Dana White often says how he’s a big boxing fan. So it must pain him a little to give his opinion on the future of the sport. White’s forecast is bleak.
“My honest opinion of boxing is that boxing will go away,” White told ESPNRadio’s Ryen Russillo. “I don’t wish it any ill-will. It’s not because the sport isn’t good or anything like that, it’s just that it’s so fragmented, and so many bad things have happened. Nobody is going to stick their hand in their own pocket and spend their own money to save the sport of boxing, nobody is going to do it.”
He points to greed over the last 25 years.
“Done right the sport can be saved,” said White. “Once everything went to a pay model, boxing stopped giving you good fights for free. As soon as that model ended your market starts to shrink when you’re only on pay-per-view.”
“The best example right now is how long have fight fans wanted to see (Floyd) Mayweather versus (Manny) Pacquiao? Forever man. That’s the fight I want to see,” said White. “And it’s not happening. These guys are getting offered crazy amounts of money and the fight just can’t be made.”
White, speaking before the latest round of the Mayweather-Pacquiao negotiations produced zilch, pointed out how difficult it is for boxing to compete with his product.
“Before this Mayweather-Pacquiao fight happens…lets’s say a miracle happens and they get this thing done this week – the fight will probably be sometime in November, right? I’ll have done ten fights, and, I don’t know, maybe out of the ten fights, four of them will be on free TV.”
Make that closer to 16 fights with six or seven free cards now that the earliest we’ll see Pacman-Mayweather is May of 2011.
Russillo pulled a nice stunt at the end of the interview when he asked White if he knew of David Haye. Haye is one of the only chances boxing’s heavyweight division has to win back some audience. The Brit is a skilled 224-pounder who’ll be able to deliver big numbers with his mouth and is slick enough to make a fight against either Klitscko brother somewhat intriguing. White said he wasn’t really aware of Haye. That’s a casual boxing fan saying that. Not a good sign.