Jackassery of recent vintage, as predicted, from two of the most prominent figures in the boxing and mixed martial arts world, respectively. First up, UFC boss Dana White, badmouthing boxing:
Second up, Top Rank Promotions boss Bob Arum, badmouthing MMA:
I think some of the MMA fans I chatted with about this on Twitter after White went off — they had it about right. White, they noted, is a promoter — he’ll say whatever he thinks will help sell his show, despite his reputation with some hardcore UFC heads for being a “straight shooter.” Arum, I’ll say from the boxing side, has indicated time and again he’ll say any old thing at all, usually if he thinks it will help him sell his show, and he doesn’t even pretend he’s doing something other than that. Check out his sly smile mid-interview.
I do wish it didn’t all come across as doing the opposite of what each intended, but then, I’m not a boxing or MMA promoter, so what do I know? There’s no need to pretend, as White did in front of a green screen with what has the air of a fake press conference, that he’s never heard of Juan Manuel Marquez, only the second-finest boxer on the planet right now and a man who takes all comers — the antidote to what White supposedly doesn’t like about boxing anymore, as a “boxing guy.” Who does that help? Does he think he’s going to make in-roads in the Mexican audience by dismissing a Mexican legend who’s fighting on Mexican Independence Day weekend? There’s no need for Arum to call MMA fans “skinheads,” which is just way over the line in eight different ways, is there? Is that going to bring more white fans to boxing, an audience whose en masse return many in boxing covet?
Nor is Arum’s entry into homophobia — saying that mixed martial artists look like “homosexuals” rolling around on the ground — a particularly welcome thing to say or think just from the standpoint of being a good human being. (White, for his part, had already issued his own infamous homophobic rant.)
It doesn’t matter if each of them have points. Yes, Dana, Floyd Mayweather isn’t always the most fun boxer to watch. (Funniest moment of both clips, completely uncool as it was from the standpoint of America having, you know, a justice system, featured Arum saying that Mayweather is only entertaining outside the ring, “shooting up cars” and so forth). Yes, Bob, the UFC audience is whiter than the boxing audience. This whole thing just gets so tiresome to so many of us, all the sniping both ways. Maybe now that Arum and White have both done their parts to jump the shark, we can move the hell on and recognize this kind of inter-sport warfare is goofy as hell. But I doubt it.