UFC president Dana White spoke out extensively this week about the controversy surrounding the end of the boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and Victor Ortiz. We all know how the fight ended with a Mayweather KO while Ortiz’ guard was down. We also saw how Mayweather got into an argument with 80 year old Larry Merchant in the post fight interview.
White is right about a few things, and he is wrong about a few things. Let’s explore.
First of all, the job done by hall of fame boxing referee Joe Cortez was, as White points out, bordering on the criminally bad. To deduct a point, the fighters should have been sent to a neutral corner, and the chaos of the apologies needed to be controlled by the referee, not watched drooling with an open mouth.
White is right that their is the concern that this could happen in MMA since the same commissions oversee the sport and select the officials and judges.
It has happened before. In a bodogFIGHT event in Vancouver, a fight between Antonio ‘Big Foot’ Silva and Eric Pele was stopped woefully early by the referee. I believe in the UFC Aaron Riley is getting a rematch due to a poor stoppage. He is right to be concerned about what would happen if say, on the one televised fight for FOX, Cain Velasquez versus Junior Dos Santos, something similar would happen.
Where I think Dana is wrong is in criticizing Larry Merchant. Like him or not, the old man had the guts to stand there and ask Mayweather the questions that were on everybody’s mind. Yes, Mayweather won, and it was technically legal. But it was clear to anyone who saw the ending that it was questionable sportsmanship. Merchant was asking the question, and ‘Money’ didn’t like it.
I saw other interviews, with Mayweather praising other announcers. But it was remarkable how they all gave Mayweather leeway and didn’t broach the subject. They were scared, or at best neutral.
So, in criticizing Merchant, White is way off. The guy to me appears to be one of the few who was actually doing his job. It was not a great situation, but the crowd was clearly riled up, and when Mayweather skirted the subject, Merchant asked the question again. Despite being closer to 102 years old than 22, he did his job. It was other interviewers that let Mayweather skate, and in true boxing fashion, didn’t do their jobs.