Dana White is the most outspoken promoter in all of the combat sports industry.
But not all boxing opportunities are created equal. Recently former UFC welterweight champion Georges “Rush” St. Pierre revealed why talks between him and Oscar De La Hoya for a boxing match never materialized.
“I thought it would be a fun thing to do,” St-Pierre told host Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour. “My career to prove that I’m the strongest man in the world in the sport of mixed martial arts is done.
“I’m 40 years old. But to do something different, something that could be fun and very motivating for me, and plus on top of that a lot of money would’ve been given to charity, against a legend in the sport like Oscar De La Hoya, I think I would’ve done it.”
UFC President Dana White denied St-Pierre’s request to take part in the fight. Notoriously, De La Hoya and White have had a very hostile relationship for the last few years. The two have constantly taken shots at each other through the media.
Still, St. Pierre thought the event was favorable for him.
“Not because I believe I’m a better boxer than Oscar De La Hoya was when he was in his prime, but I do now believe he probably has more mileage than I do. I’m in great shape. I’m younger. I used to compete at a heavier weight class. I think it would be a fair fight that the fans would’ve wanted to watch.
However, although St-Pierre has been retired for several years, he’s still under an active contract with the UFC. That means he also needs their approval to fight with rival companies.
The Triller streaming app is backing de La Hoya’s return. Unfortunately for St. Pierre, there is no other bigger rival to White than Triller.
“I even called [former UFC owner] Lorenzo [Fertitta] to try to convince Dana,” St-Pierre said. “Lorenzo liked the idea, but Dana did not want it. I knew he hates Oscar, but I said to him, ‘Listen, I’m going to make Oscar look bad because I’m in great shape. I’ve been staying in great shape the whole time, and I’m going to do a full boxing training camp with Freddie Roach and his world champions there, so I’ll be very well prepared.’
“At first, he says to me that the reason why he did not want it is because he thought that Oscar would basically destroy me in a boxing match. And I had some good arguments — I told him that I believe Oscar has more mileage than I do, he’s no longer in his prime, I stayed busy the whole time, I’m still in great shape, I’m going to be very well prepared, and I’m taking this fight very seriously. If I do it because it’s my name — my image is attached to it — I will do it 100 percent. And I told Dana, I said, ‘If there’s one MMA fighter that go to boxing and look good in this situation, it would be me.’
“And at first he refused,” St-Pierre continued. “Then he thought about it but he came back with the argument that, oh, no, it’s not because he thinks Oscar is going to win; he thinks it’s because he doesn’t like the fact that Triller takes me and makes money off my back while I’m still under contract with UFC.”
Even in retirement, Dana White is the boss with the UFC system, and careers can advance or recede based on his whims. Unless he changes his mind on certain other players in the combat sports spectrum, it looks like GSP won’t be the only one on the shelf.