Oscar De La Hoya: I'll Keep Promoting MMA As Long As The UFC Keeps Underpaying Fighters

By Nathan Zur Dec 12, 2018

Oscar de la Hoya has heard the sniping about Golden Boy MMA’s debut event, but for the same reasons he got into mixed martial arts promotion in the first place, he claims he’s here to stay.

De la Hoya got his first taste of the promotional side of mixed martial arts when Golden Boy Promotions’ inaugural MMA event took place on Nov. 24 in California. The event was headlined by former Ultimate Fighting Championship light heavyweight champions Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz. The matchup between the 48-year old Liddell and 43 -year old Ortiz drew criticism from fans as well as media, and the performance of “The Iceman” just added fuel to the fire, as Ortiz knocked out a slow and awkward-looking Liddell in the opening round.

In the lead-up to the event, De La Hoya told TSN he was confident that the two men’s stature in the fight game would guarantee a healthy pay-per-view rate.

“I mean, 200-300-400,000 is a no-brainer,” De La Hoya said during fight week. “Given the fact that they’ve been involved with huge events over at the UFC. Like I said, they’re pioneers, they’re staples in the industry. People know Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz, within the industry. The PPV model is a whole different animal. If you’re fighting on linear TV and PPV, it’s two different audiences. And the fact that they have a history within that PPV audience is a big plus for everyone that’s involved in this event.”

Initial reports suggested the event was a pay-per-view failure, with a buy rate estimated somewhere between 25,000 and 40,000. The low numbers had fans wondering if the former boxer would stay in the MMA game, considering his success in promoting boxing. Speaking to TSN’s Aaron Bronstedter once again this week, De la Hoya disputed those reports, as well as reiterating his oft-stated position that he wants to improve what he terms the unfairly low pay offered by the UFC.

“I mean look, first of all the LA Times is wrong,” De La Hoya responded when asked about the disappointing numbers. “And second of all, they didn’t count our digital buys, which far exceeded the linear buys that we did. So, those reports are false.”

“If Dana White wants to criticize the fact that I put a show together for Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz,” he added, “It’s because they wanted to get paid. They wanted to make money. If Dana White is going to keep criticizing me, then pay your fighters so they won’t have to be fighting when they’re 49 years old. It’s as easy as that. And so, as long as Dana White’s not paying his fighters, I’m going to continue promoting MMA.”


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