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Tito Ortiz on Golden Boy MMA and Oscar De La Hoya: ‘Dana was right’

The veteran MMA star got to see up close the mess that was Golden Boy’s attempt to promote MMA in 2018.

Boxing: Canelo vs GGG 2 - Weigh Ins Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

For quite a while, Oscar De La Hoya made noise about coming into mixed martial arts and changing the landscape of how fighters get paid and all that, and then on Nov. 24 last year, Oscar put his money where his mouth was, promoting Golden Boy MMA’s first event, a pay-per-view headlined by a third fight between 43-year-old Tito Ortiz and 48-year-old Chuck Liddell.

Ortiz and Liddell were once top stars in UFC, and their first two fights in 2004 and 2006 — both won by Liddell — did great business. UFC 47 in 2004 did 105,000 buys on pay-per-view, which for the time was really strong for UFC, and the rematch at UFC 66 in 2006 did 929,000 buys, which was a record for the company until UFC 91 in 2008, and that show has now been topped several times.

By the time Golden Boy brought them together for a third fight, however, Ortiz hadn’t fought in UFC in over six years, though he’d stayed somewhat active in Bellator, and Liddell hadn’t fought in eight years, period, and hadn’t actually won a fight in almost 11.

Liddell-Ortiz III was an utter fiasco. Even at press events, De La Hoya looked completely lost, but he was predicting buys between 200K and 400K. When all was said and done, the high report for buys was 40K, and that came after the PPV price was lowered to $40 in the final week due to bad advanced sales.

Ortiz did an interview this weekend where he was asked about the event and Oscar De La Hoya’s venture into mixed martial arts, and he was simple in his response.

“I think he made a lot of mistakes, but at the same time, for a boxing promoter to come into mixed martial arts, it’s a different animal. Dana was right,” Ortiz said.

De La Hoya recently said he wishes White all the best, but that — and he didn’t put it in these words, but I will — he doesn’t think White would do any better in boxing than he did in MMA. White has talked for a long time now about coming in and crashing the party in boxing, as De La Hoya talked about and then tried to do with MMA.

As for Golden Boy MMA, there has been no real discussion of that since Nov. 25.

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