There’s an old saying in the fight game which states that all is fair in love and fight promotion. Triller, the social media group which recently moved into boxing promotion, has done all it can to test the limits of that particular maxim.
The warning signs were there. When it was announced by the group that Evander Holyfield was to fill in for fellow fight veteran Oscar De La Hoya against the 44-year-old former UFC fighter Vitor Belfort, it was met with mostly ignominy from the sports press.
Why was this near senior citizen being plucked from retirement on a week’s notice to step into the ring with a man who, despite his own advanced age, was 14 years Holyfield’s junior?
As noted by boxing journo Dan Rafael, Triller’s latest fight card appeared to be a disaster in all areas and wasn’t buoyed by the addition of UFC stars Anderson Silva and Tito Ortiz facing each other, for some reason or another, in a boxing match, nor the comeback that fight fans didn’t know they wanted (and still don’t) from David Haye.
Per Rafael, the card generated just $7.5 million in pay-per-view sales – a sum which places the event at huge financial loss (and even more-so when you consider the “obscene” amount of money that Donald Trump was supposedly paid to provide ringside commentary).
And while ethical concerns as to the legitimacy of last weekend’s card were apparent from all quarters, Meier stuck to his guns. Holyfield was fine, he said, but his original comeback opponent Kevin McBride wasn’t.
“There is a greater conversation that could be had talking about ethical and non-ethical and whatnot, but I would never put anyone in the ring if there were any concerns about them mentally, medically or physically,” Meier explained.
“We are the ones who had concerns about McBride. We did everything in our power to make sure that McBride fight didn’t happen because we were concerned that something would happen in the ring.”
Meier added that Triller will promote next month’s undisputed lightweight title fight between Teofimo Lopez and George Kambosos, something which is a far cry from retired fighters and boxing/MMA crossover bouts in a fight which they presumably hope will go some way to legitimizing them as a player in global boxing.
To some though, the reputational damage is already done. Evander Holyfield is one of the most beloved figures in heavyweight boxing history and Triller was only too happy to make a quick buck at his expense. California wanted no part of it, but Florida quite obviously did.
Fighters are always going to want to fight and it doesn’t come easy for a pugilist to admit that the task in front of them is too steep. That’s Triller’s job. That’s the Florida commission’s job.
Instead, this lust for combat nostalgia has exposed the limits of Triller’s cash grab for all to see.
And judging by their bottom line, there were absolutely no winners whatsoever.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.
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