Hey gang, here’s a rumor I heard: combustible creator Dana White will be partnering up with reclusive chess master Al Haymon, and Haymon will deliver PBC boxers for White to use in the UFC boxing league, or promotion.
Have you heard that?
I asked promoter Bob Arum if he had; I figured since boxing is a small world, and Las Vegas is, too, if there was something to it, he’d have heard.
So, has The Bobfather heard whispers about a Dana and Al pair-up?
“No,” Arum told me, he hadn’t heard that. “But if that happened, it would not be not suprising. UFC is cratering, look at the ratings. If they make a(n) (extension) deal with Fox they have to give product to get ratings, and the only product White can give them is boxing, otherwise UFC is not a good TV product anymore. (UFC’s Fox deal ends Dec. 31, 2018, so there is time for White to forge a re-up or find a new partner, or do whatever). Forget comparing against us, compare against their previous, they are down 60 percent from last year. And falling. Unless they do some boxing to get a real rating they get shit. Whatever he can add to his programing (with boxing), it’s the only way he can save his Fox deal.”
Now, we know Haymon has been doing the PBC thing since 2015. The original concept and splashy entry has been modified over time. He wanted to re-invigorate the boxing brand, with a heavy emphasis on harkening back to glory days. That meant reminding fans of said glory days, and informing new eyeballs that boxing used to be a big damn deal. That meant putting fare on CBS, NBC, ABC, ESPN, all the mega-platforms, and darn straight, he wanted to lure the eyes who gravitate to the networks. But eyeballs are scattered, and what was happening in 2015 is cemented even more now. The experience can’t be termed an experiment that has failed, because PBC is still an entity, and last year a PBC card on CBS did major-league numbers, and we’re not in the prediction business, and we don’t say that can’t happen again in 2018.
But we’d also not be surprised if Haymon called it a day after three years trying out this model re-shape, and tossed his lot in with White, who is a super-skilled promoter, and has been successful at bringing current ideas and trends into combat sports more so than the boxing promoters have, since the early 2000s.
Talk to me, readers; could you see White forming an alliance with Haymon, and those two chieftains aiding each others’ business?
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