Over the years, UFC president Dana White has had his far share of beefs with boxing promoters, memorably calling Top Rank CEO Bob Arum a “f*cking scumbag” and Golden Boy Promotion founder Oscar De La Hoya a “lying, two-faced, hypocritical sack of sh*t”, just to name a few. But don’t put Eddie Hearn on that list.
Hearn is the chairman of Matchroom Sport, a promotion founded by Hearn’s father Barry, and has promoted bouts with some of the biggest names in boxing today, including Anthony Joshua, Canelo Alvarez, Gennady Golovkin, and Oleksandr Usyk. Hearn actually views Dana White with a lot of respect, even though many of his peers don’t see her in that way.
” I’ve always found him to be very friendly and respectful. He doesn’t need to respect me, but I do pay attention to how people treat me and what they say about me. When Daniel Jacobs was training for Canelo’s fight, he actually was watching him on his pads. He said to me, “Do you want a tour?” Hearn said recently on .The MMA Hour HTML1. “I think sometimes people get a bad name, bad rep, but you should always take them on face value, and I found him very welcoming.”
White’s opinions on Hearn are not based solely on their interactions. Hearn, a boxing promoter, has a lot of respect for White’s work in the UFC.
“I think he’s really good at what he does,” Hearn said. “A lot of what we do as a business follows suit from the UFC. It doesn’t bother me to admit that I often tell my team, “Watch what they do.” Everything, including the live streaming of press conferences, graphics, branding and look and feel. So I believe that I’m definitely the best promoter in boxing, but I do think Dana White is a bit of an icon in that respect.”
While White is often a lightning rod for criticism, he’s also undeniably one of the most successful promoters in sports history, having helped build the UFC into a $4 billion franchise, based in large part on the UFC’s ability to corner the market with a strong brand identity. It’s a playbook that Hearn hopes to replicate one day.
” For me, it wasn’t about building my brand, or my profile. But I have realized how important it is to do that simultaneously. Hearn stated that he had built his profile and brand to the point that it can be very powerful when promoting that type of platform. “Because you can’t always rely on the power of a broadcaster and the ability of a broadcaster to promote your event. It’s crucial to create your own platform.
” What he did in MMA was very similar to our goal in boxing, which is to dominate in all aspects. Global domination and building a brand to a point where when you go to a new city or a new town or a new country, the credibility of a Matchroom event or an Eddie Hearn event will almost draw people to that. Although the talent is more important than their talents, that’s why they are so successful. The UFC’s London visit is a huge success. The quality of the card, the fight has got to stand the test of time, but it’s building that brand where you just recognize the quality and you recognize that as a great night out.”