Dana White almost never hesitates to throw some trash talk Jake Paul’s way, but UFC’s president was relatively subdued about the news that Paul’s latest fight at Madison Square Garden was canceled (details here).
“I’m not going to sit up here and be happy or gloat that their fight fell out,” White said at the UFC 277 post-fight press conference (watch it here). “Both those guys I’m sure put in a lot of hard work and a lot of training to get ready for this fight. Spent money to get ready for this fight.”
He did turn his ire toward Paul’s promotional business partner, Nakisa Bidarian, who also happens to be UFC’s former Chief Financial Officer.
“But, I will say this, just because you were an accountant here doesn’t mean you know what the f— goes on here,” White added. “It doesn’t mean you can run a fight promotion company. I think that Jake Paul probably needs to get some different people around him. If he’s going to stay in the sport, he needs to be with guys that really know how to put on fights.”
Jake Paul vs. Hasim Rahman Jr. was set to go down on Aug. 6, 2022, in New York City, but was scrapped after Rahman reportedly tried to shift the weight for their bout up from 200 pounds to 215 pounds. Paul typically fights at 190 pounds, and accused Rahman Jr.’s camp of handling the weight issue in a, “deceiving and calculated manner.”
White’s not buying the official line, though.
“I think they sold under a million dollars in tickets,” White said. “And it costs $500,000 to turn the f—ing lights on at MSG. That’s what I think. Not to mention hotel rooms in New York and transportation and everything else is very expensive.”
Hasim Rahman Jr. was already a late replacement for Tommy Fury, who was reportedly unable to enter the United States due to his brother Tyson Fury’s connections with drug cartel boss, Daniel Kinahan. While there’s been interest in seeing Paul box an actual professional boxer, converting that interest into ticket sales and pay-per-view (PPV) buys required the right name, and Rahman Jr. just wasn’t exciting the general public.
Ufc release now please or give me fight with anyone in July or august— Nathan Diaz (@NateDiaz209) June 21, 2022
I have bigger shit to do pic.twitter.com/xyYSCBysLs
With a potential Nate Diaz boxing match now on the horizon (or not?), it made sense for Paul not to risk his reputation as a boxing prospect and PPV draw next month. The weight shenanigans certainly gave them a valid enough excuse to pull the plug. And now the only question we have is: Paul vs. Diaz, 2022 or 2023?
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