De La Hoya claims he’s tired of hearing fighters say they “get paid crap” in the lead up to Golden Boy’s first venture into promoting MMA.
Golden Boy Promotions chairman and CEO Oscar De La Hoya has finally taken his first step toward MMA legitimacy; pitting one fighter who is three years his senior — Chuck Liddell — against another fighter only two years his junior — Tito Ortiz.
It’s not exactly ideal. Liddell was brutally knocked out in his last three bouts eight years ago before retiring. Ortiz, while active, is nothing more than the proverbial shell of his former self (although can boast a few wins within the last four years). Nonetheless, they’re two fighters who can attract an audience with their names alone.
De La Hoya was fairly candid with Brett Okamoto (via ESPN).
“I’m excited for our first Golden Boy MMA event,” De La Hoya told ESPN. “It reminds me of the first-ever fight I did in boxing [in 2002]. I’m going to see how this one goes, but just the way I did in boxing, I plan on becoming a regular promoter of MMA. There’s no reason I should only promote one sport.”
The most interesting tidbit came with De La Hoya explained why he’s interesting in working in MMA for the long haul; a point he’s talked about before.
“I’m becoming a promoter in MMA for the same reason I became a promoter in boxing,” De La Hoya said. “I’m sick and tired of these fighters coming up to me and saying they get paid crap.
Fighter pay is a notoriously touchy subject. An estimated one-third of a UFC fighter’s pay comes from undisclosed sources. And finding out exact numbers for fighter salaries is difficult because the percentage of fighters with payouts made public has decreased from 53 percent in 2003 to 28 percent of payouts disclosed in 2017 (for a variety of reasons). Even for title contenders/potential champions, the UFC is willing to play hardball when it comes to the bottom line. De La Hoya wasn’t specific, but he was somewhat pointed.
”I can’t get into the specifics of these deals, but I’ll tell you that [Liddell and Ortiz] will be making a hell of a lot more money than they have with anybody else. They’ll participate in revenue from PPV, gate and everything else that comes in. This will be the most lucrative fight of their careers.”
As for the fight itself, De La Hoya is billing it as two old geezers with motor oil in their blood, and steel in their muscles (or something like that).
“I think this fight will be very lucrative for both guys. This is an opportunity for them to show the world they still have what it takes to fight in the Octagon. I strongly feel it’s never too late with two guys like this. Two names of this caliber, you can’t go wrong.”
It feels like a much older, wrinkled version of Chuck Liddell vs. Rich Franklin. A fight involving two fighters who are entertaining, trending down, but which will certainly result in someone waking up only to stare back into the abyss — like last time.