Well that didn't last long.
Bob Arum recently declared his love for the UFC, but now the veteran boxing promoter says it was only done to drive up the price at a charity auction. The 80-year-old fight legend claims he'll do almost anything for philanthropy.
Earlier this week we told you how, with a little help from Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, Arum was able to convince Lorenzo Fertitta, the UFC's co-owner and executive at Stations Casino group, to bid $1.1 million for boxing gloves worn by Muhammad Ali during his first title fight in Las Vegas against Floyd Patterson in 1965. That came after Jones had offered $1 million.
The bidding war took place over the weekend at a birthday celebration for the boxing legend at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Fertitta reportedly told Arum he would increase his bid to $750,000 if the boxing promoter, known for his strong dislike of mixed martial arts, would publicly utter his love for the up-and-coming sport. Arum said "Anything for charity," and the bidding continued to increase with a big assist from the Cowboys owner, who offered $1 million before Fertitta ended up with the winning bid.
The UFC's co-owner tweeted that the shocking sum paid for old boxing gloves will be donated to a good cause, the RUVO brain institute to help fighters.
"If (Fertitta) needed my endorsement that much I was happy to give it," Arum told Norm Clarke of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "It was a momentous night," Arum said. "A great tribute to Ali and all the charities."
Despite what he said, Arum believes the UFC isn't very entertaining.
"Those guys really don't know how to throw punches, and when they roll around, they lose me. Could be an age situation. People my age don't enjoy mixed martial arts. (Boxing) is what we were brought up on. A lot of it's an age difference and a cultural thing. Hispanics prefer boxing, and blacks prefer boxing. Young Caucasians are into mixed martial arts. That's life."
Arum, 1999 member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame, is the founder and CEO of the Top Rank boxing promotion company. Early in his career he was employed by the U.S. Attorney's office's tax division in New York.
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