UFC President Dana White admits he was absolutely shocked when he received an unexpected call last night from executives representing the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
The MGM Grand was hosting the light heavyweight bout between Canelo Alvarez and Sergey Kovalev, which was being staged by Golden Boy Promotions and streamed live by DAZN.
White was in the middle of staging one of the biggest pay-per-view events of the year for his company, UFC 244, which was taking place at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The event was headlined by the anticipated fight between Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal.
The UFC has an exclusive deal with rival streaming service ESPN+ - while DAZN has a deal with UFC’s main competitor, Bellator.
DAZN made a controversial decision to delay the Canelo-Kovalev main event – until after the conclusion of Diaz-Masvidal.
Diaz and Masvidal began their ring walks at 12:20AM EST, with the contest concluding around 1:00AM EST.
The live crowd at the MGM were growing restless with the long delay – as the Ryan Garcia-Romero Duno co-feature ended much earlier than expected, around 11:32PM EST.
The main event fighters and their handlers were also growing impatient, as cameras showed both boxers fully gloved up and resting away on couches in their respective dressing rooms.
During the UFC’s 244 co-feature, White received an unexpected call.
MGM executives reached out, to obtain permission to showcase UFC 244’s main event to the live crowd at the Grand Garden Arena.
White jumped on the opportunity to promote his product to the live MGM audience.
“So we were sitting there, and MGM called and said that, ‘you guys are halfway through your co-main event right now, people are losing their minds here,’ or whatever. ‘Can we show the Diaz fight at the MGM?,’” White explained.
“And I was just like, ‘Holy sh-t! This is crazy! This is getting crazier by the minute!’ I woke up and dreamed all this, that it could happen. It was nuts. And of course, we said yes, and they did and wow.”
White explained that he warned Golden Boy Promotions CEO Oscar De La Hoya to stage Canelo-Kovalev on a different date.
“They’re not showing my main event at their cards because somebody won and lost, it’s a much bigger picture than that,” White said.
“You guys know how I am, I f—-ing hate Oscar De La Hoya, he’s a scumbag, a snake. I told him not to go on this night. He did what he wanted to do and here we are. I respect Canelo and all the other fighters and guys who participate in the sport of boxing, and we got it worked out yesterday to where fans could see the other fights.
“He didn’t do any of that. You think that idiot did that?. He did none of that. It was much smarter people that surround him that started to do stuff, it wasn’t that moron. He’s an assh-le. How much more can I prove myself that this guy is an assh-le and a complete f— up.
“Right up to this fight, everything he’s done. I used to help this guy, promote his fights, go on social media and say I’m watching. Then we did [Conor] McGregor [vs. Floyd] Mayweather, he tells people not to watch. Who does that? He says it’s a disgrace to boxing. Then he says he wants to fight McGregor next. He’s a snake, an all around bad guy. He’s really f—ing weird too. Just to top it off.”