Boxing is in the middle of one of the best periods in the sport's recent history. Mexican Independence Weekend saw an incredibly successful situation where an ill-advised head-to-head booking by HBO pay-per-view and Showtime Championship Boxing turned in big numbers for both events. The HBO PPV between Sergio Martinez and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. drew 475k buys despite neither man having any history as a PPV headliner while Saul "Canelo" Alvarez and Josesito Lopez drew over 1 million viewers for their bout at the exact same time, a massive number for Showtime. These fights came sandwiched between some very good recent events and an incredible fall/winter boxing schedule.
"I'm happy for them. Whenever boxing does good things and they pull killer pay-per-view (numbers), I'm always watching to see what they do on pay-per-view. And I'm not like those (expletives), they did this much, I'm happy for them. I want to see combat sports do better," White said following UFC 152 on Saturday.
"I want to see boxing pull bigger numbers."
White explains that his willingness to support boxing is the biggest difference between him and boxing promoter Bob Arum, who slams MMA any chance he gets.
"I'm not Bob Arum that crusty (expletive). I'm not out there smashing everything we do, and saying negative things about boxing. Boxing is (expletive) great it's an incredible sport. I wouldn't be sitting here right now if it wasn't for the sport of boxing,"
As with anything said by Dana (or any promoter) there's some truth and some...creative wording in what he said.
While Dana doesn't often take clear, obvious shots at boxing, he does routinely break out the "boxing is dying" line.
Knowing how a large segment of MMA fans take their lead from him, this does create a strong portion of the MMA fanbase that can't hear anything about boxing without resorting to "boxing is dead" or similarly ignorant and idiotic phrases. That repeated death declaration from Dana and MMA fans has clearly put Bob Arum (promoter of Top Rank) on the defensive in the past and led to him saying stupid things of his own. Arum isn't known for his savvy as a talker and that has led to more overt and (again) dumb statements. But, as someone who covers boxing as well as MMA, Arum is hardly "slamming MMA any chance he gets" as MMA Weekly claimed.
He took some shots at the UFC's Fox ratings in March, but he also didn't come across particularly nasty while doing it saying "I thought (the Fox deal) was very very good but now I'm having some second thoughts. Their numbers really are not improving on PPV, indeed they're getting worse. These shows are not distinguishing themselves from the Fox shows. It's all like one same thing, it's UFC."
I'm certainly not defending Arum as some sort of saint. He clearly is not that, and he has taken plenty of shots at MMA in his day. I'm just saying that he's hardly obsessed with the sport at this point.
I'm only saying that Dana can pretend that he's always been "pro-boxing" but it doesn't quite match up when he's one of the reasons that the "boxing is dying" narrative has hung around as long as it has.