In less than two weeks, the UFC will hold its biggest pay-per-view event of the year when Jon Jones returns to fight Alexander Gustafsson for the vacant light heavyweight title in a rematch of the pair’s brilliant classic from 2013. And three weeks after that the UFC will make its debut on ESPN in what could be the start of a long and fruitful relationship between the world’s largest MMA promoter and the sports television giant. You’d think these things would be the focus of attention for UFC president Dana White, but that isn’t the case as most of White’s comments in the media lately have surrounded his rival, Golden Boy MMA promoter Oscar De La Hoya.
De La Hoya held Golden Boy MMA’s first event last month, and White has been on the offensive ever since. It’s fair to say White speaks for many of the MMA community when he was critical about Golden Boy headlining its first MMA show with aging legends Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz. And most of what White has said to the media regarding that fight has been true, as the general assessment by fans and media is that Liddell should have never fought again. But White started taking it too far when he started hurling insults at De La Hoya, repeatedly calling him a “cokehead.” It’s one thing to question Golden Boy’s MMA numbers and their fighter pay, but to go on the offensive and start calling De La Hoya names was where White took it too far.
Sure, White’s comments are great for clicks, and MMA and boxing websites are loving this feud because of that. But to me, this bizarre feud between White and De La Hoya needs to end, and it needs to end now. White has already said his peace, and at this point it’s looking doubtful that Golden Boy MMA is going to be around for much longer. It seems pointless for the major leagues of MMA to attack a minor league promotion. White’s comments have made it seem like he’s threatened, but when you consider how poor the PPV numbers were for the Liddell vs. Ortiz 3 PPV, there’s no reason for White to feel threatened at all. The UFC is going to be on ESPN in a month and White is way too concerned about De La Hoya and his business even though it doesn’t interfere with what the UFC is doing. White might still be upset at De La Hoya for booking Liddell to fight, but at this point he’s said what needs to be said, and we don’t need to hear these two going after each other anymore.
Unfortunately, the feud doesn’t look like it’s going to end anytime soon. Just the other day, De La Hoya challenged White to a boxing match, which White declined. The fact these two have taken it from a friendly game of MMA promoters going up against each other to White calling De La Hoya a cokehead to De La Hoya challenging White to a boxing match, it’s all just very unnecessary. Both men are coming off as very immature and very petty in the media and this bizarre feud between these two seems completely pointless.
When White says the UFC is all about putting on the fights the fans want to see, and when De La Hoya says Golden Boy MMA is all about putting the fighters first, well both men are contradicting themselves with their strange comments. Both men are acting very selfish in the media, and all of it is completely unnecessary. White should worry about the UFC and the fact it can’t even get a main event for a big PPV like UFC 233 and De La Hoya should worry about paying his fighters. It’s time for this feud to end, and it should have never started to begin with.