Manny Pacquiao and Bob Arum’s feud with Dana White and the UFC was a long time in the making. When you’re the top dog and someone beneath you is clawing for that No. 1 spot, tensions are bound to boil over at some point in time.
Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports recently detailed the rivalry that is currently brewing between UFC mastermind White and Top Rank boss Arum. He noted Arum and President of Top Rank Todd duBoef, were not too pleased about the UFC announcing they would showcase their first television event with new partners, Fox, on the same night that Pacquiao was due to fight longtime rival Juan Manuel Marquez. Iole also noted that despite Arum’s attempts to minimize the impact the UFC had on him by disparaging their ability to pull combat sports fans and calling them “no competition,” duBoef was reportedly incensed at the idea of a competitor scheduling an event on the same night as Pacquiao v. Marquez.
The interesting part of this whole mess is Pacquiao’s role. Despite the fact that he is a largely innocent party in this situation, the battle lines have been drawn – and Pacquiao’s alliance with Arum is no secret.
White made it known a long time ago that he greatly respected the Filipino boxer and acknowledged him as boxing’s lone saving grace these days, but at a certain point, he’ll explode on Pacquiao as well. It’s just in White’s nature: His fuse is short and he’s extremely outspoken – especially when it comes to competition.
For now, though, White has done his part to preserve his relationship with Pacquiao. Out of respect for the international superstar, White made sure that his UFC on Fox premiere would end prior to Pacquiao’s fight.
This way, fans can simply skip out on the undercard and tune into some MMA action, only to flip over to Pacquiao v. Marquez when the time comes. That decision, however, was made prior to Arum -- who has a long history of insulting the UFC -- making a series of discourteous remarks regarding what little competition the UFC poses to him and boxing as a whole.
“There is no competition,” Arum said. “If Fox was to put on a top movie that night, it might be more competition. If Fox put on Manchester United that night, it would be more competition.”
Amazingly enough, despite his longtime working relationship with Arum, Pacquiao has never actually gotten any of the promoter’s stink on him. He’s still as beloved as he always was, and if anything, has bolstered Arum’s reputation a bit. Now, however, the pair are going up against a group in the UFC with their own loyal, dedicated following, and it remains to be seen if Pacquiao can come out of that situation unscathed.
Boxing is on its last legs as the most respected combat sport in all the land, and Pacquiao is the last piece keeping it from the grip of irrelevancy. As the battle for eyeballs heats up, expect for the Filipino superstar to catch some of the shrapnel that inevitably comes flying when Arum and White go to war.