UFC president Dana White has been accused of “disrespect” at UFC 268 after a sneaky picture caught him watching Saul “Canelo” Alvarez’s boxing fight in Las Vegas.
As the fight nights appeared set to culminate at the same time, Alvarez’ 11th round KO of Caleb Plant to unify the super-middleweight division was on at the same time as the UFC 268 co-main event.
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White was snapped focusing his attention on the boxing, which was being played on a TV screen in front of him, while the women’s strawweight title fight was won in a tense five-rounder by Rose Namajunas over Weili Zhang.
And social media had a field day as the photo outing White went viral across the internet.
YouTuber turned boxer Jake Paul, who has long had a feud with the UFC boss, took aim at the image.
“Hey Dana White, how are you going to disrespect ‘Thug Rose’ like that? Congratulations champ,” he posted on Instagram.
Paul was far from the only one to comment on the photo but the 52-year-old UFC boss, who started off in boxing, revealed that he had his eyes on the fight because he had $US100,000 ($A135,000) on the fight to win more than $US144,000 ($A195,000).
Although it seems like a bunch of money, White has a reported net worth of $500 million so it was chump change to someone in his position.
“I like Canelo, I watched the fight, I bet on Canelo, that’s why I watched the fight,” White said when asked about where his attention lay during a post-fight press conference. “I bet $100,000 on him to win by knockout.”
But there might have been another reason that White kept an eye on the fight. UFC champion Kamaru Usman, who beat Colby Covington in the main event at UFC 268 to complete his fifth title defence of the welterweight belt, called out Alvarez.
Both men are ranked as the pound-for-pound kings of their respective sports and Usman wanted to face off in the squared circle, following in the footsteps of Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather’s cross-sport showdown in 2017.
“To be honest with you, I’ll tell you what will really get the people going – when have you ever seen two pound-for-pound fighters in the world in their respective sports go at it?” Usman told ESPN.
“Who’s the pound-for-pound best boxer in the world right now? It’s not about money, it’s about what gets me out of bed, what gets me scared. I want the chance. I want to fight Canelo.”
Canelo has already shut it down, saying: “It doesn’t make sense for me because … I want to make history in boxing. I don’t see anything right there (with Usman). So we’ll see. We’ll look at my number, and we’ll see.”
Asked about a potential cross-code fight in his presser, White said Usman would be crazy to box with Canelo.
“I watched the Canelo fight tonight,” he said. “He doesn’t want to fight Canelo.
“Come on, man. Let’s stop this s***. If Canelo wants to come over here, let’s do it. He don’t wanna box Canelo.”