Jake Paul called off his August 6 fight against Hasim Rahman Jr after saying that Rahman Jr failed to achieve the agreed weight for the match at Madison Square Garden. UFC president Dana White isn’t so sure.
In response to the news that Paul v. Rahman, Jr. was cancelled, White hinted that the lack of interest in the event was a much bigger problem than anything to do with the fighters.
“I think they sold less than a million dollars in tickets, and it cost $500,000 to run the ****** lights at MSG,” White said at a post-match press conference at UFC 277. “that what I think.
“Not to mention New York hotel rooms, transportation, and everything else is expensive.”
Paul was leading the card against Rahman Jr after his original opponent Tommy Fury was unable to obtain a permit to travel to the United States. to 205 pounds – after the match was supposed to take place at 200 pounds. When Rahman Jr. requested a 215-pound weight waiver, the match was cancelled.
As much as White believes lackluster ticket sales played a role in the event’s cancellation, he still doesn’t wish any ill will for Paul or Rahman Jr.
“I’m not going to sit here and be happy or cheerful that their battle has broken out,” White said. “I’m sure these two guys put in a lot of hard work and a lot of training to prepare for this fight, and they spent money to get ready for this fight.”
While the UFC president rarely has a good word where Paul is involved, he didn’t shoot him directly on Saturday. Instead, he criticized Paul’s choice of business partners.
“I’ll say this, just because you’re an accountant here doesn’t mean you know what’s going on here,” White said, referring to Nakiza Bidarian, Paul’s business partner, who was previously the UFC’s chief financial officer. “It doesn’t mean that you can run a fight promotion company.”
Paul Bedarian is a consultant and business partner as co-owners of Most Valuable Promotions, the company that also operates women’s boxing champion Amanda Serrano, who was previously scheduled to compete on the same ticket on August 6.
After what happened with the fight against Rahman Jr. and the cancellation of the entire event, White gave Paul some advice about his fighting career.
“I think Jake Paul might need some different people around him,” White said. “If he’s going to stay in the sport, he has to be with guys who really know how to fight battles.”