Oscar De La Hoya made his mixed martial arts promotion debut in 2018 through Golden Boy MMA. The event was headlined by the third fight between rivals Tito Ortiz and Chuck Liddell, resulting in the former winning by first-round knockout.
But as we all saw, that served to be the only event from De La Hoya, so far. And in his recent appearance on The MMA Hour, “The Golden Boy” said UFC president Dana White had something to do with it.
“It was such a great experience. Obviously, it’s not my sport that I know, that I’m knowledgeable about, [but] it’s still the fight game. It’s still the same promotion,” De La Hoya told Ariel Helwani. “It’s still — you have fighters, you have the venues, you have pay-per-views, it’s all the same. The business model is all the same.
“We had the arena jam-packed; pay-per-views didn’t do too well for certain reasons, certain cable operators weren’t working with us, but I think it’s just because I received too much heat from Dana White. That’s literally the bottom line. And also being busy with Golden Boy Promotions, I decided I’m going to stay in my own lane.”
De La Hoya says the criticisms he got were due to his lack of “insights” of the sport, which he feels were warranted.
“I did it because fighters came to me and said, ‘Hey, why don’t you help us out here? We want to try something new here,” he said. “We want to try to build something here with you.’ So I tried it, and it was a great experience. I actually really loved it, the atmosphere and the fans, it’s really engaging.
“It was a lot of fun, but the bottom line is, I received a lot of heat for not really knowing the insights of MMA and everything that goes on, all the players and the fighters. Dana criticized me and all that, and it’s for a good reason.
“There were some exchanges going back and forth with me and Dana, which I apologized for, 1000 percent.”
Both White and De La Hoya haven’t been shy about their dislike for each other. But from his end, De La Hoya is hoping they could sort things out, eventually, for the sake of business.
“I would love to work with him,” De La Hoya said of White. “It would be a lot of fun and interesting to build something together, because boxing is a very fragmented sport, and what the Fertitta brothers did and what Dana did with the UFC is incredible.
“Buying the company many years ago, building it into a powerhouse, building it into a league, building it into what it is now is just so admirable. So yeah, I’m extending an olive branch. I would love to sit down and talk and smooth things out, let bygones be bygones, and then focus on business…
“No hard feelings. It is what it is,” he continued. “I said a couple of things that were not nice, he said a couple of things that were pretty below the belt, but no hard feelings whatsoever. It is what it is. We can move on as adults and figure out something if he wants to. I’m here, I’m all ears.
“I’m more than happy and willing to listen and to create something special because I’m a businessman. I love to build a foundation that can be very, very special, and me and Dana coming together can be very special.”
Recently, White expressed disappointment and what appeared to be a decision to give up on his boxing promotion aspirations because he believes “it’s a broken business.”
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