Throughout Dana White’s sometimes ugly yet always entertaining back-and-forth with the boxing world, the UFC president has maintained his stance that as a fight fan, he is hopeful for boxing’s reemergence.
However, he sounded even less optimistic than usual when discussing the fallout from the drug testing controversy that has enveloped the Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather Jr. mega-fight tentatively scheduled for March 13.
“Boxing in the United States has fallen apart, and it’s just over,” White said Wednesday after the UFC 108 news conference. “It’s over. It’s going to take, for it to even have a shot, it would take someone to come in and spend the kind of money the Fertittas spent to try to save boxing. But nobody in boxing spends money to try to save boxing. They all take from boxing; they don’t give back to it, none of them do.”
While White has beaten on this drum many times before, the possibility that the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight may not take place may give his often-dismissed opinion a little more credence. Reasserting his claim that the sport is an also-ran in the United States, the outspoken UFC boss, acknowledging the trouble his answer may cause him with his English fighters, claimed the sport’s European popularity is a sign of weakness that can’t be ignored.
“Everybody knows my philosophy on boxing,” said White. “They’re in big trouble. There is no amateur program anymore. It’s become a European sport now. Back in the day -- all the people in England are going to blast me for this one, but the European guys couldn’t win jack s---.”
As for the drug testing issues that may scuttle the Pacquiao-Mayweather bout, White sounded indignant that fighters felt the need to go above and beyond the testing implemented by the state athletic commission in Nevada.
“What, fighters decide what fighters are going to do? That’s what the commission is there for,” commented White. “The athletic commission is there for the safety of the fighters. They drug test, they blood test, they do all those other things. For another fighter to be calling out another fighter for some type of blood work is f------ crazy. Just f------ train for the fight and fight; that’s what everybody wants to see. I want to see this fight. I’m dying to see this fight.”
And if the issues are resolved and the bout does come to fruition, White, the consummate promoter, understands the big picture.
“People are used to this kind of stuff from boxing,” he said. “If anything, it just makes more people aware of the fight.”