UFC president Dana White ripped the idea of exhibition matches in light of the Vitor Belfort vs. Evander Holyfield boxing match, despite recently calling for Belfort to knock Oscar De La Hoya out in the ring.
White has been known to make his opinions clear and concise when it comes to the various storylines in combat sports, including boxing. Belfort knocked out Holyfield in just seconds in a short-notice exhibition match just weeks ago.
“Had [Conor McGregor] beaten [Dustin Poirier], I know they were talking about it,” White said. “Obviously, there were a lot of things that needed to happen for that fight to happen so it didn’t. But I don’t know if that fight would have ever happened.”
“I’m not a big fan of exhibitions. It’s just a bullsh*t loophole in the system for guys who shouldn’t be fighting to be able to fight. But whatever, man.”
In the late 2000s, White was very close to fighting former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz in a boxing exhibition, back when Ortiz was with the promotion and White was just in the process of moving the UFC up to the mainstream of combat sports.
The exhibition never materalized but the hype for it was legitimate, including a ‘Bad Blood: Dana White vs. Tito Ortiz’ documentary which aired on Spike TV.
Celebrity boxing exhibitions have come more mainstream especially during the era of Logan and Jake Paul. Anderson Silva has also transitioned to boxing and his last fight with Ortiz was considered to be an exhibition.
One thing is for sure, it sounds like White will never get involved in the exhibition business during his career as a promotor. For now, he’ll look to focus on wrapping up the UFC’s incredible 2021 and moving forward into next year, but he’ll surely be interested in a fight involving De La Hoya.
Do you agree with Dana White’s comments on exhibitions?