UFC president Dana White on Tuesday blasted Oscar De La Hoya, Golden Boy Promotions and the California State Athletic Commission for their roles in last weekend's trilogy bout between formerly retired UFC legends Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz.
Liddell, 48, came out of a nearly eight-year retirement to face his old rival Ortiz, 43, in a light heavyweight bout in Los Angeles. Ortiz scored a knockout victory in the final minute of the opening round. It was the seventh knockout loss of Liddell's storied career.
Speaking to UFC Unfiltered on Tuesday, White, who is a longtime friend of Liddell and encouraged him to retire in 2011, blasted De La Hoya for promoting the fight.
"Listen, I love Chuck Liddell and I don't ever want to badmouth Chuck Liddell or even let people think I'm remotely badmouthing Chuck Liddell," White said. "But the reality is, first of all, I heard last week the cokehead, 'Oscar De La Weirdo,' is talking s---, that I don't have any place to tell guys when to retire. It's called friendship.
"It's friendship, you f---ing cokehead. I've been friends with Chuck Liddell for 20 years and the reality is Chuck Liddell retired when he should have retired eight or nine years ago."
De La Hoya, speaking to TMZ on Wednesday, said White is threatened by the success of his company.
"Dana is so small and threatened by our success with DAZN and now in MMA that he is bringing up news from a decade ago to try to stay relevant," De La Hoya said. "Boxing has entirely rejected him. And MMA fighters are now realizing they don't have to risk their lives just so he can get rich.
"... Dana should shut the f--- up and try to figure out how to save his own company."
White also took aim at the California State Athletic Commission.
"Chuck Liddell is almost 50 years old and has no business fighting anymore. The fact the state of California let that fight happen is disgusting. It's disgusting," White said. "Chuck Liddell has an incredible legacy. He's a huge superstar. Anybody who claims to be a friend of Chuck Liddell and was anywhere near [that fight] is full of s---. They're not a friend of Chuck Liddell. To let him go in and fight this fight is terrible."
Ortiz took issue with White's comments in an Instagram statement of his own on Tuesday.
"I appreciate everything you have done for the me & the sport, in my humble opinion I don't feel Chuck & I were compensated correctly for all that we gave & sacrificed for the company," Ortiz wrote, referring to his days as a UFC fighter. "When you sold the company for over 4.5 billion dollars [to WME-IMG group], how much of that did Chuck and I get ? Nothing. ... I'm trying to build something new and rewarding for the sport! This is not about you, it is not about me ... I want it to be about the fighters & giving them the opportunity to share in all the rewards this business has to offer to where they don't have to fight when they are 43 & 48."
Saturday's pay-per-view event was the first time Golden Boy Promotions had ventured in mixed martial arts. De La Hoya did not attend the postfight news conference and had not publicly commented on the bout, other than saying "Golden Boy MMA was born today" on social media afterward.
Liddell has not indicated whether he intends to fight again. Ortiz announced his retirement immediately after his win over Liddell, and wishes to join Golden Boy Promotions as a promoter in future MMA events.
Liddell and Ortiz were involved in a heated rivalry at the peak of their careers. They fought in 2004 and 2006. Liddell won both fights via knockout.