The evening of September 19th will be a busy night for fight fans – both UFC 103 and Floyd Mayweather vs. Juan Manuel Marquez will be taking place that night. Dana White was not happy with HBO’s decision to counter-program UFC 103 with the boxing match.
“Boxing is doing it to you again,” White said on a newly released video from the UFC. “They’re giving you the fight that you don’t want. Nobody asked for this fight with Mayweather and … what’s his name? What’s his name? Nobody even knows.”
White went on to say that fans who pay to watch one boxing match could enjoy a full card if they tune into UFC 103, featuring a fight between Rich “The Ace” Franklin vs. Vitor Belfort.
“On that same night, on that UFC card, you guys can all tune in and you can watch not one fight, you guys can watch five great fights that night for ten dollars less than what Floyd wants you to pay to see him run around in circles, and lay on the ropes, and move around and not fight.”
White’s harsh words don’t seem to be affecting HBO officials, who stand firm on their decision to air the pay-per-view boxing match the same night as UFC 103.
“It’s definitely not something that happens intentionally, and it’s something that you would want to have happen as infrequently as possible because the distribution pipelines prefer to be clean and singularly focused,” Mark Taffet, senior vice president of HBO pay-per-view told FanHouse.
“When it does occur, we’re confident from a consumer perspective of there being very little overlap and the events will all thrive. But it’s clearly something that on a going forward basis that will happen as infrequently as possible.”
Taffet went on to say that there is no more than a 5% overlap between UFC and boxing fans, which will not greatly affect pay per view buys.
“Each sport has its unique fans, it’s passionate fans, and its loyal fans. We think that our fans are going to find Mayweather-Marquez that night — we’re very confident about that — and it’s a world in which multiple sports are thriving in the pay-per-view industry and the pay-per-view distributors the beneficiaries.”
UFC 103 takes place on September 19th, and is headlined by Rich Franklin facing former UFC light heavyweight champ Vitor Belfort in a 195-pound catchweight bout. In addition, for the first time on a U.S. pay-per-view event, the UFC and Spike TV will broadcast a 60-minute lead-in show where they will televise two live preliminary bouts starting at 9PM ET/6PM PT to combat the Mayweather fight.