De La Hoya "Ticked Off" at Merchant

Written by Tom Ngo
January 27th, 2009

Leave it to boxing to ruin a great night of MMA. The drama continues after HBO boxing announcer Larry Merchant erroneously stated that Golden Boy Promotions’ owner Oscar De La Hoya was not going to be in attendance at his own boxing event this past Saturday because he was offered $5 million to attend Affliction’s “Day of Reckoning.” De La Hoya states he didn’t receive a penny and is “ticked off” at Merchant’s comments.

“A celebrity who is here in bronze only, Oscar De La Hoya, [while] 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 the promotion of a mixed martial arts show,” Merchant said.

Merchant apparently misunderstood what Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer had told him about De La Hoya’s weekend plans.

“Larry had asked me at the weigh-ins why Oscar was not coming [to the boxing event], and I told him, ‘Look our partners at Affliction made an over $5 million commitment to the event and it would be right if Oscar just dumped it.’ I think he took that and put the Merchant twist on it and it came out the way it came out,” Schaefer told Sherdog.com

Schaefer is unsure why Merchant took what he said and chose to ran with it in a different direction, but he chalked it up to a simple case of miscommunication.  However, De La Hoya is none too pleased.

“I know Larry and he is a nice guy and I’m sure he didn’t want to cause any issues,” Schaefer said. “The fact is Oscar is now really ticked off, because Oscar didn’t make a penny, and, in fact, paid for his own expenses [to attend the show].”

Back in September of 2008, Affliction Entertainment and Golden Boy Promotions announced their intentions to partner together and co-promote four future pay-per-view events, featuring both MMA and boxing matches in the same ring. In addition, Affliction would create signature shirts for all major Golden Boy-promoted boxing events.

Schaefer mentioned that the two had made an agreement  in November that Affliction would incur all of the costs for a hybrid boxing-MMA event on January 24th, and Golden Boy would be responsible for the operations, including fighter contracts, working with state athletic commissions, negotiating pay-per-view and distribution deals, as well as marketing.

After “Day of Reckoning” turned into a pure MMA event, Golden Boy still wanted to support their new business partners to ensure future success.

Merchant was under the understanding that Affliction was courting De La Hoya and that is why they paid the hefty bill to have him in attendance. It wasn’t until later that he understood that he was there for partnership purposes.

“… This is hard for someone with my experience to compute,” Merchant said. “When somebody says ‘$5 million sponsorship,’ I have a different interpretation,” said Merchant. “This never even occurred to me that Affliction was the guys behind this and that Golden Boy was just putting its brand on it and was not taking any risk and would make money on the end. This is a whole new financial model from what I’ve known in boxing.”

Lesson learned for Merchant and Schaefer.

“I think it, frankly, was an unnecessary, uncalled-for comment one way or the other,” said Schaefer. “I guess what I’ve learned is I’m going to have to be very careful what I tell Larry Merchant because if he twists things like that, that’s just not fair.”

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