Two years ago, Floyd Mayweather Jr and UFC President Dana White were engaged in a heated war of words. The outspoken Mayweather questioned the skills of top MMA stars like Chuck Liddell. White challenged Floyd to step into the octagon against Sean Sherk. It was all a bunch of hot air and Mayweather retired a year later.
Floyd Mayweather Jr and Dana White will be battling again, only this time it will be more than just words. A rib injury forced Floyd Mayweather Jr to postpone his July bout with Juan Manuel Marquez. The fight has been rescheduled for September 19th, the same night as UFC 103. This time the battle between Mayweather and White won’t be personal…it will be about business.
Some executives wanted to push Mayweather off of the September 19th date. Obviously, they weren’t very persuasive. Mayweather and Marquez likely wanted to keep the date not as an indifference towards the UFC as a competitor, but moreso because it is the weekend after Mexican Independence Day. This has always been a big weekend for boxing and always drives live ticket sales. Whether the rumors about poor tickets sales for Mayweather/Marquez in July were true or not, you can certainly expect a packed house on September 19th in Las Vegas.
Mexican Independence Day was usually a date reserved for Oscar De La Hoya. In an interview with ESPN Radio, Dana White admitted to staying away from De La Hoya fights when scheduling UFC events. He’s not worried about Floyd Mayweather Jr. From a business perspective, he shouldn’t be.
Floyd Mayweather Jr isn’t as “Money” as he would have you believe. The numbers prove that without a bankable counterpart, Floyd fights don’t sell. His pay-per-view numbers with Oscar De La Hoya broke records. His fight with Ricky Hatton was backed by the 24/7 series on HBO and generated 850,000 buys. Floyd’s PPV fights against Carlos Baldomir, Arturo Gatti, and Zab Judah were all in the range of 350,000 buys. With Oscar De La Hoya now retired, Dana White and the UFC is now the king of pay-per-view.
Dana White has shown no mercy to his competitors in the past. The UFC countered EliteXC’s debut on CBS with the first free airing of Liddell/Silva on Spike. When Affliction was offering Fedor/Sylvia on PPV, the UFC booked an event for the same day. Dana White does not play nice and we all know he would love for the Mayweather PPV to fail. So just what could Dana White have in store for Floyd and Golden Boy Promotions on September 19th?
The staff at Inside Fights have been discussing the possibility of UFC 103 winding up on Spike TV, instead of PPV. If White wants to crush the competition, and we know he does, it would be a backbreaker for Mayweather/Marquez.
Currently, the UFC 103 fight card is lacking a pay-per-view quality main event. Without a main event of Rich Franklin vs. Tito Ortiz (only speculation right now) this card doesn’t belong on PPV. It makes sense to offer it as a Spike show. A lot of fight fans will be torn between which event to watch. By making UFC 103 a free show while Mayweather/Marquez runs for $50, the decision will become a lot easier for most.
So what can Golden Boy Promotions do to ensure that fans tune into Floyd Mayweather Jr vs Juan Manuel Marquez on September 19? HBO is giving the fight 24/7 treatment. The four-part series will begin airing on August 29. The 24/7 series has become the equivalent of advertising free beer at parties. It is guaranteed to drive your numbers up.
An exciting undercard wouldn’t hurt either, but boxing pay-per-views are consistently built around one fight and one fight only. Chris John and Rocky Juarez are rumored to have their featherweight rematch as a part of the event. That would be a good start. Their June rematch was canceled when John fell ill during training.
But what about including Israel Vazquez in the fight card? He has been cleared to return to the ring and has stated that September is a good month for him to come back after multiple surgeries on his retina. It would be excellent timing given the Mexican Independence Day celebration. Of course, Golden Boy will instead match up one of their many young Mexican fighters against a tomato can.
The UFC cannot be dismissed by boxing as a viable threat to business. UFC 103 will prove that. If it winds up on free television, Floyd Mayweather Jr will take a hit harder than anything Chuck Liddell or Sean Sherk could deliver. It would ruin any chances of him claiming a 50/50 split in a superfight with Manny Pacquiao. Bad business with Marquez will take away Mayweather’s leverage in negotiating with Pacquiao. It seems fitting that Dana White has the power to hurt Mayweather where it will hurt most; his bank account.