Boxing Promoter Bob Arum Manipulates UFC Fans in Publicity Stunt

James Ryan

In a recent interview with ‘Fanhouse’, 80-year old Bob Arum, a renowned boxing promoter, boldly proclaimed that “UFC and mixed-martial arts fans are a bunch of skin-head white guys” – “rolling around like homosexuals.”


What I found particularly interesting was that Mr. Arum, a Harvard Law graduate (and presumably not a stupid man), made these comments no doubt fully aware that he would be offending a very large demographic of fight lovers.

The question is, why would he do such a thing?

Just this past week, I was involved in a discussion with my class about the business philosophy that you ‘never bad-mouth the competition’. It has always been my feeling that by doing so, you make yourself look worse than your competitors. You raise suspicion in any customer who would consider doing business with you. You appear unprofessional and untrustworthy.

I find it difficult to believe that Mr. Arum would be completely unaware of this philosophy. So again, I have to ask the question. Why would Mr. Bob Arum purposely go out of his way to offend and draw ‘negative’ attention to himself and the sport of boxing (at least in the eyes of MMA fans)?

Here are a few speculations that I deem to be his possible motivation:

1. P.T. Barnum (entrepreneur) has been given credit for saying “I don’t care what they say about me as long as they spell my name right.” This is an old belief in business that no publicity is bad publicity.

The downside (there are many) is that with modern information technology, reputation becomes your greatest strength. Bob Arum already lacks credibility; in the past, he has been linked directly to bribery and racism.

Reputation is the cornerstone of power.

2. What are we talking about right now? From a marketing standpoint, Bob Arum has hit a homerun. He has created debate and controversy; both key elements in spreading information in today’s society. Be honest – how many of you even knew that there was a boxing pay-per-view on the same night as the next UFC pay-per-view? And what better way to reach ‘fighters’ and fight fans than to offend them?

3. Was he wrong? As much as I love watching the UFC, I have to admit that a lot of the fans do drive me bonkers. Not to generalize too much, but back in the 1980’s, my skateboard buddies and I had a term for people who were all about the image and nothing to do with the talent; we called them ‘Posers’ and trust me when I tell you that the UFC fan-base is chalk full of them.

Since the typical UFC fight fan thinks that boxing is “boring” anyway, what better revenge could there be for Bob Arum than to show total disdain towards the UFC fans? In the eyes of boxing, MMA fans might as well be water polo fans – it’s a completely different sport, and they obviously believe that it’s a completely different demographic.

4. Law #39 from the ‘48 Laws of Power’ written by Robert Greene states: “Stir up waters to catch fish. Put your enemies off-balance. Find the chink in their vanity through which you can rattle them and you hold the strings.”

Perhaps Bob Arum is hoping that fight fans will start watching the UFC pay-per-view and suddenly feel an overwhelming sense of homosexuality and switch immediately over to the boxing pay-per-view?

Knowing how insecure most ‘macho’ fight fans are, they may agree that boxing is the more manly sport. Bob Arum may be trying to prey upon the insecurities of others in order to persuade fans back over to boxing.


The more attention you give to an enemy, the stronger you make him. Let’s face it, Bob Arum is old. This controversy could be his final legacy.

Whatever the motivation of Bob Arum may be, one thing is for certain; things are definitely not always as they appear.


To view the interview:

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James Ryan
James Ryan

jake and dad


  1. Marc

    Wow, not sure what to say about this guy lol. I've never heard of him but I'm guessing he knows his boxing and loves to stereotype…the only big thing I have to dissagree with is the types of people who are into MMA & UFC.

    First he said all at white skinheads with tattoos, then he backpedalled a bit saying 90% are that…out of 10 people I know that are into MMA & UFC none of them are skinheads and only 3 have tatoos…that doesn't equal 90% unless my math is wrong?!?

    In my opinion it's a generation issue, MMA & UFC is not geared towards the “typical old school” generation of boxing fans but more towards a younger generation probably in an attempt to add logevity to their popularity amongst other things.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm sure there's tons of boxing fans that aren't seniors, or in their 50's or 40's only, I'm sure there's plenty younger than that but probably not as many (percentage wise compared to MMA & UFC) due to the marketing done by each sport….the way I see it, many look at boxing as a sport and even an art form maybe. Some may think the same of most MMA figthers also. Fact is they are both correct because if someone tries to say that boxing is a proper figthing method and MMA figthers don't possess as many, if any similar or comparable skill then they truly don't understand other fighting methods like Karate, Taekwon Do, Kung Fu, JuJitsu (not sure on spelling), etc…which I think are older fighting methods than boxing (but I might be wrong there).

    The way I see it, some people that have a positive or negative opinion on MMA have that right but people that stereotype it so negatively are just the type of person that probably doesn't like change, especially if they aren't going to be on the forefront of it/gain from it.

    Sorry for the rant and any gramatical errors but it is after 1:00am and I've been working all day! lol
    If I offended I apologize and it was not my intention.

  2. Matthew

    Italsiced notes at the end. Great article. I study business myself and Arum saying something like that just occured to me as an emotional reaction to a question more than something that devious (although you wouldn't know). Added boxing and media tags. Emboldened point numbers and spaced it out more. Changed punctuation. Great read.
    Matthew Maloney
    Bleacher Report

  3. David

    Some good points there Mr Ryan.

  4. Debbie

    I like the article and totally agree. good stuff

  5. James

    Thanks David, just having a little creative fun :) In all likelihood, I probably give Bob Arum way too much credit for being intelligent LOL
    Thanks for reading.

  6. Parker

    Definitely a good article James, you have some key points and it was well written. The only thing I'm confused on is aren't you in fact giving Arum more publicity and press by writing an article on his comments and then posting it for all of us to read?

  7. James

    Hi Parker – great observation and yes you are correct. I hate to contribute to this 'master plan' but hopefully my perspective will counter his intention :)

  8. James

    Another thought….

    Last night, I was working out in the gym at the College along side the basketball team and I took notice of one of the ‘brown-skinned’ players wearing a UFC t-shirt.

    Then it struck me…

    Bob Arum has openly embraced the African-American and Latin population groups. By spinning the UFC as a “bunch of skin-head white guys”, perhaps he is trying to develop a subconscious view of the UFC as a bunch of racist Nazis.

    What man (or woman) of colour or ethnic heritage would then want to associate themselves with the UFC?

    Okay…it’s a stretch :) LOL

  9. Bob F

    I just think Bob Arum is stupid.

    Theory #1 probably makes the most sense, in my opinion. Arum knows boxing needs some attention, and being controversial and provocative is a prime option for that. He reminds me of the kid in grade school that always tries and shows-off to impress others, but in the end people only feel more and more animosity towards them.

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