UFC President Dana White could barely get through his tongue-and-cheek response to a report of Showtime Boxing’s demise before cursing Stephen Espinoza.
White trolled the Espinoza-led department of the premium cable channel that was recently absorbed into the streaming service Paramount+. Then White let loose his real feelings on the executive, whom he repeatedly clashed with during the promotion of “The Money Fight” between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor.
“That’s incredibly unfortunate,” joked White at the post-fight press conference for DWCS Season 7, Week 8. “Production of that show is fantastic, the guy who runs Showtime boxing is a great human being. It’s unfortunate to hear this.
“F*** Espinoza, and it’s about time that s***** product is off the air.”
The fate of Showtime Boxingand Bellator MMA remains an open question in the business, though several fighters have confirmed the MMA promotion is on the chopping block and may either be acquired by rival promoter PFL – or cease to exist.
White was reacting to a message from X user Raf, who on Tuesday wrote that Showtime Boxing, after 37 years in the sport, will not televise any more boxing events starting in 2024. A Showtime rep acknowledged the message and White’s reaction to the news but did not immediately respond to a request for comment from MMA Fighting.
White’s relationship with Espinoza soured over the promotion of “The Money Fight” and reports of its box office prowess. White erupted at the executive after he placed the 2017 boxing match at No. 2 in domestic pay-per-view buys, behind Mayweather’s “Fight of the Century.” White claimed it the No. 1 pay-per-view of all time, drawing close to 7 million buys internationally.
Since then, White has taken several opportunities to target Espinoza directly, claiming Showtime was withering under the executive’s direction. White wasn’t the only one to clash with Espinoza during the promotion of “The Money Fight”; McGregor called the executive a “weasel” and accused him of being behind audio troubles during a press tour for the event.
White’s disdain of Showtime stretches beyond Espinoza, however. He clashed with the channel’s previous boss, Ken Hershman, over operations of the now-defunct Strikeforce led by current Bellator President Scott Coker. The UFC’s acquisition of its rival MMA promotion triggered an FTC investigation into its business practices. The investigation was closed without any adverse action taken against the UFC.