Oscar De La Hoya says there are a number of reasons Golden Boy MMA only had one show, but that the biggest one was UFC President Dana White.
“I did that one show,” De La Hoya told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour. “It was such a great experience. Obviously, it’s not my sport that I know, that I’m knowledgable about, [but] it’s still the fight game. It’s still the same promotion. It’s still — you have fighter, you have the venues, you have pay-per-views, it’s all the same. The business model is all the same. We had the arena jam-packed; pay-per-views didn’t do too well for certain reasons, certain cable operators weren’t working with us, but I think it’s just because I received too much heat from Dana White. That’s literally the bottom line. And also being busy with Golden Boy Promotions, I decided I’m going to stay in my own lane.
“I did it because fighters came to me and said, ‘Hey, why don’t you help us out here? We want to try something new here. We want to try to build something here with you.’ So I tried it, and it was a great experience. I actually really loved it, the atmosphere and the fans, it’s really engaging. It was a lot of fun, but the bottom line is, I received a lot of heat for not really knowing the insights of MMA and everything that goes on, all the players and the fighters. Dana criticized me and all that, and it’s for a good reason. There were some exchanges going back and forth with me and Dana, which I apologized for, 1000 percent.”
Golden Boy MMA put on their lone show back in 2018, headlined by a trilogy bout between former UFC light heavyweight champions Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz. The event stirred the ire of White, who eight years earlier played a major role in convincing Liddell to retire, and it kicked off a feud between the UFC exec and De La Hoya.
In the ensuing the years, things turned nasty between the two, with De La Hoya once even challenging White to a fight. But now, “The Golden Boy” wants to set aside their differences and squash the beef.
“I think there’s still a lot of business to be done between me and Dana in the future,” De La Hoya said. “I know that he was trying to cross over here to boxing. I don’t think it’s been successful, or I don’t think he’s really pushed it that much, but if he ever wants to talk and sit down, imagine merging our two powerhouses together and creating something together. It would be pretty unique.”
As for what that unique thing might be, De La Hoya didn’t have specifics. De La Hoya noted, however, that given their respective track records of success, if two of them can put the past behind them and find common ground, he believes it could be huge.
“I would love to work with him,” De La Hoya said of White. “It would be a lot of fun and interesting to build something together, because boxing is a very fragmented sport, and what the Fertitta brothers did and what Dana did with the UFC is incredible. Buying the company many years ago, building it into a powerhouse, building it into a league, building it into what it is now is just so admirable. So yeah, I’m extending an olive branch. I would love to sit down and talk and smooth things out, let bygones be bygones, and then focus on business. ...
“No hard feelings. It is what it is. I said a couple of things that were not nice, he said a couple of things that were pretty below the belt, but no hard feelings whatsoever. It is what it is. We can move on as adults and figure out something, if he wants to. I’m here, I’m all ears. I’m more than happy and willing to listen and to create something special, because I’m a businessman. I love to build a foundation that can be very, very special, and me and Dana coming together can be very special.”