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« | Home | »

Bob Arum’s unintentional symbolism at Wednesday presser for Pacquiao/Bradley fight

By Zach Arnold | April 10, 2014

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Watch the video of Arum sounding off against MGM

“I want to thank everybody… I’m not going to say it. I know that. Yeah. Hell with it. I know that at the Venetian they wouldn’t make a mistake like this. They knew what fight they were scheduled three or four days and they wouldn’t have a 12-to-1 fight all over the building.

“But… that’s why one company makes a billion dollars a quarter and the other hustles to pay its debt.

“Also, none of the fighters on the cards had to pay anybody off to get on the cards unlike how some other people operate on some other networks. That was an old tactic that Frankie Carbo used but it doesn’t go with HBO or with Top Rank.”

Bob Arum was his usual flame-throwing self at Wednesday’s press conference for Saturday night’s fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena between Manny Pacquiao (2-to-1 favorite) versus Tim Bradley. Manny’s getting $20 million and Tim’s getting $6 million for the fight. And given some of the more interesting bouts on the table with Juan Manuel Marquez vs. Mike Alvarado and Gennady Golovkin vs. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. at the Inglewood Forum, you’d think everything would be going smoothly for Top Rank.

But watching some recent events transpire with HBO, Showtime, and the bigger state athletic commissions gives me some pause about where Top Rank stands right now in terms of political juice in the combat sports landscape. Arum’s cracks about Mayweather’s fight getting promoted ahead of Pacquiao/Bradley were amusing and on-target but also revealing about where things stand in Las Vegas right now.

Take for example the fight on Saturday night at MGM. The politicos (along with UFC bosses) will likely have their coronation for the new Executive Director of the state’s Athletic Commission. The dog-and-pony show is happening Saturday morning. The two likely favorites are Andy Foster (who wants a lifeline out of Sacramento from Consumer Affair politics) and Jeff Mullen. These are picks straight out of a UFC playbook. Andy Foster is, pardon the pun, the ultimate Zuffa pick. 100% focus on MMA and could not care about boxing except for the really big fights.

When’s the last time UFC paid out $26 million dollars to two fighters for a Las Vegas main event? When’s the last time a UFC show has brought in the whales to the casinos like most of Manny Pacquiao’s fights? You would think that Top Rank would have more political juice in Las Vegas but as we’ll see on Saturday with the coronation of a new Executive Director, it’s Lorenzo & Ratner & Golden Boy who carry the most juice. Bob may book bigger fights than the UFC but the Fertittas have the casino power and have masterfully used their connections to dominate the regulatory climate that oversees combat sports in the biggest states.

Why should Top Rank care? They find themselves on the sidelines in regards to which bureaucrats regulate their business. And then they wonder how an MMA guy like Andy Foster can come right in and take over.

Where’s Top Rank when it comes to politics with the state Athletic Commissions in California, Nevada, Texas, New York, or Florida? Nowhere to be found. They aren’t political movers and shakers. You would think their financial muscle along with HBO connections would move the regulatory needle but instead it’s the UFC, and Golden Boy to a lesser degree, influencing the regulatory politics. This has been one of Top Rank’s biggest mistakes. Bob Arum has his ties to Harry Reid but Top Rank hasn’t used elbow grease to influence politics from state to state.

(Don’t insert any Marty Denkin jokes here. And we didn’t forget about the IBF scandal in 2000.)

And then there’s Arum’s wisecracks about so many of Al Haymon’s guys fighting with each other to get on the big Mayweather cards. HBO helped build Haymon’s influence and look at him now. He’s signing anyone and everyone he can. Showtime & Richard Schaefer are doing exactly what they set out to do. As we recently laid out on Fight Opinion Radio, Ken Hershman has had his ups and downs at HBO. Hershman’s defenders said that he would do a better job at HBO because of the resources and the caliber of people calling the shots there. Showtime and Haymon seem content on watching HBO build up fighters and poaching them when the time is right. HBO’s resources may attract a bunch of promoters, but do you trust Ken Hershman to be the man to lead the way or not? I’m sure HBO is perhaps sitting back and biding their time in hopes that that the Haymon/Schaefer relationship fractures. Where will Top Rank fit into the picture a decade from now under Todd DuBoef? Will Ryota Murata prove to a true ace? Top Rank loves Macau and the Venetian. They know how to put up the right fight posters.

Topics: Boxing, Media, UFC, Zach Arnold | 6 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

6 Responses to “Bob Arum’s unintentional symbolism at Wednesday presser for Pacquiao/Bradley fight”

  1. Diaz's cashed bowl says:

    “Bob Arum has his ties to Harry Reid but Top Rank hasn’t used elbow grease to influence politics from state to state.”

    by elbow grease you mean pay offs/political donations right?

    Mc Cain was just the mouth of the corrupt collection agency that is the american fascist political/crime cartel. He was against mma when it was the lone Myorwitz, once the frattatas bought the ufc and donated millions to the republicain party, Mc Cain was all of a sudden ok with it.
    Now he helps promote it even! stating that he would try it were he younger.

  2. Diaz's cashed bowl says:

    Also, ufc is saving some BIG time money by not paying Andy or GSP a dime this year, so why so cheap when it comes to their second tier draws? nick is actually first tier, yet the ufc is too cheap and or stupid to pay him a half mill to sell out an arena? They are too stupid to match him with Lawler for a title shot.

    Dana says you need to have exciting fights to get the bieber money. Then he tells Nate he has to win fights to get the money.

    This is pure BS.

    Compare to hollywood stars, if they have a hit movie say “Shogun vs Henderson” that makes big money and huge word of mouth says its the best of the year. And when it comes time to do “the” sequel, does the studio offer the stars 1/2 of what they made for the first Shogun vs Henderson?

    Of course not.

    Stars make a big hit then star in some modest money hits or break even films in between the the big hit and it’s sequel all the time, and they don’t take huge pay cuts like that

    • Nepal says:

      D’s CB,

      Your analogy is kind of twisted. At any rate Nate has never made a big hit so he’s never made big money. However his 60/60 is not chump change. If he managed to squeeze 3 fights into a year and won them all, he’d get $360K plus OTN bonuses plus discretionary bonuses. You’re looking at $500K. Plus as he wins fights, the salary goes up. Plus endorsements if he could clean up his potty mouth and made coherent sentences. The guy could make a shitload of money.

      Any what planet are you on? Saving money because GSP and Anderson are not being paid??? Dude, UFC makes money when those guys fight because they are the biggest PPV stars. I mean, that was just idiotic.

  3. Diaz's cashed bowl says:

    my analogy is no more twisted than Danas lying flip flopping say whatever it takes hypocritical hype.

    And you are wrong, Diaz won the TUF show, now isn’t that the show that makes the stars?

    Diaz wastes gomi, beats up Cerrone, strangles Miller 3 in a row. Uhhh yeah thats 3 hits in a row right there.
    Diaz headline TWO events!!! Wow! that means they used his name to sell the show.
    One was with mr grind who just tries to make his opponents look bad. Then one of the best fighters ko’s him, so what? The analogy is diaz plays a loser/villain for a movie or two doesn’t hurt his drawing power.

    ANd can’t you do any better than insult me? why not think a little before hand. What I said was UFC has a few million to spare this year, and they should be using it to pay existing stars like the Diaz bros to fight.And maybe even wave it in front of some fighters NOT signed with the UFC.

    Look they are flat ripping off a lot of these guys. Giving Hendo 1/2 for doing another fight of the year or decade?

    No, my analogy is right on. These are stars, they draw ratings they make the ufc money.
    Just because Hendo lost close ones to machida and Rashad doesn’t mean that the UFC lost the money that they made for that fight.
    The networks don’t say “hey, you know that last UFC wasn’t as good as I had hoped so how about giving me some of that money back”.
    Machida and Rashad haven’t taken pay cuts, even though they both ran from Hendo making them boring fights.

    • Chuck says:

      Hendo had a pay cut because he lost three in a row prior to the Shogun rematch. UFC could have easily either cut him prior or just let his contract run out and be done with him. I love Hendo, but I think Zuffa’s stance was fair. If he continues to win, his wages will go up. Simple as that.

  4. edub says:

    Tito Trinidad is broke per reports.

    I really hope he doesn’t comeback at 41.


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