Boxing legend Oscar De La Hoya is doing something longtime rival Floyd Mayweather often teased but never followed through on: getting into mixed martial arts (MMA) as a promoter under his own banner.
Golden Boy MMA is expected to host its inaugural event later this year, headlined by the trilogy fight between UFC legends Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz, a curious choice when you consider that De La Hoya promised to bring “something new” to the industry.
So consider this an open invitation for disgruntled fighters in search of greener pastures.
“I’m really looking forward to getting involved with MMA and building a new business,” De La Hoya said. “If any fighter who is an MMA fighter wants to explore a different avenue, come knock on our door, give us a call. I’m really excited about starting Golden Boy MMA. When we do things, we do them right, just like we’ve done with boxing.”
De La Hoya is no stranger to MMA, having previously experimented with Affliction MMA.
Under the leadership of ex-Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker, Bellator MMA has become the de facto home for combatants unable to — or unwilling to — fight for UFC and now has the kind of salaries that can attract prime talent looking for a less oppressive regime.
While De La Hoya may be sincere in his efforts to make a fighter-friendly promotion, it’s likely going to take him a couple of events to prove he’s here to stay and not just another wealthy fight fan looking to cash in on the MMA trend.
I think the success of his first pay-per-view (PPV) will go a long way in determining that.