MMA fans are probably familiar with a rather hilarious interview boxing promoter Bob Arum did with Ariel Helwani back in 2009. Though he spoke highly of Dana White and the UFC’s ability to promote, Arum proceeded to trash the sport of MMA and its fan-base entirely. “The hardcore boxing fan, like me, can’t watch UFC. UFC are a bunch of skinhead white guys watching people, in the ring, who also look like skinhead white guys” Arum – then 77 – proclaimed. “For me, and people like me, it is not something that they’d ever care to see. They’ve watched it, it’s horrible, guys rolling around like homosexuals on the ground. I mean, it is not a sport that shows great, great talent” he continued.
This interview took place in 2009 and needless to say, plenty has changed since then. The McGregor-Mayweather crossover event is the second most bought boxing PPV in history while Khabib-McGregor surged past 2.5 million buys. If McGregor-Khabib II ever gets made, it could very well surpass Mayweather-Pacquiao for most viewed pay-per-view in the history of combat sports.
Despite the continued growth of the UFC in the mainstream – highlighted by a lucrative deal with ESPN – Bob Arum remains firm in his beliefs. Now 88, Arum spoke with Ariel Helwani in another entertaining interview earlier this month.
When asked if his stance on MMA had changed since then, it was a firm “no” from the last dinosaur, Bob Arum. “My stand is the same. The UFC guys are great promoters, they’ve done a great, great job. But as far as I’m concerned, it’s trash, I don’t like it. I don’t like to watch it,” Arum said. “But again, I’m just one person, and obviously, they’ve built a great fan base…. but I’m not going to say that this is a sport that I love. It does nothing for me”.
On one hand, it’s refreshing to hear somebody dig in on their opinion for a change. Bob Arum has been in the fight promotion game since 1966, so he comes from a time period where people actually did that. He still thinks MMA is “trash”, and you’ve gotta respect the man’s desire to speak his mind.
Also, would we really expect anything less from this guy? Asking a boxing promoter if they like MMA is like asking the founder of MySpace how he feels about Facebook. Bob Arum would rather die than promote MMA, which, according to him, won’t be for a long time due to his Ashkenazi Jewish genetics. “Among Ashkenazi men, not all, but many, we have what’s called a Y chromosome. Y chromosome means that you can abuse certain things, maybe drink too much, maybe smoke too many joints, but it’s not going to effect your ability to function into an old age,” he said later in the interview.
Bobby’s biology is a bit skewed, but there is truth to what he says about life expectancy and Ashkenazi Jews. He doesn’t owe an explanation to the skinhead MMA audience, so we should be grateful for learning about Y chromosomes. If we’re lucky, maybe he can teach us about multiplication.