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Why is Dana White so mad at Showtime Sports?

Claiming he’ll never work with the company again, UFC boss Dana White has taken aim at Showtime Sports.

UFC 220 Press Conference Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Numbers are by and large the way we measure success in this society, right or wrong.

So, if you are seeking to know whether the Sept. Aug. 26 Floyd Mayweather versus Conor McGregor bout was a “success,” you might well seek out what sort of money the boxing vs MMA mashup conjured.

You got a gauge by numbers when you saw this Showtime press release, which came out on December 14.

SHOWTIME SPORTS confirmed today that the SHOWTIME PPV presentation of Mayweather vs. McGregor on August 26, 2017 generated 4.3 million pay-per-view buys in North America. This includes traditional television distribution and online portals such as the new SHOWTIME PPV app and as well as UFC.TV in U.S. and Canada.

Mayweather vs. McGregor, a four-fight SHOWTIME PPV boxing event at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, officially stands as the second largest pay-per-view event of all time behind Mayweather vs. Pacquiao, which set the North American pay-per-view mark at 4.6 million buys in 2015. The SHOWTIME PPV totals for Mayweather vs. McGregor far exceed the now third best event in history—nearly doubling the 2.48 million buys for Oscar De La Hoya vs. Mayweather in 2007.

The total global revenue from the event including ticket sales, sponsorship and international distribution exceeds $600 million, which—along with Mayweather vs. Pacquiao— is among the largest for a single-day sporting event of all time. Mayweather and SHOWTIME PPV now account for the three highest grossing pay-per-view events in television history with the third-ranked event Mayweather vs. Canelo from 2013.

4.3 million PPV buys in North America, and global revenue over $600 million. Not unsuccessful, by any stretch…

But not as successful, numbers-wise, as the UFC boss, Dana White, put forth. On Aug. 30, he told SI that the event did 6.5 million buys, globally. Globally is the operative word, because the PPV tally numbers we the media always get is for US and Canada, aka North America. So, 4.3 and 6.5, it’s somewhat apples and oranges, isn’t it?

White offered an amended tally on Oct. 25 to the Wall Street Journal, pegging the global buy numbers at 6.7 million.

“We broke the record in Australia,” White said to Jason Gay. “We broke the record in the U.K. at 4 in the morning, broke the record in Spain, Canada, and the United States.”

It’s great to be able to crow about breaking records, we can all agree.

The Manny Pacquiao vs Floyd Mayweather PPV in 2015 collected 4.6 million PPV view buys in North America and 5.5 million globally, if you recall. So, that Showtime release let us know that Floyd vs. Manny beat Floyd vs. Conor in North America, the sector that is still ost meaningful in the economic sphere which becomes more global every day. Maybe that irks White, it is impossible to say, because we don’t know his motivations for speaking, as he did to Kevin Iole, in a chat which ran on Yahoo, January 4. White went at Showtime, scorched Earth style, hurling Napalm snowballs that the cabler, summoning more scorn for them than even his hated rival, Bob Arum.

“I don’t give a shit about Showtime’s fucking full of shit press release they put out, it’s the biggest fight ever, ever in combat sports history,” White said to Iole. “The thing did over 6.7 million buys, and if the service didn’t drop we would have got closer to 7 million. It was the biggest boxing event ever, without a boxer… The way that they handled that press release, and what they did. I didn’t trust those guys before and now I despise those fucking guys. I’ll never work with them again, ever.”

Yes, he lumped Showtime in with Arum, as persons he’d not work with. I found it surprising, as it looked to me, publicly, that those parties, White and Arum, were basically on the same page and not at odds during the Mayweather-McGregor promotion. Why now the ire?

Was White really mainly or fully taking issue with the Showtime press release’s contents…and thus deciding to declare he’d not ever work with them again? I didn’t get that, because the number he’d touted, the 6.5, then the 6.7, is a global number. Showtime didn’t offer that tally. They never have, to my recollection. So, why was White so keen to put them on blast, because, again, this seems a discussion of apples and oranges.

White takes aim at Showtime within the context of “trust,” but he doesn’t offer backup or illuminate the charge. Is he implying their numbers are off? That seems an errant stab, being that Showtime is part of CBS, and CBS is a publicly traded company, and such companies are typically quite scrupulous at releasing news which could impact stock market movement of their company.

To reiterate, Showtime always puts out PPV tallies deriving from sales in US and Canada, and they did the same in the release White takes issue with. Why would he have expected different…especially since IMG, which now owns UFC, got the rights to sell the fight internationally?

Why, we wonder, didn’t White simply tout that global buy number toot the horn focusing on that impressive figure. The Mayweather v Pacman clash did 5.5, globally. If White’s number gathering showed they did 6.5 or 6.7 or whatever, globally, why not sing those praises to the heavens? I confess, I don’t understand White putting SHO on blast and exactly what it is he’s so irked by. Thoughts, readers? Maybe your informed speculation can fill in some blanks for me.

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