The collective eyebrows of the combat sports world cocked up at the news that former champ-turned boxing promoter, Oscar De La Hoya, would be staging a comeback in the ring at the ripe age of 47.
Oscar hasn’t fought since taking a one-sided beating from Manny Pacquiao in 2008 that ended mercifully in the eighth round with his corner throwing in the towel. Leading up to that fight, he went 8-5 over the current millennia, and his slide was about what you’d expect watching a fighter lose their speed in the ring to age. So if he was too slow to hang with the top at 36 when he retired, why would he come back thinking he’s faster at 47?
UFC president Dana White has a theory.
“Cocaine isn’t cheap,” White quipped following his UFC on ESPN 15 event on Saturday night. “It’s expensive ... gotta make money.”
White and De La Hoya have been on bad terms since Oscar tried to organize a boycott amongst boxing purists of 2017’s Mayweather vs. McGregor bout, calling it a circus that would destroy the integrity of boxing (a claim that still makes my eyes roll so far back into my head I can see my brain). An extra ton of salt was poured on things in 2018 when De La Hoya brought White’s buddy, Chuck Liddell, out of retirement to fight Tito Ortiz for a third time (watch highlights). White had famously retired Chuck back in 2009 saying, “I care about him. I care about his health, and it’s over, man. It’s over.”
Not only was Oscar feeding a busted Liddell to the still competitive Ortiz, he promoted his foray into “Golden Boy MMA” as an opportunity for fighters to finally make a fair cut of PPV proceeds. We’re sure White loved seeing Oscar on SportsCenter bringing up the pathetic 18 percent of gross that goes into fighter pockets. Unfortunately, “big company exploits workers” (ahem, independent contractors) isn’t exactly news these days so those attacks — like the Liddell-Ortiz 3 pay-per-view (PPV) — generated barely any interest.
That hasn’t stopped Dana and Oscar from continuing to throw haymakers at each other in the press every chance they get. We score this round 10-8 Dana.