There is a deal in place for a boxing match between boxing luminary Oscar De La Hoya and UFC legend Georges St-Pierre. But the fight cannot happen unless the UFC gives its approval, according to Ryan Kavanaugh, who is attempting to promote the bout under his Triller Fight Club banner.
Kavanaugh told ESPN on Wednesday that he and backers will pledge $1 million to the charity of UFC president Dana White’s choice if White clears St-Pierre to compete against De La Hoya for Triller, the upstart boxing promotion. Kavanaugh said he will put up $250,000 of his own money and several others have come up with the other $750,000 for the offer. St-Pierre has retired from MMA but remains under UFC contract.
“We’re trying to hope we can appeal to Dana’s charitable side,” said Kavanaugh, the CEO of Triller parent company Proxima Media. “I’ve offered $250,000 and I’ve asked others to join in. So, it’s now up to a million dollars to a charity of Dana’s choice — to allow GSP to go fight for money in boxing, not UFC. When [White] knows [St-Pierre] will never fight again for the UFC.”
In March, De La Hoya, 48, announced that his boxing comeback after 13 years would be promoted by Triller. At the time, Kavanaugh said that Triller was looking at a big name from the world of MMA to compete with De La Hoya, who has not fought since 2008. The promotion landed on St-Pierre, who has not fought in the UFC since 2017 and celebrated his 40th birthday Wednesday.
St-Pierre confirmed this week in an interview with Cinema Blend that he wanted to fight De La Hoya, but the UFC has yet to approve it. When UFC veteran Ben Askren, who is also retired, asked for permission to box Jake Paul in April for Triller, White gave the go-ahead. Paul ended up knocking out Askren in the first round.
“I understand that Dana didn’t want me to fight,” St-Pierre told Cinema Blend. “However, it would have been fun. Because my career as a professional fighter, to become the best in the world in mixed martial arts, is done. … However, to rather fight a boxing match under the rules that Triller put on against the legendary Oscar De La Hoya? For me, it would have been a dream come true, because he is my second favorite boxer of all time, behind ‘Sugar’ Ray Leonard.”
St-Pierre, one of the greatest UFC champions of all time, added that “a lot of the money” he would make from a bout against De La Hoya “would have been given to charity.”
“So it would have been for a good cause, just to show that we don’t take ourselves too seriously,” GSP said. “And it would have been serious competition because you say, I play basketball, I play hockey, but you don’t ‘play’ fighting. It would have been fun.”
The UFC did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday. But White did address the situation last Saturday night at the UFC 262 postfight news conference in Houston. White said Kavanaugh has repeatedly tried to get in touch with him, but that he is ignoring his calls and texts because “they’re all full of s—.” White has also publicly feuded with De La Hoya, a former friend of his.