently retired) boxer. The UFC and McGregor have agreed on their portion of the deal and now White will negotiate the rest with Mayweather and his team.
Last week, De La Hoya wrote a long post on Facebook about the absurdity of the bout, how both fighters only care about the money and why boxing “might not ever recover” from it.
“At this point, only we can shut the circus down by making it clear that we won’t pay to see a joke of a fight and telling our casual-fan friends that they shouldn’t either,” De La Hoya wrote.
White responded on social media Wednesday, tagging De La Hoya in a video post of De La Hoya proposing a matchup between McGregor and Alvarez, the boxer he promotes with Golden Boy.
Alvarez has a bout with Gennady Golovkin coming up in September. White said De La Hoya seems to have an inferiority complex.
“You’re acting like you’re afraid your own fight isn’t good enough,” White said. “Listen, Triple G vs. Canelo is a great fight. I’ve said it a million times. I’ll watch that fight. Just for the record, four months ago he was asking for Canelo vs. McGregor.”
People in boxing have ripped the UFC and MMA for years, but De La Hoya is not one of them. He’s been an ally of White’s for a long time, especially when it comes to his praise of the likes of Ronda Rousey and Holly Holm. White said he did not expect De La Hoya to be the one sounding this alarm.
“He’s urging boxing fans not to watch it because it’s a disgrace,” White said. “First of all, 100 percent he’s being an absolute hater on the thing. It’s just so transparent and so weird.
“Bob Arum is a scumbag. If he had the last fighter on Earth and I had the last fighter on Earth, I wouldn’t do a deal with that guy. He’s a piece of sh*t. I always like Oscar and Oscar and I have always had a good rapport and it’s just so out of left field and so weird.”
De La Hoya’s main argument is that the fight is a farce, one of the greatest boxers of all time against someone who doesn’t have a pro boxing match under his belt. Granted, McGregor is a UFC champion, a decorated striker with some amateur experience, but Mayweather is a master of his craft.
White doesn’t necessarily disagree with the unorthodox nature of the bout, but he’s sure of one thing: People want to see it and the two fighters want to make it happen.
“Is it a weird fight? Yeah,” White said. “I’ve said it many times, this isn’t in the best interest of my business to do this fight with Floyd Mayweather. This is the fight that both these guys want. You guys are baseball writers and you’re asking me about this fight.
“It’s the fight that people want to see. At the end of the day, as a fight promoter, even when it’s not in my best interest, you have to put on the fights that people want to see.”