Last week Jake Paul saw his scheduled debut at the historic Madison Square Garden go down in flames when his promotion company, MVP, called off his fight with Hasim Rahman Jr.
In a press release MVP claimed they were forced to cancel the fight after Rahman told Paul’s team that he had no intention of weighing in at the agreed upon limit of 200 lbs. MVP further claimed that it had offered a weight limit increase up to 205 lbs, but that Rahman claimed he would weigh in at 215 lbs instead.
UFC President Dana White, who is no friend of Paul’s, didn’t buy that official explanation. Instead, White claimed that Paul cancelled the event due to poor ticket sales.
“I think they sold under a million dollars in tickets and it cost $500,000 to turn the f—ng lights on at MSG,” claimed White earlier this week. “That’s what I think. Not to mention the fact that hotel rooms in New York and transportation and everything else is very expensive.”
MMA Fighting reached out to Madison Square Garden to ask if there was any validity to White’s claim. According to the venue, White is wrong in his assessment of what went down.
“To be clear, sales were strong heading into fight week — the cancellation was not based on ticket sales,” said the MSG representative. “This fight was projected to be in the top 10 of highest grossing boxing events at MSG in the past 15 years.”
The MSG spokesperson added that the venue is eager to work with Paul again, despite this cancellation.
“MVP has been great partners and we’re looking forward to working with them again soon.”
When White touted his conspiracy theory on the fight cancellation he also took a dig at Paul’s business partner Nakisa Bidarian (a former chief financial officer for the UFC).
“I will say this: just because you’re an accountant here, doesn’t mean you know what the f—k goes on here, and doesn’t mean you can run a fight promotion company,” said White — referring to Bidarian.
Bidarian clapped back at White, stating that the Paul vs. Rahman event had already sold more tickets than Ryan Garcia’s latest fight at LA’s Staples Center and that his event was tracking to be one of the top-ten gates at MSG since 2005.