Jake Paul‘s fight against Hasim Rahman Jr. is not happening after Paul said Rahman Jr. failed to make the agreed-upon weight for the matchup at Madison Square Garden, but UFC president Dana White doesn’t think that’s the reason.
OutKick’s David Hookstead previously reported the news of the fight’s cancelation, but after UFC 277 Saturday evening, White suggested a lack of interest in the fight was a bigger problem for the social media star turned boxer and his opponent.
“I think they sold under a million dollars in tickets, and it costs $500,000 to turn the f**king lights on at MSG,” White said at the UFC 277 post-fight press conference. “That’s what I think. Not to mention hotel rooms in New York and transportation and everything else is very expensive.”
Paul was headlining the card against Rahman Jr. after his original opponent Tommy Fury was unable to gain clearance to travel to the U.S.
Paul’s team said Saturday night that the fight with the son of former heavyweight champ Hasim Rahman was scrapped after Rahman Jr. couldn’t get down to 205 pounds. When Rahman Jr. allegedly asked for a 215-pound catchweight concession, the bout was called off.
As much as White believes that lackluster ticket sales played a part in the event cancellation, he still didn’t wish any ill will on Paul or Rahman Jr.
“I’m not going to sit up here and be happy or gloat that their fight fell out,” White said Saturday night. “Both those guys, I’m sure, put in a lot of hard work and a lot of training to get ready for this fight, spent money to get ready for this fight.”
In an unusual sequence of events, White didn’t take a shot at Paul after UFC 277 but did criticize his choice of business associates — individuals who once were employees of White’s.
“I will say this, just because you were an accountant here doesn’t mean you know what the f*ck goes on here,” White said, referencing Paul’s business partner Nakisa Bidarian, who previously served as Chief Financial Officer at the UFC, per MMAFighting.com. “It doesn’t mean you can run a fight promotion company.”
MMAFighting.com reports that Paul counts Bidarian as an advisor and business partner as the co-owners of Most Valuable Promotions. The promotion also manages women’s boxing champion Amanda Serrano, who was previously scheduled to compete on the same card on Aug. 6.
“I think that Jake Paul probably needs to get some different people around him,” White said. “If he’s going to stay in the sport, he needs to be with guys that really know how to put on fights.”
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