Boxing promoter Bob Arum has never been one to hold back on his dislike for the UFC and Dana White in particular, and in a new interview he lashes out at the promotion’s gung-ho approach to putting events on while the coronavirus pandemic is still in full swing.
“Good luck to them,” Arum told BoxingScene.com when asked about his thoughts on the UFC’s upcoming event schedule starting on May 9th in Florida. “I just hope that they’re not endangering the safety of anyone. But this kind of cowboy behavior doesn’t do anybody any good.
“We’re looking now with Nevada, which we’ll do in a sensible way, or California. We’re working with (Nevada Athletic Commission executive diretor) Bob Bennett and (California State Athletic Commission executive officer) Andy Foster, and we’re talking to the Texas commission. We’re only gonna do this if it’s safe for the fighters and everyone involved, and if it’s approved by the medical authorities.
“We’re not gonna be cowboys, like Dana White. I don’t wanna get politics involved, but I have really very little respect for Dana and what he’s doing.”
Arum has said he doesn’t intend to host a boxing event behind closed doors until late June at the earliest, and meanwhile he’ll be looking for cues from other leading sporting organizations other than the UFC to establish how best to handle this difficult situation.
“I think the behavior of people in sports we should be following are Adam Silver of the NBA, Roger Goodell of the NFL – people who are proceeding cautiously and safely, not people who are acting like cowboys.
“For example, (the UFC) wanted to do this fight in California and they were prevented by the governor and by senator (Dianne) Feinstein going to ESPN and having Dana pull (the event).
“It turned out one of the fighters, in fact, tested positive afterward for coronavirus. You know, if we get something like that on one of Dana’s shows, and God forbid there’s a serious incident of spreading the disease, it doesn’t do well for anybody who’s involved with sports.”
However, while Arum is firing shots at the UFC’s approach, another leading boxing promoter Oscar De La Hoya has praised Dana White’s approach, even though he too has had his differences with the UFC president not so lon gago.
“I commend and respect Dana,” De La Hoya told CBS Sports. “We did have our differences. When I wanted to get involved with the MMA, I did Chuck Liddell (vs.) Tito Ortiz. It was a huge success. I dipped my toes into the water, and I experienced it. It was actually wonderful. I love the MMA.
“Dana came out and criticized me and ridiculed me and all that stuff. You know what? Dana is doing a phenomenal job in defending his sport, growing his sport, and he’s doing it big. He’s doing it great, man. I commend him.”