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UFC's Dana White Thinks Jake Paul Cancelled Hasim Rahman Jr. Fight over Ticket Sales

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVJuly 31, 2022

Mike Stobe/Getty Images

The official reason given for Jake Paul canceling his pay-per-view bout against Hasim Rahman Jr. was a disagreement over the bout's weight limit.

Dana White isn't buying it.

The UFC president said he believes poor ticket sales is the real reason behind the cancellation.

“I think they sold under $1 million in tickets and it costs $500,000 to turn the f--king lights on at MSG,” White told reporters. “That’s what I think. Not to mention hotel rooms in New York and transportation is very expensive.”

Paul announced the fight's cancellation Saturday, saying Rahman had not made any progress in getting his weight down to the contracted 200 pounds. The New York State Athletic Commission bumped up the weight limit to 205 pounds in response to Rahman's inability to reach the original contracted weight.

However, according to the statement released by Paul's promotional team, Rahman revealed he was planning to come into the weigh-in at 215 pounds and would not agree to the fight unless the YouTuber-turned-boxer agreed to that limit.

Jake Paul @jakepaul

First Tommy Fumbled and now Hasim Rahman Crumbled. These boxers are the most difficult people to work with and continually lack professionalism and confidence to fight me. <br><br>I apologize to all of the of the other fighters on the card, our partners, our team and the fans. <a href="https://t.co/0q6MxqG3XJ">https://t.co/0q6MxqG3XJ</a>

Paul burst onto the boxing scene with celebrity-fueled matchups against former NBA guard Nate Robinson and MMA stars Ben Askren and Tyron Woodley. The spectacle surrounding Paul fights—most often brought on by the hype of fans wanting to see the natural heel lose—led to significant pay-per-view buys and him becoming one of the biggest faces in boxing.

However, it appears much of the novelty has worn off. Paul's last fight, a rematch against Woodley, drew less than 65,000 pay-per-view buys, per DAZN's Steven Muehlhausen. Paul has disputed those numbers, calling them "bulls--t."

The bout against Rahman, who was a last-minute replacement for Tommy Fury, seemed to have even less hype than the Woodley rematch.

Rahman is not a nationally known name, and Paul's promotions team seemed to be banking on the social media star's name alone selling the fight. That was always unlikely to happen—especially given Paul's move to Showtime has taken away much of the spectacle that used to surround the bouts when they were broadcast on Triller.

It's likely the truth lies somewhere in the middle, with Rahman's weight issues giving Paul and Co. a good excuse to cancel a fight that was likely to do disappointing numbers.

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