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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Nolan King and Matthew Wells

Dana White reacts to Jake Paul cancellation, theorizes lack of ticket sales to blame

DALLAS – Dana White won’t gloat over the fact Jake Paul vs. Hasim Rahman Jr. was canceled in the middle of UFC 277. He recognizes that each boxer likely trained hard and lost money as a result – but things still sound fishy to him.

White has long said that not many people can do what the UFC does nearly every single weekend of the calendar year, which is to put on top-tier fights on a consistent basis. Not even former UFC CFO Nakisa Bidarian, who serves as advisor for Jake Paul, and owner of Most Valuable Promotions, the company that promotes Paul’s fights, can pull it off, White surmises.

“Just because you were an accountant here doesn’t mean you know what the f*ck goes on here and doesn’t mean you can run a fight promotion company,” White told MMA Junkie and other reporters at the UFC 277 post-fight news conference. “I think Jake Paul needs to get some different people around him. If he’s going to stay in the sport, he needs to be with guys that actually really know how to put on fights.”

Paul vs. Rahman Jr. was scheduled to take place Aug. 6. However, according to an event cancellation announcement issued Saturday by Most Valuable Promotions, the bout was canceled after Rahman deceived the promotion and commission about his weight cut and asked for the bout to be shifted from 200 pounds to 215 pounds.

White didn’t seem to buy the explanation.

“I think they sold under $1 million in tickets and it costs $500,000 to turn the f*cking lights on at MSG,” White said. “That’s what I think. Not to mention hotel rooms in New York and transportation is very expensive.”

Hours after the cancellation, it’s unknown what Paul’s next move is. Rahman has yet to speak publicly on the situation. Meanwhile, the UFC resumes next week with UFC on ESPN 40 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.

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