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Bob Arum says UFC is desperate, compares Dana White to Donald Trump

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Bob Arum has responded to Dana White, saying the UFC is desperate and barely breaks 100k PPV buys

Anton Tabuena

Dana White recently stated that he “could see” the UFC promoting boxing events in the future. He also took shots at other boxing promoters in the process.

“One of the things that boxing did and continues to do to kill itself, is never care about the future. Every boxing event is like a going out of business sale,” White said. “and they’re trying to get every dime they can out of you, and stuff it in their pockets and they don’t put any money back into it.”

Bob Arum has since responded, saying that it’s actually the UFC owners who pads their bank accounts instead of paying fighters.

“You have to understand, UFC is a monopoly, the money they earn on a fight because they pay their athletes 20 percent of the gross, we pay around 80 percent,” Arum told NYFights. “What they say they’re investing back in the business, they’re investing in themselves. They put money in their pockets! That’s not investing in anything.”

Related: What do we know about UFC’s revenue?

“In boxing, there are a large number of promoters, and when a promoter has a successful event and there’s a profit he earns, he puts it back in the company. What the f—k is White talking about? White is speaking from desperation now, he’s the spokesperson for what could be a failing business!”

“He’s not charismatic,” Arum added. “The guy has charisma like Trump does, it’s the same kind of con!”

Arum cited the amount of big events boxing has put on as of late, such as the record breaking Joshua vs Klitschko bout and many others. He claims that this is proof that boxing is on the rise, while the UFC has been struggling as of late.

The Top Rank head says this is why White is desperate and has been talking about promoting boxing.

“My thoughts are that UFC is desperate,” he said. “Their numbers are way off. They have no marquee star. Look at their PPV numbers. They barely break 100,000 homes on their shows.”

“They’re having trouble getting renewal on their contract with Fox. They have to do something. One of things they may try and fall back on and try and acquire a boxing presence.”

Arum also cited that last year, the UFC wanted to purchase Top Rank’s fight library.

The boxing promoter also seems to be going off recent reports about the top MMA organization, with him likely referencing estimates that UFC 215 made just 100,000 buys, and UFC 213 doing just 150,000. UFC 216 was also earlier estimated at around 120,000, but newer info states that it has topped 200,000.

Arum also seems to be paying attention to the UFC’s deal with Fox, which their exclusive negotiation period recently ending without a new contract being struck. He spins this as a negative, but with the UFC now able to negotiate with other networks, it is yet to be seen if they end up with a better (or worse) deal than what they initially had.

The UFC, while still highly profitable, has indeed been on a downswing this year in terms of pay-per-view buys. They seem to have focused more on “money fights” with their few top stars, but without their big names such as Conor McGregor, Ronda Rousey, and likely now Jon Jones as well, the numbers have declined this year.

As for other revenue sources, the UFC has also recently secured new sponsorship deals with beer brand Modelo (that also allows for better international sponsorship opportunities compared to their past partnership with Budweiser), and Kobe Bryant’s sports drink company Body Armor.

Both White and Arum seem to have made exaggerations about how the other’s sport and business is “failing” and both have thrown somewhat ironic insults about how each of them just “pockets” the money. I guess in the end, promoters will promote, and you really just have to take these statements with a grain of salt.