UFC President Dana White is Caught Watching Boxing Match While Cageside at UFC Event…

UFC 222 took place last Saturday. There were some insane moments on the card. Hector Lombard was disqualified after striking C.B. Dolloway after the bell, while an injured Sean O’Malley did his post-fight interview from off his back. Franke Edgar was brutally knocked out for the first time in his career, while Cris Cyborg annihilated newcomer Yana Kunitskaya.

Sounds pretty good right? Let’s be realistic, a lot of people didn’t think the $65 price of the pay-per-view card was value for money. The UFC has got into a habit of delivering top heavy cards with lesser known fighters bulking out the event.

It didn’t help the UFC’s case that there were some huge fights elsewhere in the boxing world. Deontay Wilder took on Luis Ortiz in Brooklyn, while Sergey Kovalev fought Igor Milhalkin at Madison Square Garden. You’d be forgiven if you picked the boxing over the UFC last night — just like a certain UFC president did.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports.

Heavyweight Grand Prix

The heavyweight showdown between Wilder and Ortiz was the most hotly anticipated boxing match of the year so far. The WBC champion was putting his belt up for grabs against the dangerous 38-year-old veteran. For Wilder, the most valuable prize was to take one step closer to the winner of Anthony Joshua vs Joseph Parker and become the unified heavyweight champion.

We were given a classic. Wilder was knocked down in the seventh round and looked very vulnerable, but he managed to hold on. He had already dropped Ortiz in the fifth, but the Cuban managed to regain a foothold in the fight. However, in round ten, Wilder finally managed to get the knockout blow with a clinical finish. Over to you Anthony Joshua.

Cris Cyborg. Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports.

Says it All

Wilder vs Ortiz was on at the same time as Andrei Arlovski took on Stefan Struve in a UFC heavyweight matchup, you’d be forgiven for picking the boxing over the MMA. Dana White certainly did. The UFC president was pictured sitting cage side beside a monitor with the big boxing match in New York on the screen. It doesn’t say a lot for the credibility of UFC events if their own president is caught shamelessly watching a boxing match elsewhere.

It will be fascinating to see how well the card did in terms of pay-per-view buys. Cris Cyborg has been a consistent draw for fans, but it is fair to say that despite the entertainment value of the card, it definitely lacked depth in recognizable names. For example, Sean O’Malley is a very exciting prospect, but on the main card of a pay-per-view, on his second UFC appearance?


Changes Needed

It’s fair to say that the UFC itself is going through a period of transition. They’re spreading fight cards thin while having a couple of cards a year that have multiple title fights on them. It’s too early to tell if that is what fans really want, or if it is sustainable when other sports are being shown on the same night.

Finally, let’s think about the comparative salaries. Wilder earned $2.1 million just for appearing against Ortiz. Cris Cyborg, who was the biggest name on the UFC card on Saturday night, earned $500,000. There’s still a long way to go before the UFC can compete with boxing, on and off the screen.

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