Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Mayweather slams UFC, White punches back

By Denny Burkholder

UFC president Dana White had some harsh words for boxer Floyd Mayweather, Jr. during a media conference call on Monday, in response to things Mayweather said in his own conference call last week.

"You know, Floyd Mayweather just came out and said some stupid s--- about Chuck Liddell," White said.

Last week, Mayweather -- on a conference call to help promote his May 5 fight with Oscar De La Hoya -- disrespected the UFC and the sport of MMA in general, specifically UFC light heavyweight champion Liddell. Mayweather questioned whether the dominant Liddell could hang with a good boxer.

"We should put Liddell against a good heavyweight, under Mayweather Promotions," Mayweather said last week. "If Chuck wins, then I'll give him a million dollars out of my own pocket."

Dana White -- himself a former amateur boxer before heading up the most successful MMA promotion in U.S. history -- scoffed at Mayweather's challenge and called Mayweather's box-office value into question.

"(He said) he'd pay a million dollars if Chuck could hang with a heavyweight boxer," White said Monday. "How about if he pays a million dollars to see if a heavyweight boxer can fight MMA with Chuck Liddell? Or, even better, I'll put up a million dollars of my own money if Floyd Mayweather can sell more than 10 tickets without Oscar De La Hoya."

UFC took the world of pay-per-view by storm in 2006, topping boxing PPV events in buy rates almost without exception. Although UFC does not release PPV performance numbers, reports indicate that De La Hoya's May 6, 2006, fight against Ricardo Mayorga was the only boxing PPV of the year that did numbers competitive with UFC shows. UFC's last PPV of 2006 -- featuring Liddell vs. Tito Ortiz on Dec. 30 -- is believed to have surpassed the De La Hoya buy rate.

In promoting his own upcoming fight with De La Hoya, Mayweather scoffed at UFC and its fighters.

"UFC ain't s---," Mayweather said. "It ain't but a fad. Anyone can put a tattoo on their head and get in a street fight."

"These are guys who couldn't make it in boxing," he added. "So they do (MMA). Boxing is the best sport in the world and it's here to stay."

UFC's Monday press conference was to promote Saturday's UFC 69 PPV event, which marks the first UFC show ever held in Texas. The show will take place in Houston.

When asked about UFC fighter Diego Sanchez's publicized training sessions with De La Hoya, Dana White dismissed the idea that Sanchez might have learned "proper" boxing techniques from De La Hoya that might give him an edge in striking against arch-nemesis Josh Koscheck.

"Boxing and mixed martial arts are totally different," White said. "You distribute your weight differently because you have to worry about takedowns and leg kicks. It's completely different. Boxing and mixed martial arts are apples and oranges."


No comments: