Dana White had quite a time watching the sweet science this past weekend.
On a rare week off for the UFC, it was boxing superstar Canelo Alvarez who took center stage on Sept. 30 in Las Vegas with a unanimous decision victory over Jermell Charlo. However, Alvarez’s dominant performance to defend his status as undisputed super middleweight champion was not what grabbed White’s attention.
When asked Tuesday at the Contender Series post-fight press conference about the ongoing saga of Bellator’s potential sale, the UFC CEO saved his usual venom for the rival promotion and instead directed it at Bellator’s broadcast partner, Showtime.
“If Bellator continues to exist, it’s not a bad thing. It’s a good thing,” White told reporters. “If you look at all the s*** that we take about a lot of things — they’re owned by f****** Viacom. You know how much money these guys have? Why would they be going out of business unless they’re just tired of doing it, because you’re hearing rumors about Showtime too, not just Bellator. You know what I think of Showtime as a company, there’s no secret. Again, I could go on for days about their production on Saturday. They tried to do it better. I noticed. Showtime, I noticed you tried to do it better, but you guys suck.”
White’s positive comments about Bellator were somewhat unusual for the UFC boss, though perhaps shouldn’t be too unexpected considering the UFC is currently the target of a class-action lawsuit by several former fighters over its possible monopsony — a lawsuit that a federal judge in Nevada recently certified following an eight-year slog in the courts, clearing the way for a long-awaited trial that could rock the sport of MMA at its core.
White’s comments about Showtime, however, are not as surprising. The UFC CEO has been vocally at odds with Showtime Sports president Stephen Espinoza since the two worked together to promote the Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor superfight in 2017.
Showtime broadcasted Canelo vs. Charlo this past Saturday, and when asked for his thoughts on the fight, White launched into a lengthy rant aimed at its production.
“Let me give you an example. This is how good our production is. Did you see [Anthony] Pettis there [at Contender Series]?” White said. “So the kid that threw the Pettis kicks off the fence [Magomed Gadzhiyasulov], it was three seconds left in the round, right? Three seconds left in the round. I picked up my big red phone and I called the truck, I said, ‘Put those Pettis kicks in the package.’ [They said,] ‘No problem.’ Hung up the phone, three seconds left in the round, they put them in there and they showed Pettis.
“Now, if any of you were home watching that fight that night on Showtime, they were trying to do more replays — their replays were so bad, there was a set of replays where, in both replays, nobody landed a f****** punch. So then you’ve got the commentators trying to talk about what’s going on and they were terrible replays. When you know production, they’re a f****** major network — they’re supposed to be anyway, Showtime, Viacom, whatever — that’s the f****** product that you’re putting on? When you know what you’re looking for and you know what you’re talking about in the production world, there’s nobody that can disagree with me that Showtime a horrible, horrible f****** production team.
“And listen, they’re not willing to stay in Bellator, they’re not willing to maybe move forward with boxing, so what does that tell you?” White continued. “They’re not putting any money into it. There’s probably no money in it and the guys can’t do it. I don’t know what the answer is, but it’s embarrassing. God bless all of them that work on that show.”