While most MMA fans were focused on the battle brewing between Fedor Emelianenko and Andrei Arlovski in Anaheim, or anticipating Sunday night’s WEC card in San Diego, HBO boxing commentators Jim Lampley and Larry Merchant were once again taking their jabs at mixed martial arts during the HBO telecast of the boxing match between “Sugar” Shane Mosley and Antonio Margarito.
But in the not-so-subtle barbs they tossed at one of the fastest growing sports in the world, they revealed a juicy little tidbit — surely by accident — about Oscar De La Hoya and his company’s “commitment” to MMA.
“And celebrities here tonight, there’s Sugar Ray Leonard in about the fourth row, and his one time Contender colleague Sly Stallone is in the front row,” revealed Lampley. He continued, “George Lopez is here tonight, good buddy with the promoter. Mark Wahlberg comes to every major prize fight at Staples. Joe Pesci, a Goodfella, called this reporter for tickets. I didn’t have ’em, but he got them somewhere else.
“And there’s one big name celebrity, Larry, who isn’t here tonight…”
“A celebrity who is here in bronze only,” quipped Merchant, referring to a bronze statue of Oscar De La Hoya that stands outside the Staples Center. “Oscar De La Hoya, the live version, is in nearby Anaheim, where his company got a $5 million fee from a t-shirt maker so that he would be personally involved in the promotion of a mixed martial arts show.”
He added, “It would take that much, Jim, to get me to go to one of those things.”
Aside from Lampley and Merchant’s degrading banter, the fee that Golden Boy Promotions received for De La Hoya’s promised participation, if true, is quite revealing in regards to the wavering front that Golden Boy has presented when it comes to its involvement in MMA.
“We like to be involved with big fights,” De La Hoya told MMAWeekly.com earlier in the week. “Fedor and Arlovski, I don’t think it gets any bigger than this.”
You probably wouldn’t have to pay many people $5 million to say that, but evidently, that is De La Hoya’s price… oh, and Merchant’s too.