CEO of Top Rank boxing promotion, Bob Arum, joined Ariel Helwani’s MMA show, Monday, March 10, where he was asked if he still has the same opinion on MMA that he carried back in 2009, when Helwani first interviewed him at Yankee Stadium during an event to promote a fight between Manny Paquiao and Miguel Cotto.
During the short interview, Arum gave the UFC and it’s promoters/owners such as Dana White, Lorenzo Fertita, and company, credit for promoting their brand so well, while also mentioning that he viewed the sport as “junk” and “garbage.”
Arum also mentioned during that interview in 2009, that he was modeling how he promoted boxing based off of how the UFC was promoting their sport.
On Monday, Arum doubled down on his stance. Again, giving the promoters and owners of the UFC compliments while simultaneously dissing the actual sport itself. This time calling it “trash.”
The back handed compliments of Arum are hard to interpret. It’s difficult to tell whether he is incapable of giving the sport genuine props due to it being somewhat in competition with the promotion of boxing, or if he really feels this way at heart.
However, one thing is for sure, and that is that Arum doesn’t know much about the sport of MMA to begin with, even after all these years.
“My stance is the same,” said Arum. “The UFC guys are great promoters. They’ve done a great, great job, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s trash, I don’t like it. I don’t like to watch it. I mean, but again, I’m just one person and obviously they’ve built a very big fan base. So all credit to them.”
Arum, 88, went on to say that he has never been to an MMA event and he really has done nothing to support the sport since it’s creation back in 1993. Stating that he’s watched the sport only once or twice.
“I have never been to an MMA event. I’ve watched it on television, once, twice. I just think it doesn’t do anything for me, uh, for people engaging in combat that way. I mean I just don’t enjoy it. I don’t see the skills particularly. I mean, again, but that’s me. You know, and there may be a lot of people – some people, who watch mixed martial arts – UFC, who don’t like boxing. That’s their choice,” said Arum.
It’s hard to believe that Arum has only watched the sport the amount of times that he claims, when he stated back in 2009 that he was already modeling the way he promoted boxing after the way the UFC was promoting their sport.
“They have shown us, because of how well they’ve been doing in certain aspects that make us adapt,” said Arum. “They do an unbelievable job on advertising on the internet, we’re following that. They do an unbelievable job in the arena with music and so forth, and steaming up the crowd, we’re trying to duplicate it. They are great promoters. They are really sensational promoters, and they’re really good guys. So I give them all the kudos, and all the credit for what they’ve done. There’s no knock on them. These are good class guys, who’ve really built a terrific business.”
There has been a lot of evolution in the sport of MMA, and the way the UFC promotes their brand since 2009, and it’s hard to imagine that after all these years, Arum hasn’t continued to do the same in modeling the way he promotes boxing, after the UFC.
It may be safe to assume at this point that Arum’s opinion on MMA is completely bias. With him being a boxing promoter, and only claiming to have watched the sport a maximum of twice in his life, he really shouldn’t have an opinion on the sport at all. Some may even argue that his opinion of the sport should hold no weight or relevance, what so ever.