If you thought the feud between Oscar De La Hoya and Dana White had peaked after De La Hoya claimed the UFC shortchanged its fighters and White called his rival promoter a “cokehead,” you were wrong. Loud wrong, in the case of White, who got very worked up on ESPN Thursday while calling De La Hoya a “liar” and challenging him to compare payouts on live TV — and to take a drug test.
De La Hoya wasted little time firing back, going on a podcast later in the day and offering White his own challenge: a boxing match.
Presumably not speaking in complete seriousness, although it can’t be ruled out, the former boxing champion suggested that he and White square off on the undercard of a planned bout in May involving Canelo Alvarez, the superstar boxer De La Hoya promotes through his company, Golden Boy.
“I’ll even give you five months so you can get off the juice, and then we can get in great shape, and then we go three rounds,” De La Hoya added. “Look, I’m going to give you, what, a 50-pound advantage? It’s okay. I can take you on. Let’s do it.”
The two fight promoters have butted heads in the past but tensions boiled over after De La Hoya staged his company’s first MMA fight, an event last month in which one aging former UFC titan, Tito Ortiz, knocked out another, Chuck Liddell. White voiced his opposition to the fight before it even began, pointing to the fact that he had encouraged Liddell, a personal friend, to retire from MMA in 2010 after the former light heavyweight champion suffered a string of knockout losses.
White was also incensed by De La Hoya’s claims that he would be able to make headway in the world of MMA because he would give his fighters compensation that he described as more fair than what they were receiving from companies such as the UFC. In an appearance earlier this week on TSN, De La Hoya said of Liddell and Ortiz, “If Dana White is gonna keep criticizing me, then pay your fighters so they won’t have be fighting when they’re 49 years old.”
De La Hoya made similar comments recently on ESPN’s “Get Up,” which were played for White when he appeared on the program Thursday. White began by detailing annual income Liddell received from the UFC after his retirement, claiming that those sums were far greater than what the Liddell earned for facing Ortiz.
“I paid him not to fight, more money than Oscar De La Hoya paid him to fight,” he said of Liddell.
White also asserted that Liddell told him the day before that any possible claim by De La Hoya to have paid him more than what he made in the UFC was “a lie.” Asked by ESPN’s Mike Greenberg why De La Hoya would say that fighters who worked with White were now clamoring to work with him, White said, “The guy’s a liar.”
“Oscar De La Hoya is a liar. He has no facts,” White continued, before offering to meet his antagonist and “sit down with numbers” and “somebody from the pay-per-view industry.”
His voice rising, White accused De La Hoya of being unaware of not only his fighters’ actual payouts but also their very names. “Put ’em on a piece of paper, you idiot!” he yelled.
“Listen, we can sit down and we can do this on TV, we can go head-to-head — we can also take drug tests, if he wants to do that, too,” White said, in the latest of his frequent jabs at De La Hoya’s admitted battles with substance abuse. “I’m ready to go, Oscar, you idiot.”
Asked by Greenberg if had a final message to offer De La Hoya, in case the latter was watching, White exclaimed, “Let’s do it, idiot. Come on any show you want to, I want to hear you stumble and bumble and mumble through — he doesn’t run the business, he knows nothing about the business, he knows nothing about the sport, and he’s not very bright. Let’s do it, any day of the week, let’s do it. And let’s do drug tests, too.”
For De La Hoya, that tirade amounted to fighting words, or at least enough to suggest a boxing match. He couldn’t resist landing a verbal jab while he was at it, saying of White on the podcast, “Oh wait, he’s never laced up a glove in his life. Sorry about that.”
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