Triller’s Ryan Kavanaugh slammed UFC president Dana White for not allowing former UFC champ Georges St-Pierre the opportunity to box Oscar De La Hoya on Triller. Kavanaugh says he’s been trying to reach White through phone calls and text messages to no avail, so this time he sent his message to the UFC boss via SiriusXM’s “Friday At the Fights with Randy Gordon and Gerry Cooney”.
In that interview, Kavanaugh suggested White should allow the contractually obligated UFC star the chance to fight for Triller because not doing so “makes it seem like fighters are almost locked into slave contracts…”.
So Kavanaugh still wants to make the GSP vs. De La Hoya boxing match happen, even though one has to wonder now whether the inflammatory language he just used in his interview will do anything other than hurt his cause.
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GSP vs. De La Hoya: ‘Beneficial to Both Parties’
“Out of respect, we all went to Dana to ask for approval and he said no. I called him, I texted him, and I said, ‘Let’s talk, maybe we can do something that’s beneficial to both parties,’ and you guys heard in the press conference he didn’t return my calls or my texts and kind of s*** on us,” Kavanaugh said per Bad Left Hook.
Despite getting blasted by White in the UFC 262 post-fight press conference, Kavanaugh said he remains hopeful White will change his mind about the fight.
He claims “GSP” has been training for the superfight boxing match, and he continues to urge White to allow St-Pierre the opportunity to showcase his skills on Triller.
“The good news is Oscar wants it more than anything, he’s training very hard for the fight we’re going to have in September. GSP doesn’t stop training, he wants it,” Kavanaugh said.
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Kavanaugh’s Misnomer: ‘Out of Respect’
The UFC’s approval is necessary for the fight to happen.
Despite Kavanaugh suggesting they reached out to White for approval “out of respect”, the real reason is St-Pierre is still under contract with the UFC and thus would need the company’s permission to compete under another promotional banner.
Kavanaugh hopes to get White’s approval so that Triller can make the “GSP” vs. De La Hoya boxing match a reality.
“I hope that Dana will (ask himself), ‘Why am I blocking this? What’s the point?’ It’s not good for him, not good for the concept of fighting, for any of us, because it makes it seem like fighters are almost locked into slave contracts of some sort, and they’re not,” Kavanaugh said.
Moreover, Kavanaugh believes GSP vs. De La Hoya in a boxing ring on Triller would somehow positively impact the UFC.
“Let’s go have some fun, help market the UFC, put some money in a charity’s pocket, and give these guys both some money and watch a fight the world would love to see,” Kavanaugh said.
The Triller boss had previously suggested he would be willing to give $1 million to the charity of White’s choice to gain the UFC’s permission.
Why UFC’s Reasoning Might Make Sense
Reading only Kavanaugh’s side of the story, one might wonder why the UFC would want to keep retired fighters under contract the opportunity to participate in boxing matches outside the UFC’s control.
One reality is that it’s simply because the company can, and UFC officials are probably sick of seeing MMA fighters getting outboxed by pro boxers under boxing rules.
Like it or not, that kind of thing continually happening could damage the company’s brand in the long run, at least in the eyes of some of the public, so signing off on a UFC legend like GSP to most likely get worked over under a different set of rules in a different sport by a boxing legend doesn’t make much sense.
Another reason is that the UFC wants to keep control of its most popular fighters. If St-Pierre really wants to fight again, the UFC would probably want to be the company that promotes the fight.
Finally, Triller’s entrance into the world of combat sports makes them a competitor to the UFC.
The UFC has no real reason to help Triller make any fights happen at all. In fact, the UFC would be wise to keep Triller from making any more inroads into the world of combat sports than it already has.
That’s just smart business.
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