During the UFC’s first major boom in popularity in the late 2000s, veteran boxing promoter Bob Arum made made it clear that he had nothing kind to say about the combat sport that was looking to rival his own on the American PPV market. At the time, he thought very little of mixed martial arts fighters and the fans who avidly showed their support.
“UFC (fans) are a bunch of skinhead white guys watching people in the ring who also look like skinhead white guys,” Arum told Ariel Helwani in a 2009 interview. “For me and people like me, it is not something that they ever care to see. They’ve watched it, it’s horrible, guys rolling around like homosexuals on the ground.
“It is not a sport that shows great, great talent.”
More than a decade later, Arum had the same conversation with Helwani, and his stance remains the same.
Eleven years later, Bob’s stance hasn’t changed. Worth a shot!— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) March 10, 2020
Full: https://t.co/fDAPA36laI pic.twitter.com/BZP4vLKXF6
“My stand is the same. The UFC guys are great promoters, they’ve done a great, great job. But as far as I’m concerned, it’s trash,” Arum said Monday on the Ariel Helwani MMA Show. “I don’t like it. I don’t like to watch it. But again, I’m just one person. And obviously, they’ve built a very big fanbase, so all credit for them.
“I’m not gonna say that this is a sport that I love, because I don’t,” he added. “It really does nothing for me, I don’t like to watch it.”
Arum made another controversial statement in 2016 when he hit at UFC fans for supporting current US president Donald Trump, calling them “white males who are desperately afraid that this country in 20 years will be a non-white majority country.” Considering the UFC’s seemingly endless plans for expansion and Dana White’s continued regular vocal support for President Trump, it seems unlikely that Arum’s thoughts on MMA or its largest promotion are likely to soften anytime soon.